GROUP HUG! (Photo credit: Abelimages)
The last time the Capitals played on Hockey Night in Canada, they destroyed the Calgary Flames 7-2 on October 30th, 2010. Coincidentally, it was also the last time that The Great Eight had a multi-goal game.
Eighty-four days and thirty-eight NHL games later, that streak would finally end for Ovechkin against a team he consistently has success against: the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Tonight, the Capitals managed to get on the board first for the second consecutive game. Jeff Schultz unleashed a howitzer from the point, and a hard-charging Russian Machine tipped Sarge’s shot past Maple Leafs’ goaltender, Jean-Sebastien Giguere. Despite both teams combining for forty shots through the games first two periods, scoring would not resume until the third.
One minute into the games final’s frame, Ovechkin would strike again, as he set up shop in his new home in front of the net. Unfortunately, the two-goal lead would only last a minute and a half. Leafs’ fourth-liner Tim Brent ended Braden Holtby’s shutout bid, going five-hole after Jay Rosehill’s shot from the point was muffled. The Leafs then astutely seized the momentum and came at the Caps in waves for the next several minutes. That is until Bruce Boudreau wisely called time-out after an icing call.
Matt Hendricks then scored the most beautiful goal of his career on a breakaway and Ovi’s ENHTG (empty net hat-trick goal) sealed the deal. Caps win 4-1.
Despite being outshot 36 to 31, the Capitals played a full sixty minute game and it was definitely fun to watch. Our heros certainly had their mental gaffes at times, but they showed heart in how tenaciously they forechecked, went to the net, and played defense. For example, did you know that the Capitals had 27 blocked shots tonight in comparison to Toronto’s 10? And it was the All-Stars who were leading the way in that category. Mike Green blocked four shots while Ovi blocked three. When your Captain and pretty-boy defenseman are leading the way, it becomes contagious. And that’s a really good sign.
With tonight’s win, the Capitals received an off day from Bruce Boudreau tomorrow. Peter will be back with you guys on Monday, for the Capitals tilt at home against the New York Rangers on Versus! Finally, time for revenge!
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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