If the Capitals can play any better than they did in the last two periods tonight, then I would love to see it! Their puck possession game was impeccable from the start of the second period and it helped to wear-down the Hurricanes.
After spotting the home team a one-goal lead, the Caps roared back with five unanswered strikes against All Star netminder Cam Ward. The Canes were cycled into submission in this contest. A perfect example was the goal that tied the score at one.
Jeff Halpern, Matt Hendricks and Mike Knuble got the second period off to a flying start by funneling the puck out of the corner and to the front of the net. Halpern would finish the play by rotating to the crease and chipping home a five-footer into an open net.
That line was especially good tonight, as the Caps continued to show how deep they are in the forward ranks. Mathieu Perreault was the odd-man out as the healthy scratch in this game, and Bruce Boudreau agonized over having to put him up in the press boxhes been playing well.
The coach went with Nick Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin on a forward line to start this evening, hoping perhaps to light a fire underneath the two wingers. They didnt generate much at even strength and the by the time the game was through, Boudreau had split them up again.
Marcus Johansson and Troy Brouwer combined to score the prettiest goal of the evening. Rookie winger Cody Eakin chipped a pass that sent Johansson and Brouwer in on a 2-on-1.
From there Johansson elevated a beautiful cross-rink saucer pass that Brouwer short-hopped into the top corner. The pass was straight from the Backstrom playbook; they make it look so easy, but to demonstrate such soft hands at top speed is remarkable.
Early in the 3rd period (I mean two minutes into the third) Craig Laughlin said if the Caps could convert on the power play, this game would be over. Well, they did, and it was, and Locker was spot on!
John Carlson hammered a slapshot by Ward that was practically hissing on its way past the goalie. Backstrom created the silky set up for the blueliner, and the Caps were in business. All that was left was for a rookie to net his first big-league goal.
Cody Eakin has a reputation as a goal-scorer from his days in Canadian Junior Hockey. That rep looked very much deserved b y the way he completed an odd-man rush in period three.
Semin sent Eakin right down the slot on Ward and the youngster zipped a snapshot that beat the goalie on the short-side, blocker side. The Caps bench erupted to celebrate what they hope will be the first of many strikes in Codys career.
Ovechkin clicked with Backstrom to add some window-dressing late in the third to put the cap on a 5-1 Caps triumph. Backstrom has three tallies in his last two games.
Michal Neuvirth was solid in goal, beating Carolina for the second time this season. We expect Tomas Vokoun to get the nod on Long Island Saturday. If the Caps perform up to the level they did in the last 40 minutes tonight, theyll make life tough on the Islanders.
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