It has been an eventful week for the Washington Capitals. A lackluster loss to Dallas on Tuesday, a bag skate on Wednesday, a come-from-behind 3-1 victory last night in Newark when the Caps got Mike Green back only to lost him again and where Bruce Boudreau benched Alex Semin and Cody Eakin. Now tonight, the Caps looked to dance with the Devils in the pale moon light and sweep a home and home against the Devils. Just one thing, the Caps forgot their dancing shoes in the lockerroom after the 1st intermission.
Down to 5 healthy defenders with Mike Green and John Erskine out, the Caps started the game with Brooks Laich on defense paired with Roman Hamrlik. Less than 2 minutes into the game, Devils’ #2 goalie Johan Hedberg gave the Caps a gift, sending the puck over the glass for a 2-minute penalty. The Caps came away empty on the power play, though. One night after his benching, Alex Semin’s second shift ended with him in the penalty box for a Semin-esque offensive-zone tripping call, ending the extra man advantage early.
Even with the early penalties, the Caps didn’t wait long to get on the board: Troy Brouwer pounced on a juicy giveaway just 6:30 into the game, getting a breakaway when Devils defenders lost the puck at their own blue line, allowing Brouwer time and space to work Hedberg.
Ten minutes later, Jason Chimera got up close and personal with Hedberg, screening him a tipping home a point shot from John “Archangel” Carlson, known for being a Devil killer (8 points in 6 games). Marcus Johansson started the play on a faceoff win for his 4th point in the past 5 games.
The Capitals out-played the Devils in the first frame, Neuvirth was a perfect 8 for 8. Caps only managed to register two shots all while dominating play in the Devils end of the ice. Coincidently that was the same amount of goals the Devils put in (on 6 shots). The first came from a Petr Sykora slap shot right off the faceoff during the a power play. The second from Ryan Carter’s tip in. Speaking of dominating, Alex Ovechkin had 11 hits and 6 of his shots blocked through regulation.
All square going into the third, Dennis Wideman gets a bogus tripping call; luckily the Caps killed the penalty. Hedberg came up big for the Devils, stopping what few shots made it to the net. Hamerlik was lost after the second period while Eakin and Perrault both rode the pine for the entirety of the final frame. Caps got a late period power play with 1:47 left as David Clarkson sat for a holding minor. Unfortunately the power play turned up nothing. On to extra time.
Huge chance by Wideman early into overtime, but Hedberg came up big as the Caps dominated the first minute. Devils would reload and pin the Caps in their own end for a solid two minutes. Caps had few chances in the remainder of overtime but bad bounces and poor ice (thanks Hoyas) hindered any offensive chances. Even-Stevens. Here we go to the skills competition (shootout), the second of the season for Washington.
Capitals – Hendricks – No dice
Devils – Parise – Scores on a forehand deke
Capitals – Ovechkin – Straight up top shelf, goal.
Devils – Henrique – swing and a miss.
Capitals – Semin – Lost the handle, no go.
Devils – Elias – Forehand Neuvi stones him.
Capitals – Backstrom – Save by Hedberg
Devils – Clarkson – Backhand, top shelf, Goal. Devils Win.