Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Caps shutout Canes

A little over 24 hours after the Braden Holtby and John Erskine had their contracts extended two years they helped the Capitals shutout the Carolina Hurricane 3-0. John Erskine scored his 2nd goal of the year just 31 seconds into the 2nd period to give the Caps a 2-0 lead over the Canes. Erskine also logged a +2 ice rating tonight and now leads the all Caps’ D-men in plus-minus. Braden Holtby picked up his 2nd shutout of the 5th of his young career. He had 33 saves in the game with the most notable one against Alex Semin on a shorthanded breakaway. Holtby is 5-2 with a 2.00 GAA, and .937 SV% in his seven game start streak.
Nicklas Backstrom seems to be coming out of his slump with each game; he had a goal and assist in the win. He the 1st goal of the game on the PP with two nice passes from Mike Ribeiro and Alex Ovechkin. The Capitals have scored a PP goal in 9 of the last 10 games which is why they are currently 2nd in the NHL in that category. The Caps only took 2 penalties in the game and were able to kill both of them. They need to continue to stay out of the box in games to come because there is room for improvement in the PK. If the Caps can stay disciplined they will have a hard time losing because of the recent improvements in goal tending and scoring. The Caps were also able to hold Alex Semin scoreless in his return to Washington; he had an -1 ice rating.
The Capitals gave Cam Ward and the Canes everything they had, logging 40 shots which is the most they’ve had this season. Jason Chimera led the team with 7 shots, but seems to be snake bitten still unable to score his 1st goal of the season. John Carlson had 6 shots on net and scored the final goal of the game off a rebound for his 2nd goal of the season. Carlson was supporting his new hair cut after getting rid of all the flow and it seemed to pay off with a goal, assist, and +2 ice rating. He also led the team in ice time once again with 22:30. Eric Fehr continues to play well; even without scoring he too had a +2 ice rating. He is well deserving of the RW position on that 2nd line.
Alex Ovechkin didn’t have a shot on goal, but still played a solid game, and logged an assist. It was the first time The Great Eight hasn’t logged a shot since the 2nd round of the playoffs last year against the Rangers. It is not the game we expected Ovechkin to have after his hat trick Saturday, but the win is the most important thing in the captain’s mind. Ovechkin and Ribeiro seemed to focus on their play making abilities trying to end Chimera’s drought because Ribeiro also didn’t log a shot in the contest. If Chimera doesn’t tickle the twine soon, Adam Oates will probably move him from the top line because he has stated before that the LW position on the top line has to perform when you’re playing with the super stars.
Washington has less than 24 hours to rest with the Philadelphia Flyers waiting tomorrow. They will take a train overnight and probably will hold an optional skate tomorrow morning. While the Philadelphia Flyers have not had a successful season so far, but they have a lot of talent with the return of Scott Hartnell, and the recent acquisition of Simon Gagne. The Caps prevailed over the Flyers in their 1st match up this season 3-2 . We will see if Zac Rinaldo or another Flyer will take a run at John Erskine for the elbow he delivered to Wayne Simmonds in the last game. I would welcome the challenger with how Erskine has been playing as of late. Adam Oates hasn't named a starting goaltender yet, but I wouldn't doubt to see Holtby between the pipes again. The puck drops at 7:30 in the Wells Fargo Center. Keep the Faith. Rock the Red. Unleash the Fury.
Player of the Game: Braden Holtby (33 saves, SO)
Stat of the Game: PP goals in 9 of 10 games
Unsung Heroes: John Erskine and John Carlson

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