Wednesday, December 15, 2010 10:53 p.m.
CAPITALS PAGE CAPITALS VIDEOS
By Joe Beninati
Halfway through the game tonight, if you asked me how the Caps were doing, I would have told you that everything was going to work out fine, and that victory was all but a lock.
The Caps controlled the first 25 minutes of the game. They badly out-chanced the Ducks, but chances dont determine the outcome. The Ducks were flat in the first period, and normally the Capitals would have buried them under three or more goals. These are not normal times however.
Bruce Boudreau re-assembled a checking-line of Brooks Laich, David Steckel and Matt Bradley and they helped nullify the attack of one of the NHLs most potent trios, Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf, and Corey Perry.
With those guys in check, the Caps buzzed all around Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller. The only man to beat him in the first period was Laich on a backhand from the slot. John Carlson made an aggressive move in from a point position and playmaker Nicklas Backstrom found him with a soft pass. Carlsons initial shot did not get to the net but Laich was left unguarded to notch his 8th on the rebound.
Brooks was an inch away from a second goal a few moments later. After a ghastly defensive zone turnover by Anaheim, Laich walked right in on Hiller and put a snap shot off and through his pads that slowly crept towards the goal line. I was convinced it was going in and as just as the word SCORE came out of my mouth, I wanted to stuff it back in because Getzlaf swept it off the goal-line.
Alex Ovechkin had a clear-cut breakway in the 2nd period. He did everything right but finish it off, as his snapshot whizzed past Hiller and clanged off the post. The goalie barely flinched; he had zero chance of stopping that shot, but the iron did the trick for him.
Moments later, a beautifully executed 3-on-1 break led to what appeared to be an open net for Backstrom. Hiller made a miraculous recovery flashing out the paddle of his stick, which appeared to deflect the puck off one post, and maybe both, before coming to rest under the goalie.
It could have been 4-0 easily. Oh well, wouldve, couldve, shouldve doesnt count!
Joffrey Lupul (remember that scoundrel from Game 7 of the Flyers series a couple years ago) netted a power play goal to tie the score at one with almost 13 minutes gone in the second period. From there the Caps looked like they were back on their heels.
Neither team scored in the third period, but you could make an argument for Anaheim having the better of the play. The Ducks skating legs appeared to get stronger as the game went on. They have a very physical bunch of forwards who grind you down over the course of the game.
In overtime, the Capitals best chance came from Ovechkin who snapped a bullet from 20 feet out that Hiller managed to turn away.
With just under a minute left in the extra time, Getzlaf powered his way out of the corner and zipped a shot through Scott Hannan, whom he used as a screen to beat Semyon Varlamov.
The Caps played much better tonight. They had the right game plan. They stuck with it. Seven straight losses, enough already!