The Capitals defeated the Hurricanes tonight by a score of 3-2 in Raleigh. Alex Ovechkin tallied three assists and Nicklas Backstrom scored two goals, but the story of the night was Semyon Varlamov, who was excellent in his return from a groin pull.
The Capitals once again almost found a way to let the game get away from them, however. Washington opened the scoring in the first period with Nicklas Backstrom cashing an Ovechkin rebound 13 minutes into the frame. The two superstars hooked up again barely a minute into the second period with Ovechkin dropping a neat pass to Backstrom in the corner who walked out and slid a shot past Carolina goalie Justin Peters. The remainder of the second period saw furious action and great saves by both goaltenders. In the third, however, the Capitals were thoroughly outworked for the first half of the frame, first conceding a Joni Pitkanen tip-in goal and then the equalizer off of Eric Staal's stick with the man advantage. The Capitals were gifted a power play right after Staal's strike and Alex Ovechkin took advantage of a weak clearing attempt to blast the puck towards the net; Brooks Laich re-directed the shot for his first goal in almost a month and the eventual game-winner. The Hurricanes pulled Peters in another attempt to equalize, but were thwarted by Varlamov repeatedly in the dying moments.
From Russia, with love. Semyon Varlamov was as advertised tonight, making several stellar stops throughout the game and could not be faulted on either goal he let in. His reflexes were tremendous and he showed no ill effects of his groin injury. If only Varly could stay healthy.
Welcome back, Alex Ovechkin. The Captain had his best game in awhile tonight, finally awakening from his awful slump. Though he didn't score, he tallied three helpers and finally started shooting, with 10 for the game. He also had five hits, including a thunderous open-ice knockdown of Chad LaRose in the first. The goals will come; he's pretty good.
Two days after his best game of the season, Tomas Fleischmann disappeared again tonight. He had an assist, but did not have any real impact on the play. Boudreau limited him to 11:20 of ice time, his season low. Flash has skills, but needs to improve fast, or he could be watching from the press box alot more often.
That's all for now. Next game is Friday at home against the Lightning and Steven Stamkos, who continues to score at a truly absurd pace. Game time is scheduled for 5 P.M.
Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!