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Posted at 12:10 AM ET, 03/10/2011

The defensive side of Washington's 5-0 win over the Oilers

By Katie Carrera

After eight straight wins decided by a single goal, the Capitals may have been due for a game with an offensive outburst. Washington's goal-scoring ability and power play came to life in a 5-0 win over the Oilers on Wednesday night that looked very much like the wins the Capitals were accustomed to in previous seasons.

But to go along with all the flair, as Braden Holtby called it, the Capitals did a thorough job of shutting down Edmonton in the final 40 minutes and particularly in the third period. Washington allowed 12 shots in the second and third periods combined, giving Holtby plenty of defensive support to go along with the offensive cushion in his first NHL shutout.

The Oilers managed only five shots in the final frame, with four of them coming in the final minute.

John Carlson "was joking around with me saying, 'Just trying to give you a little action to keep you awake,'" Holtby said. "But it was great. The third period that our boys played was outstanding. Hopefully we can keep that going forward."

That the Capitals had a strong offensive game but managed to do so without sacrificing their defensive principles pleased Coach Bruce Boudreau as well.

Of course, the ultimate backstop for that effort was Holtby, who made 22 saves. Each of the Capitals' three young netminders -- Holtby, Michal Neuvirth and Semyon Varlamov -- has recorded at least one shutout this season.

At this point no one around the team is surprised to see Holtby performing well under pressure, but Boudreau went as far as to say that his stop on Andrew Cogliano's short-handed breakaway 5 minutes 9 seconds into the second period was the turning point of the game. It may very well have been the pivotal moment as Alex Ovechkin recorded his first power-play goal at home this season just 29 seconds later.

"Obviously I know [Cogliano's] a very speedy guy," Holtby said as he recalled the save. "So he usually kind of shoots quick or will make a quick move and get a shot off still. If you have a lot of speed, you usually don't deke too much and we had good back pressure, which is all I could really ask for and luckily made the save."

By Katie Carrera  | March 10, 2011; 12:10 AM ET
Categories:  Braden Holtby, Edmonton Oilers  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Open thread: Capitals vs. Oilers
Next: Eric Fehr makes a memorable return to the lineup


no comments from fehr on his first game back after a long layoff?

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 10, 2011 12:16 AM | Report abuse

That Arnott guy is still pretty good, eh?

He makes me a lot more confident about the Capitals' chances in the playoffs for some reason.

And Fehr with 2 goals? WTF? I love this team. I love Eric Fehr and Jason Arnott.

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 10, 2011 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Now that's what I'm talkin' about, peeps!!!

SO...let's just get this out of the way right now...

--Power play looks like it's back online. At least, I hope so.

" Well I hope so too...against one of the worst penalty kills in the NHL"

--five, 5, FIVE Goals!

"...should have been 10 against the worst team in the league. Why didn't the Caps score in the first period? Khabibulin should have retired years ago..."

--2 Goals (1 PPG)/3 points for Ovie. 3-game goal-scoring streak for Sasha Minor.

"...It's about time those soft euros stopped boozing every night..."

--Penalty Kill was perfect again...

"...against the League's worst power play...."

--Fehr comes up huge in his return from the IR...

"Are you kidding? I could have done that against those chumps. GMGM still overpaid for him. Shoulda taken Getzlaf in the draft..."

--'Holtby S***!!!' With the Shutout!!! I take back what I said earlier. Start calling him "Doctor 'No'"!

"Are you nuts? A wet Kleenex® would have been just as good against the Oil..."

--'Smackintyre' who?

"...lucky for Johnny Rock Star. One man-dance with Stevie Mac would have ended his career."

--Le Brooksi 15 of 21 (71%) in the dot.

"...but Laich is supposed to be a wing...should have traded him for Pronger..."

--Sweet double-give-and-go by MoJo and Ovie.

"He's still not ready to be an NHL pivot..."

--Nice feed by Chimera for the second Fehr strike.

"...Chim%#@fhgsriv%$ still has concrete hands. Trade him now..."


"GMGM is an idiot. BB should be fired. And you're a pansie (sic.) who knows nothing about hockey if you disagree..."

OK. Whatever.

So I concede that it was just one (1) game. Against the NHL's worst team. And the Caps have a long, tough road ahead. But the boys did what they had to do tonight: They made the opposition pay for every mistake and they came up huge in doing so. I saw a great level of effort and execution from everyone, start to finish. Another win for the F Street Fun Bunch. What more could we ask for? Backis and Green back in the line up? Yes, that would be nice.

Bottom line: Haters need to shut up. For a while, at least.

Now it is time to prepare for Carolina on Friday. Let's show them that:

"What once was ours again. It shall never be taken...from us again."

(That one's for you, Cap'n Kirk ;-D)


Peace out,
Das Rhino

Posted by: Rhino40 | March 10, 2011 12:20 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the post that suggested Varly and Holtby are our two best goalies, if you're talking about a hypothetical, say, in which we have to choose which two to go with for the next five years. Neuvirth seems like a very good backup too though. It's a tough call I think. How can you not love Holtby though? Except I think for one game, just about every minute Holtby has been in there I have been loving it!

You might think I'm stupid for saying this, but I would like Holtby to be the guy in the playoffs, unless/until he lays a stinker.

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 10, 2011 12:26 AM | Report abuse

I didn't really realize how badly we needed a 2C until we actually got one. Arnott has made a huge difference already. I feel so much better about the team and our playoff chances than I did before the trade deadline.

And Holtby has been stellar. What riches we have in the goalie department!

