Beninati: What a relief

Beninati: What a relief
December 20, 2010, 6:12 am
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Sunday, December 19, 2010 11:58 p.m.


By Joe Beninati
Capitals Play-by-Play

The long losing streak is over, thank goodness! The game didn't start so well over the first 20 minutes at ScotiaBank Place. Ottawa got the jump on the Capitals with a strong showing right from the outset.

They forced the visitors back on their heels with a strong forecheck. They would not allow the Caps to outlet the puck along the boards and that created turnovers.

Ryan Shannon parked himself ten feet in front of Michal Neuvirth just as the rookie goalie put the puck right on Jesse Winchester's tape along the boards. Winchester quickly found Shannon who converted a wrist shot to make it 1-0. Then Chris Kelly planted himself at the top of the crease for a slam dunk and a 2-0 advantage.

The players and coaches huddled up in the dressing room between periods and demanded that the second frame be their finest of the year. It was pretty darn good, that's all I know.

The Caps got one back before the frame was 40 seconds old. Mathieu Perreault has a knack for being around the goal and anticipating where rebounds will go. His tap-in cut Ottawa's lead in half. Then Eric Fehr took an Alex Ovechkin pass 46 seconds later and chipped a backhand between Brian Elliot's pads to make it 2-2, and the momentum completely shifted to Washington.

They turned a power play chance intogold at 6:55. Perreault was left open at the post again, and he lifted another scrambly rebound over a fallen Elliot to give the Caps a lead they would never relinquish.

The third period was filled with caution. The guys made life difficult on themselves with a couple penalties, but Neuvirth and the short-handed defense held strong throughout.

The end of the game triggered a huge celebration and a sense of relief. Let's hope the guys can get on a roll now that the weight has been lifted, and that next step comes Tuesday vs. New Jersey.