Saturday, December 19, 2009
By Joe Beninati
After a third period like that, I pinch myself thinking about how lucky I am to have the chance to describe such things! Bruce Boudreau challenged his hockey team behind closed doors after 40 minutes. He challenged the best player in the world to lead the way and Alex Ovehkin delivered.
The first 20 minutes of the game were controlled by the Caps, but Edmonton Goalie Jeff Deslauriers was very strong. He's the type of tall, rangy netminder who'll give Washington troubles from time to time. The Oilers were doing a nice job of keeping their defensive shape in front of Deslauriers. A costly giveaway by Jeff Schultz and a fluke bounce off Karl Alzner lead to the home team building a 2-0 lead after two.
It was then that Boudreau lit a fire under his team and Ovechkin elevated his game. His energy level wasn't great in the first two frames, but he came on with a vengence in the third.
His teammates picked up the pace. After the Oilers killed a two-man disadvantage, thanks largely to heroic shot blocking from Steve Staios, the Caps took the lead on a beautiful play from Mike Knuble to Tomas Fleischmann. Fleishcmann's shot almost took my breath away, he released it in the blink of eye and his accuracy was just perfect. An insurance goal from Nick Backstrom put a brilliant comeback to bed.
Hopefully you're safe and sound with all the snow flying around the area. The guys are trying to fly back tonight and their spirits are soaring high. See you at Verizon Center on Wednesday for another rematch with the Buffalo Sabres.