Sunday, 21 April 2013

Caps beat Habs 5-1, Ovechkin's On Fire and Playoff Berth Edges Closer

Ovechkin celebrates one of his two goals
After the Senators snapped the Caps' eight game winning streak, this writer was worried that the result could  be a slide out of the playoff spots in the remaining games, but I needn't have panicked - because the Washington Capitals are ready to play some playoff hockey.
With Winnipeg losing in a shootout to the Islanders earlier in the day, the Caps knew that a win would put them three points above their Southeast division rivals with just three games to go in the regular season - and win they did, recap is below the jump....

- The Caps came out strong, with Ovechkin grabbing a goal less than five minutes in after young Canadiens Defenseman PK Subban's pass deflected off Backstrom onto Ovi. It was Ovi's 29th goal of the season and Backy's 39th assist.
- Just a minute later, Troy Brouwer fired a wrister - his 18th goal of the season- through multiple screens to make it a 2-0 for the Caps. Assisted by Alzner (4th assist of the season) and Ribz (32nd assist)
-Three minutes into the second period, Brouwer snatched his second goal (and nineteenth of the season) on another wrist shot after a well worked play, with Mojo (14th assist of the season) and Ribz (32nd assist) getting the helpers. 3-0 Caps.
-The onslaught continued later in the second, with the Caps on a powerplay after David Desharnais was sent to the box for holding. Ovechkin fired from his usual top faceoff circle spot, somebody got to it and it hit just about every post possible after Backy swatted it in. 4-0 Caps.
- Later in the second, Holtby, who incidentally was putting up crazy numbers, made a huge hit (yes, the goalie made a hit) on Travis Moen. Awesome.
- With 6:40 remaining, on a Caps powerplay, Ovechkin made it a five-star performance with the team's fifth and his second of the night and 30th (!) of the season. No prizes for guessing where the great eight smashed this one in from.
- It was getting kinda embarrassing for Montreal so the Holtbeast granted mercy on Pacioretty a minute later to make it 5-1.

That was a great performance from the Caps at a critical point of the season. With a three point advantage of Winnipeg, the division is very much in the Caps' hands. Ovechkin is red-hot, with 30 goals in 45 games, not a far cry off a 60 goal season form (assuming the season was 82 games). He has 21 in the last 20. Holtby also looks like a force to be reckoned with, making insane saves all night and frustrating the Habs, stopping 35 of 36 shots. The penalty kill for the Caps was perfect, not letting the Habs score in six separate opportunities.

Next up is probably the biggest game of the year so far. The Winnipeg Jets will travel to the Verizon Center on Tuesday night. A regulation win for the Caps will win them the Southeast division title for the 2012-3 season. An overtime/shootout win will mean the Caps have to pick up one point against either the Senators or Bruins to guaranteeing the title. An overtime/shootout loss will mean two points are necessary in the next to games for the title (assuming the 'Peg win all their remaining games). A regulation loss = panic attacks for the rest of the season. There will be a one point difference between the two sides.

LET'S... GO.... CAPS!

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