Sunday, February 10, 2013
THE CAPS ARE BACK!
The Washington Capitals for the first time this season played a full 60 minutes and the score proved it. They steamrolled the Florida Panthers 5-0 for their third win of the season. It was truly a team effort and everyone played a role in this monumental win that could mark the turn of the season for this Caps team. Adam Oates system finally seems to be taking place and it was obviously seen through the fore check and pressure that lasted all three periods. The event in this game that started it all involved John Erskine who was fresh off his suspension. Erskine dropped the gloves with well-known tough guy George Parros and pounded his face a couple times to pump up the home crowd at the Verizon Center.
Troy Brouwer started the scoring with a deflection goal off a John Carlson shot from the point. That lucky bounce was just the push that Washington needed to get going and never look back. In the second period, on the first power play, Braden Holtby hit Troy Brouwer on a long saucer pass that he would capitalize on with a howitzer that went top shelf. This play couldn’t have been prettier between the extra sauce on that pass and the high cheese that beat Jose Theodore.
Joel Ward, Alex Ovechkin, and Mathieu Perreault would all score to put many nails in the coffin. Braden Holtby logged 27 saves in his fourth career shutout. Holtby had several big saves in this contest and will hopefully step into the spot as a #1 goalie. This team needs a goalie that can carry us through games on some nights and make the saves that are expected. I’ve heard the Roberto Luongo rumors, but we cannot rely on that now. Braden Holtby has probably earned himself the start in Florida on Tuesday.
Alex Ovechkin and Mike Ribeiro continue to gain chemistry with each shift together and the stats are starting to prove that. Ovi has a four game point streak with goals in the last two games. Ribz also has a four game point streak, logging six points in that span. Both of these streaks began the second game these two were paired together. Coincidence? I think not! The only thing that isn’t consistent is the left wing position on that line that seems to change every other game. Jason Chimera took the role last night for the first time and played well, assisting on the Ovechkin goal. We will see if that line sticks, but regardless I look forward to the future damage that Ovi and Ribz will do.
This game had to make every Caps game smile and we even saw Adam Oates with a big smile after Brouwer’s first goal. For the past couple weeks the coaching staff and team has said that they were looking for that one game that would change it all and the Caps of old would be back. Now I’m not saying that everything is good now and we have no worries, but this could be the confidence boost that the Capitals needed. Every Caps player was searching for a glimpse of positivity and they got it Saturday night. They have to take this win and build off it one game at a time. I truly believe that this season can be turned around with the personnel we have supporting red sweaters. Keep the faith. Rock the Red. Unleash the Fury.
Player of the Game: Braden Holtby (27 saves, SO)
Stat of the Game: Troy Brouwer (2 goals, +1)
Unsung Hero: John Erskine