The Washington Capitals faced off against the Winnipeg Jets tonight in a pivotal game. The last ever Southeast Division title was on the line, and whoever wins it is all-time Southeast Division Champions.
Matt Hendricks gave Caps fans something to cheer about early when he banked a shot off the back of Pavelec and into the net at the 3:12 mark in the first period. Only a few minutes later the Jets pressured and Big John Erskine was sent to the penalty box after a diving, last-ditch effort to stop a shot on a wide-open cage.
This is the point in the game that I went to make an omelette--ham, spinach, and Monterey Jack cheese--so I wasn't as closely glued to my keyboard to type the events.
The Jets had another near-miss with roughly seven minutes left in the first when a puck flip over Holtby and Erskine saved the day yet again by knocking the puck away from the line before it went into the net. It was immediately called by the official to not be a goal and the play would go upstairs where the call on the ice was upheld. Later in the period Matty P camped himself behind Pavelec's net and passed the puck out to a waiting Jason Chimera in front who pocketed his third goal of the season and gave the Caps a 2-0 lead in a game which they took into the second period.
The second period did not go well at first. At the beginning of the period Evander Kane choke-slammed some of the momentum away from the Caps with an early power play goal, and Blake Wheeler tied it with 5:49 left to go in the period. It wouldn't be long, twenty-seven seconds, before Nick Backstrom redirected a pass from Alex Ovechkin past Pavelec to give the Caps their lead back. Then with 2:26 remaining Jack Hillen jumped into the play to put a shot on Pavelec and Matty P was there to knock home the rebound for his sixth goal of the season and second point on the night, and he gave the Caps their two goal lead back, which they would hold on to going into the third period.
The third period was quiet for a long time, until a Brouwer breakaway chance that missed but led to a strong series of chances for Washington, including a Volpatti backhander that hit the post. A few minutes later Nik Antropov would shoot a wristshot past Holtby and under the crossbar to heat up the last eight minutes. Then things got real real when Matty P. high-sticked Nik Antropov with five minutes remaining. The Caps would have to kill it off to maintain their one goal lead. The Caps' pk came up big, allowing the 'Peg zero shots during their power play chance. Then with Alex-Semin.8 seconds left in the third Alex Ovechkin put a shot into the empty net and an awkward George McPhee celebrated.
Your Washington Capitals are the all-time, winner-takes-all, very-last Southeast Division Champs.
Wednesday, 24 April 2013
Sunday, 21 April 2013
|Ovechkin celebrates one of his two goals|
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....
Friday, 19 April 2013
|Green lays out Zibanejad|
- After Washington's penalty kill was successful twice through the first period, with good defense from both teams, the action really started in the second period.
- The Senators came out for the second strong - with just a minute gone on the clock, Kyle Turris got the first of the night.
- It took ten minutes for the next score, with Ribz coming up to equalise with his thirteenth of the season, assisted by new man Erat and Hillen.
- However, this was erased after just two minutes , after Conacher satched one for the Sens
- Despite two Capitals powerplays in the third, the score remained the same until Turris got his second of the night with Holtby pulled. The Caps lost 3-1.
This loss could be critical down the line. After Winnipeg's OT win against Carolina, they are now just two points behind the Caps in the standings with just four games to go - and as the 'Peg are in 9th place, this means there is no certainty of hockey for the Caps in May. Also, as the standings currently are, the Caps would actually face the Senators in the Eastern Conference Quarter final. Seeing as the Caps have lost both meetings with the Sens this year, this could be a bad sign (although they can redeem themselves on April 25 when they face off again.)
The Caps just have to put this loss past them, and there is no reason why they can't. Holtby did play well, stopping 33 of 35 shots he faced - those are playoff numbers. Whilst Ovechkin didn't score, he is still in great form and leads the NHL in scoring. Next opponent for the Caps comes in the form of Montreal, who are leading the Northeast Division but are 5-5-0 in the last ten, so this is by no means an impossible game for the Caps. After that, a crucial game against the Jets.
Let's go Caps!