Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fehr shines in OT thriller

It was the first time these 2 teams have met since the 7 game playoff series last year. The Capitals looked to be headed down the same road as last Wednesday when they were trailing 3-0 to the Bruins after one period. Instead the Caps showed tremendous maturity and overcame the lead for a 4-3 OT win. After allowing 3 goals on the first 9 shots Braden Holtby shut the door on Boston. Holtby had 30 saves in his 8th win of the season. Holtby couldn’t have done a lot in the first period, with all 3 goals being somewhat out of reach. One was a penalty shot, one was an unlucky scramble in front of the net, and final one being a PP goal where he was screened. Holtby isn’t making a lot of mistakes lately and the defense needs to do a better job of backing him up.
Mike Ribeiro would get the scoring started in the 2nd period with a great pass from Alex Ovechkin. 5 minutes later Tomas Kundratek lit the lamp for his 1st career NHL goal. Kundratek has played 20 games with the Caps this year and is cementing himself as a full time NHL defenseman. He also logged an assist in the game and had a + ice rating. Kundratek said after the game, "I definitely celebrated like winning goal in the playoffs. It's the first one, and I'll remember it for the rest of my life."
In the 3rd period Wojtek Wolski would score the game tying goal ending an 11 game goalless streak. Wolski played his season high in minutes tonight, after being a healthy scratch on Saturday in Winnipeg. Eric Fehr and Nicklas Backstrom assisted on this goal as well as Kundratek’s goal. It seemed to be their night as they started on the ice for OT. It only took 37 seconds for the pair to hook up for the game winning goal. Fehr split the defense after a nice pass from Backstrom and beat Tukka Rask top shelf as he was falling to the ice. Backstrom and Fehr both logged 3 point games tonight and had the top forward line for the Caps even without Troy Brouwer. Brouwer was out with an illness and should return to action Thursday.
One player that made a big impact in his 1st ever NHL game was defenseman Steve Oleksy. The Caps signed and recalled Oleksy yesterday because Mike Green was place on IR and Roman Hamrlik on waivers. He is a talented puck-moving defenseman who is very physical and isn’t afraid of the penalty box. Oleksy played very well in his debut logging his 1st career point assisting on the Ribeiro goal. He had a +2 ice rating and led the team with 3 blocked shots. It didn’t take him long to get acquainted after he threw a bone-crushing hit at tough guy Shawn Thornton. With Green and Orlov out we will be seeing a lot more of Oleksy and after tonight that won’t be a bad thing.
Overall this was a monumental win for Washington because they were resilient and didn’t give up against a very talented team in Boston. Also the Caps were missing Troy Brouwer for the first time this season as well as Mike Green, and players were able to rise to the occasion and fill those gaps. I’m calling this game the most important win of our season because of the confidence it will bring to this team. Alex Ovechkin hasn’t scored a goal in the last 4 games, but he has still been productive in creating chances. He also has logged a point in 4 of his last 5 games. Also cheers to John Erskine for dropping the mitts for the 2nd time this season to get the Caps going. This OT winner wasn’t as thrilling as Joel Ward’s game 7 winner, but it was still pretty awesome. The Caps are home again Thursday against the Florida Panthers who are without Jose Theodore for quite some time. Washington has to CAPitalize on these divisional games. Keep the Faith. Rock the Red. Unleash the Fury.
Player of the Game: Eric Fehr (1 goal, 2 assists, +3)
Stat of the Game: 3 assists (Nicklas Backstrom)
Unsung Hero: Steve Oleksy

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