Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Sometimes small tweaks can shake things up just enough. Tonight, Bruce Boudreau and the Washington Capitals with thier newly re-tooled 1st line, visited the Columbus Blue Jackets for the first time since 2003. Of note, Washington Capitals superstar, Alexander Ovechkin opened his NHL Scoring career back then against this very same club, scoring his first NHL Goal, (he scored 2 that night) in a 3-2 Capitals victory.
The Caps and Boudreau were hoping that inserting Eric Fehr into the 1st line with Ovechkin and Backstrom, and moving Kozlov down to center the second line, would generate more offence from parts of the linup other than Ovechkin and the 1st line. While Fehr did not factor into the scoring, the Caps did recive help from 2 different players tonight. Ovechkin had 2 goals, including the game winning overtime tally. Tom Poti, and Alexander Semin both had the other Caps scores. So alittle more production from places other than the first line. Progress, not perfection.
The Caps also showed some heart and character in overcoming some adversity tonight. The Caps were scored on short handed, when they had a two man advantage. The Caps have not given up a tow man advantage short handed goal since 1991 in a game VS the Philadelphia Flyers, which the Caps ended up winning 6-3. As luck would have it tonight, the Caps overcame that. The Caps also had to overcome a gift of a goal, with the assist going to referee Bill McCreary. McCreary failed to get out of the way when the Columbus rush turned up ice, and slammed into Capitals defender Shaone Morrisonn, leaving Rick Nash to skate in all alone on Brent Johnson for the easy score.
That took the air out of the Caps sails, but the Caps were not done just yet. They showed heart and character tonight, and tied the score back up on a hard shot from Tom Poti, which had to be reviewed because it went in and out of the net so fast, that play just continued as as if there was no score. The red light was never turned on, but upon the next stoppage in play the Caps called for the play to be reviewed. Sure enough, the puck went deep into the net and ringed around the metal back bar along the top so fast, it was barely visible with the naked eye. The score would remain tied through the rest of regulation.
Once again, in overtime our hero Alexander Ovechkin netted the game winner at 2:28 of the sudden death overtime period. Tom Poti also picked up an assist on that goal. These are the types of games that show just what a team is made of. Both teams faced some adversity tonight. Columbus lost thier starting netminder Pascal LeClaire late in the 2nd period after a collision in his crease. He suffered a neck injury and did not return, leaving back up goaltender Frederik Norrena to man the pipes the rest of the game. LeClaire's injury was not considered to be serious, however he will not travel with the Blue Jackets Wednesday when they leave for Phoneix and San Jose. Tonight it was the Caps who were the club that showed the character and heart in overcoming thier adversities, to pull out an important win with just 28 games remaining in the season.