Caps down Leafs, win second straight
THE GAME TURNED WHEN… Joel Ward scored directly in front of the net against Johnathan Bernier to score the game winning tally near the eight minutes mark of the final period. You had the feeling the Caps were going to score. They had some pretty intense pressure on Bernier, including a near miss by Nicklas Backstrom.
OUR GAME MVP… Michal Neuvirth. Neuvy stopped 32 of 34 shots playing in his first game since November 22. Neuvirth spent some time hurt, but even more so, has become a third wheel behind Braden Holtby and Phillip Grubauer. Still, coming in after a long layoff and as a third wheel, Neuvy put up a damn good start and saved the Capitals with some nifty saves and tough play in net.
THE GOOD… The play of Michal Neuvirth in the net. Why? Listen, Caps have et problems. They have three youngsters minding the net and each has deserved to play. Braden Holtby has been struggling a bit and Phillip Grubauer has been pretty damn good. The threesome in the net can’t continue and likely won’t continue. Neuvirth is the likely trade scenario,especially given his request for trade. For the Caps, that is precisely why they needed a good, solid game from Neuvirth. They got it. Caps wants to boost the trade value of Neuvirth.
THE FIGHTS… Two awesome fights back to back. Fighting was kicked off int he second period by Caps youngster Tom Wilson going at it with Carter Ashton. Was a solid fight for Wilson, who is solidifying himself as a tough forward and a willing fight partner. That wasn’t the best fight. Immediately after Wilson and Ashton hit the penalty box, the power house, heavy hitting fight commenced. John Erskine took on Colton Orr. Erskine drilled Orr several times and laid a blast to Orr’s head to finish off the fight. Score that one clearly for Erskine.
THE SPECIALS… The vaunted Washington power play whimpered out at 0-4 tonight. Organization on the man advantage wasn’t that great. The penalty kill was 2 for 3, allowing a James van Riemsdyke tip in power play tally.
THE MISSING IN ACTION… Martin Erat was a healthy scratch again. When asked before last game why Erat was a scratch, all Adam Oates had to say was it was a coahces decision. Doesn’t sound like Oates is real pleased. Steve Oleksy and Phillip Grubauer were the other two health scratches.
MULTIPOINT SCORERS… Alexander Ovechkin had 1 goal and 1 assist. His goal was his NHL leading 32nd goal of the season.
WHAT IT ALL MEANS… After losing four straight and falling to fourth in the Metro Division, the Capitals have put up back to back wins. Big wins. The slide is over. The win gives the Caps 50 standing points and a 22-16-6 overall record. It pulls them into a second place tie with the Philadelphia Flyers. Caps are sitting in the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference. Two needed wins.