February 6, 2008

Capitals Vs Blue Jackets 02/05/2008 Review

Hello secondary scoring! We've missed you. Alexander Ovechkin got some help while leading the Washington Capitals to an overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Over the past five games it's pretty much been left up to Alex to take care of the scoring. But, the whole Cap's team came out all fired up. They played a very physical game and got some shots on goal from defenceman as well as forwards. It was also the long awaited return of right winger Eric Fehr who hadn't played at the NHL level since February 21, 2007. Hopefully, the 10 AHL games he has played for the Hershey Bears recently, was enough to get him on his way to being ready.
The Blue Jackets were giving the Capitals a hard time from the start, but Washington wasn't backing down. All the Cap's were fighting for puck possession and scoring chances. Before the first period was half way over, it was obvious these two teams were getting on each others nerves. The Jackets' defenceman and Captain Adam Foote was all over Ovechkin, getting called for roughing after pushing Ovie from behind, following a close range shot. Right after that, Ole-Kristian Tollefsen was nicked for hooking Nicklas Backstrom. But, the excellent penalty killing of the Blue Jackets and their super quick goalie Pascal Leclaire, kept Washington off the scoreboard during the 1:42 of 5 on 3. Just before the Cap's PP time ran out, Rick Nash picked off a pass from Backstrom and sped up the ice. He easily potted the short handed goal. Less than a minute later, Jason Chimera tipped in a rebound, giving Columbus a two goal lead.

The second period started with over a minute left of a Blue Jacket's 5 on 3 PP. But, the Capitals weren't going to be outdone, and they successfully killed off the penalty time. Brent Johnson made some wonderful saves, and defenceman Tom Poti was helping out at the net as well. Poti made a crucial save on a wide open net, while Johnny was still down after keeping out the previous shot. Throughout the second period, the Cap's got plenty of scoring chances. They spent a good bit of time in the offensive zone. With about seven minutes left in the period, both Ovechkin and Backstrom raised their arms to celebrate a Backstrom goal. But, video review would have it waived off. Less than a minute later, Alex Ovechkin got his 44th goal of the season. Typical Ovie play, coming down the left side, using the defender (Foote) as a screen while sending the puck past the goalie. Soon after, Leclaire left the game due to a minor neck injury suffered during a collision with Washington's Quintin Laing. He was replaced by netminder Fredrik Norrena. With less than two minutes left in the period, Alexander Semin took a Viktor Kozlov pass, and sent the puck into the net from the doorstep. All tied up at the end of two. .

About four minutes into the third period, referee Bill McCreary joined the Blue Jackets defence and put a moving pic on Washington's Shaone Morrisonn. That unfortunate blunder directly led to an uncontested Rick Nash goal. There was some more rough stuff. But, alas no beat down on anybody from Donald Brashear, during his 900th career game. During this period, Tomas Fleischmann's stick seemed to repell the puck. He missed a decent pass, and fanned on a shot, too. But, Johnson was still making the big saves in the Cap's end. At 13:07, Tom Poti's 45 game scoreless draught finally ended. We all saw it go in and quickly bounce back out, but it took another 14 seconds before the ref's stopped play and the clock. Video review confirmed it soon after, and the elapsed time was put back on the clock. The third period also ended with the game tied..

Johnny kept making the saves for the Cap's in OT. At 2:28, Ovechkin sent in a snapshot five hole wrister for the game winner. It was his second goal of the game and 45th of the season. Alex scored two goals the last time he and the Capitals played in Columbus. That was of course also his first NHL game. Two more points for the Capitals.

Ovie got some secondary scoring help from Semin and Poti. Johnson was brilliant in net. The Cap's got some excellent defensive work from Tom Poti, Milan Jurcina, Shaone Morrisonn, etc. I certainly wouldn't say Washington dominated this game. But, it was exciting. The boys put in a gritty, respectable, full game effort and came out on top. They'll need to continue playing at this level if they want to get to the end of the regular season with a playoff spot.

All Photos - AP / Paul Vernon

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