Beninati: Raleigh Sweep

Beninati: Raleigh Sweep
December 27, 2010, 4:59 am
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Sunday, December 26, 2010 11:58 pm


By Joe Beninati
This game scared me for a couple of reasons. It came right after a holiday break, and it came on the heels of a big game againstan archrival. But the Capitals were pretty much down to business tonight.

The first period was controlled territorially by Carolina. They pumped 16 shots on Seymon Varlamov who was very steady right from the outset. Whenever the Caps threatened Cam Ward, it was often the product of a good cycle play off the boards. They cashed in on one of those thanks to Mathieu Perreault. The feisty center was cutting to the goal on the receiving end of a pretty backhand pass from Alexander Semen to make it 1-0.About five minutes after Perreault turned on the light, Canes defenseman Tim Gleason knocked him down with a high hit. Gleason was kicked out of the game for charging, and Perreault left the ice bleeding badly from his nose. He would not return to the game. I can't ever remember a player's protective visor shattering the way Mathieu's did, but it sure helped to create a gruesome scene.
Carolina tied the score seven minutes into the second frame. Jussi Jokinen finished off a two-on-one break with Tuomo Ruutu by zipping a well-placed wrist shot over the glove of Varlamov off the post and into the goal.

The Caps would get that one right back four minutes later. Alex Ovechkin made a slick move around defenseman Jamie McBain which turned out to be a perfect pass to David Steckel who beat Ward over his catching glove. Ovechkin ended his goal drought with two minutes to go in the middle period. Mike Greens blast hit a Canes defender and went right to Ovechkin who wasted no time in burying the puck into an open corner of the net. He one-timed the bouncing puck high into the goal and made it look easy.The Canes threw a scare into Washington 30 seconds into the third period. Jay Harrison's slapper glanced off of Tuomo Ruutu and past Varlamov to make it a one-goal game.

Carolina had a couple of power plays soon afterwards, but Varlamov and the penalty killers held on strongfor victory,their third straight brought home from Raleigh.