In a game that went back-n-forth all night long, the Caps had just enough gas in the tank to outlast the Jets in overtime thanks to a point-blank stuff by Jason Chimera. The home team grabbed the lead on three different occasions only to see the visitors answer back each time. But after 60 minutes, the first-goal wins it in overtime and Washington managed to get by Winnipeg to avenge a loss from last week in Manitoba.
Tomas Vokoun and Ondrej Pavelec were the goalies in this one. Pavelec was a youngster when Vokoun played back home in the Czech Republic, and like Michal Neuvirth, he holds a great deal of respect for his older countryman. Both guys put on a good show, and thankfully for Washington Pavelec was not as strong as he had been in the past four meetings between these two clubs.
Alex Semin would solve Pavelec to start the scoring. It was the product of a great hustle and speed play by Alex Ovechkin who slipped a backhand pass to Semin who crushed a slapshot over Pavelecs glove before the game was six minutes old.
Credit has to be given to Semin for playing this game with a noticeable amount of determination only two nights after he was held out of the line-up as a healthy scratch by Bruce Boudreau. Everyone at Verizon Center could tell that Semin was playing with motivation and playing with smarts. He stayed out of the penalty box and he was a scoring threat on many occasions throughout the night.
It only took 12 seconds for this game to get back on the teeter-totter. Brooks Laich threw a nice pass to the front of the goal where Chimera was crowding Pavelec to make it 2-1 Washington. Jason and Brooks continue to display a very strong chemistry playing on the same line. Tonight they worked without Joel Ward, who was not given a jersey by Coach Boudreau because he missed a team meeting on Tuesday.
The first period scoring was completed by Kyle Wellwood of Winnipeg. He was able to get loose from Cap defenders long enough to pot a rebound which tied the score at two apiece. Wellwood and Ladd would finish with two points each this evening.
Nicklas Backstrom celebrated his 24th birthday by netting his seventh goal of the year in period two. All seven of Nicks goals have come in Caps victories, and for quite awhile it looked like this goal would stand up to be the winner. Dmitry Orlov picked up his first NHL point with a nice seam-pass that sprung Backstrom toward the goal crease.
Caps fans were thrilled by a second-period penalty-killing display. Washington was two-men down for 80 seconds, and at one point penalty-killer Brooks Laich had broken his stick leaving him in a helpless position, but everyone dug in and Vokoun made a couple of key stops.
Fans were not pleased when Mike Knuble scored what appeared to the Caps fourth goal of the night. Officials ruled that Matt Hendricks bumped Pavelec in the crease and prevented him from doing his job, just as Knuble deked to the backhand and slipped the puck into the open goal. Pavelec was lying on his back as Knuble raised his arms in celebration only to have the refs wash it out.
The Jets showed their resiliency by leveling the score only seconds later in the third period. Bryan Little snapped a wrist shot past Vokoun on the stick side with 7:24 left in regulation.
Once into overtime it became the right moment for Chimera to grab the spotlight. Skating four-on-four, creative players with good speed tend to succeed and thats what happened as Boudreau went with speedsters Chimera and Johansson up front. The game-winner was set up beautifully by Denis Wideman who made a strong move in from his point position, kept his head up, and found Chimera waiting at the crease for the stuffing on Thanksgiving eve.
Have a great holiday everyone, enjoy your time with the family, and well see you on CSN Friday afternoon when the Rangers come to town.
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