The Washington Capitals won for the second game in a row tonight, defeating the hapless New Jersey Devils by a final mark of 5-1. The Capitals got a little bit of production from everybody tonight, and the result was critical team win before a huge game Thursday.
The start of the game was rather stale, with both teams failing to generate much offense. But halfway through the period the Devils cranked it up, and the suddenly hot Michal Neuvirth had to be excellent to preserve the tie. Late in the frame, Marcus Johansson chased down a John Erskine clearing attempt and dished it in front to a hard charging Andrew Gordon, who buried it for his first career NHL marker. The Devils took it to the Capitals for the rest of the first and the first half of the second, and the lead was only preserved by exceptional play from Michal Neuvirth. But the Devils equalized on the power play when Patrik Elias slapped a puck past Neuvirth short side from the circles. The Devils kept pushing, and had the Caps on their heels again, before Jay Beagle broke through for a score on a scrum in front of the net to put the home side up by one. Jason Chimera broke the game open 3 minutes later when he broke in on a long pass from Andrew Gordon and roofed the puck past a sprawling Martin Brodeur. John Carlson effectively ended the game a few minutes later when he rifled a slap shot past Brodeur off an Alex Ovechkin drop pass. In the third, Mike Knuble scored on a deflection to close out the markers and send the Capitals home with a much needed confidence builder. Michal Neuvirth made several strong saves in the dying moments as well to preserve the 5-1 advantage.
Andrew Gordon: welcome to the NHL. A two point night by the youngster, including his first NHL goal, done the old fashioned way with a hard net drive and tenacity on the forecheck. He might not be needed much longer, but he's made a real impact since he came up.
Alex Ovechkin: where art thou? Ovechkin has now scored just two goals in his last 18 games, truly disturbing futility at scoring for such an accomplished offensive player like Ovie. I'm starting to doubt that it will come. But at least the team is winning again, that's what counts.
Michal Neuvirth was good again. He made huge stops when his team needed them most and was cool and calm in the crease, showing excellent rebound control for the second game in a row. He also directed his defensemen well and has earned his chance to "run" with the job.
The Caps will practice tomorrow before their biggest game of the season, which is on Thursday, when big, bad Sidney Crosby and the Penguins visit the phone booth. You can count on Sid's point streak sitting at 22 games when that game faces off. Think he'll be fired up? Puck drop Thursday is scheduled for 7:00 PM.
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!