The Capitals secured their first victory in St. Louis tonight in 14 years, defeating the Blues by a score of 4-1 and exorcising, at least temporarily, the demons of Jaroslav Halak.
The Capitals opened the scoring on a beautiful passing play that saw Brooks Laich bury a Nicklas Backstrom rebound off of Halak's right pad with a man advantage. Boyd Gordon extended the advantage with a wild shot in front of the net that Halak put into his own net, the second time in three weeks he has scored on himself. Semyon Varlamov made several excellent saves throughout the first and second periods, but finally conceded a goal 19 minutes into the middle frame off the stick of Alexander Steen. The third period saw excellent action both ways, and Nicklas Backstrom was able to convert on a rebound from a Mike Knuble slapshot in front of the net 7 minutes in. Varlamov was terrific throughout the rest of the game, making huge save after huge save, and Nicklas Backstrom closed out the scoring with an empty netter with about 30 seconds left.
Alex Ovechkin is becoming Sidney Crosby, and vice versa. Ovechkin is looking to pass first, and he is doing it very, very well. He had a beautiful assist on Backstrom's empty netter and although he did not get an assist on Backstrom's first goal, his pass out of pressure enabled John Carlson to hand the puck off to Knuble. As long as the Caps are winning, and Ovechkin is getting chances, I'm not too worried about his lack of goals. Not yet.
Semyon Varlamov: Wow! The young Russian has been nothing short of brilliant over the last 4 games, and tonight was no different. Varly made several stellar saves in big moments and helped to give his team a much needed victory. He is taking the number one job back from Michal Neuvirth.
An overall excellent win - in a tough building against a tough, proud team who has many things to prove this year.
The Caps are right back after it tomorrow night in Dallas. Game time is scheduled for 8:30 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!