Wednesday, February 13, 2013
The Caps looked to be destined for another loss with 13 minutes left in the third period trailing 5-3 to the Panthers. They would find a late stretch of momentum that started with Eric Fehr’s first goal of the season. Minutes later, Ovechkin would even the score just four seconds into the power play. It was the second game in a row Ovechkin has scored after a faceoff win, just like old times. After that Mathieu Perreault would take a high sticking penalty, but the Caps would keep momentum killing it off at the beginning of over time. It was only 13 seconds after the penalty expired when Nicklas Backstrom sauced a pass past the defense and found Troy Brouwer for the winning breakaway.
Braden Holtby saved 27 of 32, but most of the goals were deflections that were out of his control. The defense had a couple breakdowns that need to be fixed in games to come. The most important part of the game was the PP and the PK which the Capitals continue to improve on. Washington capitalized on 2 of 2 power plays and killed off all five penalties in the contest with Florida. The Caps now have the fourth best power play in the league with a 25.5%. Last night was the fifth straight game the Caps have logged a PP goal.
Alex Ovechkin and Mike Ribeiro proved to be the best players on the ice once again as they should be. Ovi and Ribz continued their point streaks to five games each recording multi-point games last night. Ovechkin scored for the third straight game for his fifth goal of the season. He and Ribeiro also combined for two beautiful passes that lead to the Matt Hendricks goal in the second period. These two are the real deal and seem to have cemented themselves on the same line for the time being. Hendricks replaced Chimera on the top line and Chimmy only played five minutes and had a -3 ice rating. The search continues for their third line mate!
As I said some of the Caps defenseman struggled throughout the game. Kundratek, Schultz, and Erskine all experiences -2 ice ratings. However the pairing of Karl Alzner and Mike Green seems to be paying off. Both the defenders had a +2 ice rating logging a point each. Alzner scored his first goal in 87 games with a rocket slapper from the point.
This was the first time in a while where the Caps have made a comeback like this in a high scoring game. You do not like to see your team give up five goals, but this comeback looks to be another important milestone for this team on the rise. The entire team seems to be on board for the purpose of this season after the player’s meeting which occurred before the last game. I admit that that with seven minutes to play I expected defeat, but they proved me wrong for the first time this season. The Caps have to take this one game at a time with Tampa Bay next on the schedule come Thursday.
Player of the Game: Nicklas Backstrom (2 assists, +1)
Stat of the Game: 5 combined points (Alex Ovechkin and Mike Ribeiro)
Unsung Hero(es): Karl Alzner and Mike Green