How tight are the Eastern Conference standings these dayd? The Capitals jumped from 12th to seventh with Thursday nights 1-0 win over the Winnipeg Jets.
Here are three observations from the win:
1. The Caps desperately needed one of their goaltenders to step up with a big performance and Michal Neuvirth was sensational in turning aside all 26 shots for his first shutout of the season. Neuvirth, who proudly wore the teams red hard hat after the game, will be rewarded with another start in Colorado Saturday night as the Caps try to complete a two-game road trip with four points.
2. Its hard not to feel happy for Alex Ovechkin after seeing him score the game-winner with 74 seconds remaining in the game. Excellent positioning by Nicklas Backstrom forced a giveaway in the neutral zone and Marcus Johansson dropped a perfect feed for Ovechkin, who beat Ondrej Pavelec through the wickets. It was an important goal for the team, Ovechkin said, and I'm glad I scored it." Its taken 30 games but Ovechkin finally has 10 goals. This is latest in the season Ovechkin has ever gone before reaching double digits in goals.
3. Despite the score, the Caps did not play their 1-2-2 system to perfection and needed big saves by Neuvirth, along with a goal-saving stop by Dennis Wideman, to earn the win. But as the game progressed the Caps positioning got stronger. Dale Hunter credited his players not his system for the win. I dont know about the system, he said, they have to read the plays out there. The players who play the game decide who wins and who loses.