The Capitals streak of home opening wins continues. The Caps haven’t lost a home opener since 2000 vs. the LA Kings. Last night they beat the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 4-3 in overtime.
I’ll be honest, I thought the Capitals would run over the Hurricanes, but that wasn’t the case. The Hurricanes played very well and never gave up. Captain Eric Staal potted 2 goals and Jussi Jokinen added the other but it wasn’t enough. The Capitals had balanced scoring, something they’ll need throughout the year instead of just relying on Ovechkin, Backstrom and Semin. Speaking of Alex Semin, he scored the first goal of the Capitals’ season. Then later on Jason Chimera buried. Brooks Laich got his first of the year. Then Mike Green got the OT winner. I’ll go into depth about all of the goals in my period by period review.
WSH Shots: 7
CAR Shots: 10
Michal Neuvirth gets the start over Tomas Vokoun who is expected to start on Monday vs. Tampa Bay. Neuvirth had a solid period stopping all 10 shots he faced in the 1st. It was a fairly uneventful period, with no goals. It’s kind of expected at the start of the hockey year, teams feeling each other out.
WSH Shots: 17
CAR Shots: 8
Goals: Staal, Eric. Semin, Alexander. Chimera, Jason.
Ahh here we go. Now the game see’s some scoring. ‘Canes captain Eric Staal opens the scoring with his first of the year on the power play. Some nice passing by the ‘Canes. Pitkanen ends it with a nice feed across the ice to Staal who smashes it into an open net. 1-0 Hurricanes. But just over 2 minutes later Alex Semin scores on a beautiful breakaway goal on a nice pass from John Carlson. Carolina goalie Brian Boucher, who got the start because Cam Ward started on Friday, didn’t have a chance on that one. Great move by Semin. I hope he has a great year and prove he does care. 1-1. Then as the 2nd is ticking down Jason Chimera blows by Tuomo Ruutu down the wing and roofs it past Boucher. 2-1 Capitals. Nice exciting hockey, love it.
WSH Shots: 11
CAR Shots: 9
Goals: Staal, Eric. Laich, Brooks. Jokinen, Jussi.
Another great period of hockey begins early. I’m not sure if fans were even in their seats for the start of the period when Eric Staal sniped home his 2nd power play goal of the game of a beauty feed from sophomore Jeff Skinner. 2-2. Then, with a about 4 minutes remaining in the 3rd, the Capitals get a 5 on 3 power play and we all know how dangerous the Capitals’ PP is, right? Well it showed up again. Alex Ovechkin ripped a slap shot from the “NHL Face-Off 2011” sign that misses right but not to fear, Brooks Laich is here! He cleans up the mess to put the Capitals ahead. 3-2 Capitals. Now, cue the late game heroics. After a scrum in the corner for the puck in the Capitals’ zone, Staal passes it out for Skinner at the side of the net who kicks it over to Jussi Jokinen who puts it past a sprawling Michal Neuvirth. That’s 3 assists on the game for Jeff Skinner and 2 goals and 1 assist for Eric Staal. 3-3. Let’s go to overtime.
WSH Shots: 1
CAR Shots: 4
Goals: Green, Mike.
Ahh, how things can change. Jussi Jokinen was riding a supreme high after tying this one up, but that turned into a low. Just 1:29 into the period, he takes a holding penalty to put the Capitals on the power play. And, of course, who ends it? Mike ‘Game Over’ Green. Green switches with Dennis Wideman, who then gives him the puck. Green holds, loads up, and fires it past Brian Boucher to win the game for the Capitals!
Alex Semin took a bad boarding penalty as the 3rd period expired. As he drove Hurricanes defenseman Bryan Allen hard from behind into the board. Suspension on deck? I think Shanahan might just have to. Joni Pitkanen also got a boarding call for pushing Mike Green headfirst into the boards (Green then gave back the favour by ending the game, you’re welcome, Joni). The Capitals didn’t start a rookie on the opening night roster for the first time since 2008-2009. The Capitals posted their 107th consecutive shutout.
Alex Semin on the pass from John Carlson for his breakaway goal: “it was gooood” Yes, yes it was Alex.
Alex Ovechkin on the Hurricanes: “[Line of Staal, Skinner, and Jokinen] is a great line. Especially Staal, he is a great goal scorer and a great leader over there, but I think we have much better talent and much better group of guys here”.
Alex Ovechkin on the hitting from the Caps: “If you have a chance to hit somebody, why not? Then you see [Semin] at the last second of the game” Reporter: “He was fighting” Ovechkin: “Yeah, he’s getting much better at it this year”.
The Capitals’ next game will be Monday vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning, in Washington.