The Washington Capitals earned their 40th win of the season against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. The Capitals extended their season-best winning streak to 8 games and pulled within 1 point of the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Flyers. In a back and forth game that saw lead changes, special teams goals, and lots of excitement and drama, the Capitals came out with a huge win against a tough opponent.
Marcus Johansson once again filled in for an injured Nicklas Backstrom, and he made the most of it, assisting on Mike Knuble‘s game-winning goal in overtime. While Alex Ovechkin was held off the scoresheet, the Caps got special teams goals, a goal from the third line, and 2 assists from Dennis Wideman. In fact, the Capitals got a goal from each line today.
The Good: The Caps didn’t score first, but they scored early and often. After an early goal by the ‘Hawks, the Capitals responded with a shorthanded goal by Boyd Gordon and a powerplay goal by Jason Arnott, both on big slapshots, and they ended the period uo 2-1.
The Bad: Marcus Johansson took an offensive zone penalty in the first period. Johansson is certainly showing his skill lately, but his inexperience is also showing through. He doubled his penalty minutes in one game, and he made a blind centering pass that was intercepted, but as rough as he is around the edges, he’s been solid between Alex Ovechkin and Mike Knuble.
Allowing the Blackhawks to tie the game with 39 seconds left. Even if they have pulled the goalie for a 6-on-4 advantage, allowing a tying goal in the final minute of a game is a back-breaker. Fortunately, the point the Blackhawks earned can’t be used against the Caps in their race up the Eastern Conference standings.
The Ugly: Jason Chimera, and it was great. Chimmer had a couple of scoring chances created mostly by using his speed and crashing the net. He crashed the net with such authority late in the second period that he was drawn into a fight by one of the league’s top defensemen, Brent Seabrook.