The Washington Capitals started a new streak last night with a 5-1 win over the struggling New Jersey Devils for their second straight. The Capitals did many things well in this game, just few of them were done by the Caps top line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Alex Semin.
The Caps are playing sound defense for a change instead of blowing the game in the first period.· The trend of not giving space in front of the goal and not giving up goals in the first period must continue for the team to have consistent success, but it’s a start.
Tha Caps penalty kill stopped 3 of 4 Devils chances and Michal Neuvirth turned in another strong performance in goal, but he certainly wasn’t the only Capital who stood out.
The Good: The Caps secondary scoring is carrying the team right now. Goals by minor league call-ups (Andrew Gordon, Jay Beagle), a 3rd liner (Jason Chimera), a 2nd liner (Mike Knuble), and a defenseman (John Carlson) were more than enough last night. 12 different Caps got on the scoresheet, including Marcus Johansson, who looked like he could have finished with far more than just 1 assist on the night, though that was good enough for #3 star of the game honors.
John Carlson had an especially strong game, with a goal, an assist, and a +4 rating in 23:42 of ice time to earn #1 star of the game honors.
Congratulations to Andrew Gordon, who scored his first NHL goal in the first period, had his first NHL assist in the second, completed his first plus game of his career (+2), and was named #2 star of the game.
Congratulations to Jason Chimera for busting a 14-game pointless streak and scoring his 200th career NHL point. He scored by roofing a shot on a breakaway, and you heard it here first folks.. Thanks to the props from our friends at Russian Machine Never Breaks, too. This game also marked Chimera’s first plus rating (+2) in 16 games.
The Bad: The play of the Caps’ top line of Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Semin. None of them have produced many meaningful points since late November, and Ovechkin’s assist was a happy accident after he got pokechecked.
The Capitals allowed another goal with an unmarked opponent parked in front of heir net. Dainius Zubrus was allowed to screen Michal Neuvirth for a shot from Patrik Elias for the Devils’ powerplay goal.
The Ugly: Martin Brodeur is struggling mightily right now. While Caps fans won’t miss the old Marty, the Back to the Future version is playing like an old man. Marty’s contract runs out at the end of 2012 and it’s a good bet Lou Lamoriello won’t give him a Delorien to get him to 2015.
The powerplay. 0-5. 8:42 of total time, including 1:18 of 5-on-3. Ugh. It’s good to see Ovechkin actually get close to the goal for a change, as that’s where most goals get scored, but whatever the Caps are doing, it’s not working. It’s time for a major overhaul of the powerplay unit. Since it was #1 overall last year, every team has been focusing on shutting it down. This powerplay #needsmoreperreault.