Alexander Semin was the hero for the Capitals tonight, scoring the tying goal late in regulation and the clinching goal for the Capitals in the shootout, as they defeated the Maple Leafs, 5-4.
The Caps conceded the early lead on a goal by Nikolai Kulemin, but stormed back to take a 3-1 lead on goals by Mike Green, Jason Chimera and Tomas Fleischmann. Heading into the third period, the Caps had the two goal lead and a minute and fifty seconds of power play time, but, like so many times so far on this young season, could not find the killer instinct that became a hallmark of theirs last season. In response, Toronto silenced the raucous Verizon Center crowd with three goals in just over three minutes to take the 4-3 lead. the Caps were gifted a power play on an awful call in front of the goal that sent Brett Lebda off, and Semin notched the equalizer on a brilliant display of stickwork. In overtime, the Capitals hit two posts and were denied repeatedly by Jonas Gustavsson (29 saves) on a power play. With the extra period completed with no further scoring, Alex Ovechkin and and Alexander Semin converted in the shootout, and Michal Neuvirth stopped both shots he faced, to send the Capitals to their second consecutive victory.
Some observations from tonights game:
Mike Knuble continued to struggle. Big number 22 looked out of place once again and struggled to convert on his many chances. Knuble is shooting alot, a good sign, but has remained snakebit in the goal category, having not scored since the first game of the season.
Alexander Semin has a set of magic hands. Seriously. His stickwork to secure the tying goal was incredible, he was active all night around the boards and in the corners, and his clinching shootout goal put a hole in the net twine. One of his best all around games in awhile. Kudos to Sasha.
Michal Neuvirth continues to impress. Semyon Varlamov may not be out much longer than a week, but at this rate, it might not matter. The newly crowned NHL rookie of the month could not be faulted on any of the goals and stood tall in the shootout and late in the third after the Caps had tied the game.
Next game is Friday at home against the always tough Bruins and Tim Thomas, who, in a miraculous turn of events, actually gave up a goal tonight (TWO!).
God night hockey fans. Check back tomorrow afternoon for updates from practice.
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!