Tuesday, January 19, 2010
By Joe Beninati
A goaltender's success in a game is so often linked to confidence. Washington's Jose Theodore was called upon to make a very tough save in the first 20 seconds of the contest this evening. That stop on Todd Bertuzzi reinforced Jose's self belief and from there he turned in an amazing 44 save performance to steal a game the Caps had no business winning.
This is just another example of why I think this could be a special season. Normally when a team thoroughly outplays the other like Detroit did tonight, they would skate off with a win, but there's so much good karma for the Caps at home that a win like this wasn't that surprising.
The D.C. penalty killers did a fine job keeping the Wings from building on their early lead. For the vast majority of the game the Wings controlled the puck like they often did during their Stanley Cup campaigns. I've seen Detriot play in person five times this year and this was by far the best they've looked, but it would not be enough.Washington's first goal from Matt Bradley was a sweet passing play. Mike Green hit Boyd Gordon on a long stretch feed and from there Gordon's relay to Bradley was just perfect. Matt beat Chris Osgood over the glove to cap it all off.
A sloppy clearing play by the Caps lead to Brian Rafalski getting a wide open look from 30-feet in front of Theodore. The veteran blueliner beat Theo, five-hole, to make it 2-1. And with about nine minutes left it looked like the Caps would have a remote chance at best to rally.
Not only did they come back, but they stunned Detroit with two markers in 46 seconds. Nick Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin were underwraps most of the night, but the Swede found enough room to tie the score on the power play after he roasted Brad Stuart. David Steckel showed excellent hand-eye coordination to tap in the winner out of mid air less than a minute later and the Caps were in the driver's seat.
In the second week of the season the Red Wings burned the Capitals with a late power play goal in a 3-2 win. Tonight the Caps turned the tables, but would have had no chance without Theodore's heroics. He'll need to be great again Thursday, when the Caps meet the Penguins in HD on CSN from the Steel City.