Sorry about not posting any recaps of the last 3 games. While I was gone, the Capitals won all 3 games. Beating Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Ottawa. I’ll briefly review each game.
Tampa Bay: 5
This was a wild one. With 11 goals combined between both teams a surprising note that Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin, and Green had no points for the Capitals. While Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, and Vincent Lacavalier had no points for the Lightning. Marcus Johansson got the call and was in the lineup after being sat in the first game and he produced. MoJo had a goal and an assist and was all over the ice. Even when the big boys got sloppy and seemed disinterested, MoJo and his line provided energy and good defense. Jason Chimera chimed in with a pair of goals and Matt Hendricks and Alex Semin scored in the shootout to give the Caps their 2nd win.
After many criticized Tomas Vokoun for allowing 5 goals in his debut, Bruce Boudreau showed confidence in the veteran and started him vs a Eastern Conference favorite, and rival Pittsburgh Penguins. And the “Vokeswagon” answered in a BIG way. Allowing 2 goals on 41 shots for a 39 save win. He definitely shut his doubters up with that game. It was a pretty good game to watch as the Capitals went to OT for the 3rd straight game. And they won in extra time for the 3rd straight game. Dennis Wideman buried the winner for his 2nd of the year and Alex Ovechkin and Mike Knuble both got their first of the year helping the Capitals get the win.
Wow, a Caps game that WASN’T won in OT! But, it was another close one. The Capitals barely hung on to beat the trainwreck Ottawa Senators. It was another strong game for Tomas Vokoun as he stopped 33 of 34 shots to get his 3rd win of the season and keeping the Capitals undefeated. It was kind of a snoozer after the 3 goal 1st period. The goals were scored by Nicklas Backstrom (1st of the year) and Johansson’s 2nd of the year.
5 Thing We’ve Learned:
1. You don’t sit MoJo.
When I heard that the Capitals were sitting Johansson in the first game vs the Hurricanes, I was shocked. MoJo is one of my favorite Capitals and a great energy guy. Then Boudreau got some sense back in him and played Johansson vs the Lightning and he responded by scoring a goal and getting an assist. Like I said before, he was also a great source of energy when the big guns like Ovechkin and Backstrom were sluggish and uninterested. He then semi-struggled in the game vs the Penguins. Then last night he scored the game winner in the game vs the Senators. They need to keep MoJo in the lineup.
2. Tomas Vokoun knows what he’s doing.
Another shocking decision that was made in the opener vs the Hurricanes was sitting Tomas Vokoun. When he got the chance to play vs the Lightning, he didn’t really help his cause to be the starter allowing 5 goals, 3 from behind the goal line. But I read an interesting stat from @Adam_KOL “In all three of Vokoun’s team debuts (NSH, FLA, WSH), he has allowed five goals.” And we all know what happened after he allowed those 5 goals in those debuts? He was still really good. He was then really good in his next 2 games vs the Penguins and the Senators. Stopping 72 of 75 shots to get his 2nd and 3rd wins of the year. Don’t worry about Tomas Vokun, he’s been around long enough.
3. The Caps can win the close games.
All of the Capitals’ wins this year have been by 1 goal. 3 of them have been in OT and shootout. Many people (still) think the Capitals have to blow teams out. This is not true. Their improved defense and goaltending has shone in 3 of the 4 wins. Especially in last nights win over the Sens. They’ll lose some close ones this year too, every team does, but it’s good to see that they can win the close ones.
4. Who needs Ovechkin when you have… Jason Chimera?
It has been well documented that Alex Ovechkin has not played like he’s capable in the first 4 games. Recording only 2 points and a -2 in 4 games. But it’s good to see that the Capitals can still win even when the stars aren’t producing. Jason Chimera leads the team in goals (3) and Dennis Wideman is 2nd on the team in points (4). In some games the stars have just looked slow and ineffective. But the energy guys have always been there to pick the team up when they’ve needed it.
5. They can’t play like this all year.
While it’s nice to have the grinders putting up points and carrying the team basically, at some point the big guns will need to pick it up and breakout to carry the team. Don’t get me wrong, I believe they will do all of that. It’s just a matter of when? It’s still early in the season and it’s nothing to worry about as of yet, but if they don’t get going soon, it could be trouble.
The next Capitals game is Tuesday vs the Florida Panthers in Washington.