Posted by: wocoliz | March 10, 2011 12:27 AM | Report abuse

I think tmac2yao confuses players who take chances and do not take the conservative approach with low hockey IQ. They are two separate things. They are different styles.

If a player knows he is taking a risky chance, but chooses to do so because he knows he has the ability to either score or draw penalties with his plays(i.e. Ovechkin) and that his play almost always leads to more goals for his team while he is on the ice than against his team, that isn't low hockey IQ. It is just the style of game he plays.

Ovechkin knows he is not going to beat the defenseman with every move he makes, but it is the fact that he attempts it a number of times in a game and will beat his defenseman on a few of those moves that leads to very good scoring chances.

tmac2yao prefers the conservative style, which is fine. But it isn't that Ovie has a low hockey IQ, it is the fact that tmac2yao just doesn't like the style in which Ovie plays the game. That is different than a player having a low hockey IQ.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 10, 2011 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 10, 2011 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Cap'n, naturally, indeed. :D

Posted by: wocoliz | March 10, 2011 12:37 AM | Report abuse

I'm with sgm3 re hockey IQ.

I think when the players voted him the best player last year -, and in 2009 -

that necessarily includes a high rating of his hockey IQ. If the 300 or so best players in the world aren't qualified to rate his hockey IQ, I don't know who would be.

I really don't think many of them were saying, "Well, his hockey IQ is low, but he's still the best." I doubt that statement is even coherent.

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 10, 2011 12:38 AM | Report abuse

bos has two games in hand - but it is nice to see the caps 2nd in the conf for now

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 10, 2011 12:40 AM | Report abuse

So let it be written, so let it be done.


Posted by: redskinsux | March 10, 2011 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Can we say that Ovi still makes some very low-IQ hockey plays?

I dunno. I would hope that as he matures, he's better able to judge when it's the right time to dump and when it's the right time to push it solo on the rush: I don't believe it's just a matter of, "Well, that's the type of player he is - he needs to push it when it's not there simply to up his volume and increase the OPPORTUNITIES to make an amazing one-on-six play."

I love the out-of-whole-cloth amazing plays as much as the next person; I think it sells short his capacity for growth to say he doesn't need to learn when to make the "smarter, not harder" play.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | March 10, 2011 1:14 AM | Report abuse

I'm not saying that Ovechkin can't play any better.

His game will have to change as he ages too, for optimal retention of effectiveness.

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 10, 2011 1:40 AM | Report abuse

On Ovi's "hockey IQ":

Tonight, again, he created some plays with heads up, high-awareness, "high IQ" hockey that conservative players wouldn't make. I acknowledge that he does make more mistakes than other top players, but it's usually because he's trying to do too much, not because he doesn't understand hockey.

I hope that he can cut down on the mistakes without changing his overall approach, and I definitely think it's possible. But you have to understand that Ovechkin is as good as he is (despite the first half dropoff) because of the things he does that nobody else does. I think a fundamentally sound but otherwise unremarkable (in mental aptitude and attitude) player in Ovechkin's body would be very good but not great.

Posted by: 202character | March 10, 2011 3:19 AM | Report abuse

Stevie, I agree with you. I don't think his play is optimized yet, and there are many things he could do better.

I just don't agree with the extremists on the other side who think he's below average on the mental side of the game.

I think he's a brilliant player and it's scary (for everyone but the Caps) that there is still room for improvement. I hope he can get to that level of play while he still has the physical gifts to excel.

Posted by: 202character | March 10, 2011 3:23 AM | Report abuse

Get rid of GMGM, fire BB, trade Fehr, bench Brooks and take the C from Ovechkin. How does all that sound now? Sounds like the hockey IQ in question is in this chat sometimes. The trades have worked out better than anyone was willing to believe they would and Ovie and even Semin, are getting back their swagger. Ovechkin is who he is - and while he may alter his game as he matures and finds the need (physically) to do so - he is a true presence on the ice. I can't even think of a player from the past to compare him to - speed, aggression, power both with the stick and his hits - and the ability to make scoring chances that are just amazing to watch. It looks to me that the system change that has kept him under wraps most of this year bridled his energy and enthusiasm - it's good to see it come back. Great win last night. Let's go Caps!

Posted by: loanphd | March 10, 2011 5:49 AM | Report abuse

I dont think Ovie makes low hockey IQ plays. I think he takes some risk. When they go in his favor, we get the spectacular plays that make our jaws drop. When they dont people say he doesnt have hockey a good hockey IQ. I hope he keeps taking risk.

Posted by: jfwil | March 10, 2011 5:54 AM | Report abuse

@loanphd....and can we add "Holtby has slow feet" to your list? I think the kid's foot speed is just fine.

Posted by: bill_in_damascus | March 10, 2011 6:30 AM | Report abuse

Nice to be able to relax a bit during a game! As for the PP...great news, but it was against the worst PK in the league, so take it with a grain of salt.

I definitely agree that the addition of Arnott shows how desperately we needed a center! And maybe we can cut Semin a little slack since in his time with Washington he has rarely had the benefits of a true 2nd line center.

MoJo looked great! Of course Ovie was trying desperately to give him the shot on the 2 on 0 but the little punk wouldn't take it :)
What is it with young Swedes and their strong aversion to taking shots? Maybe it is just the Ovie factor.

Posted by: capscoach | March 10, 2011 7:12 AM | Report abuse


That is the way I see things playing out for tonight.

Posted by: PhilR | March 9, 2011 2:09 PM

Uh-oh Tom, think you may have some competition, NostraPhilR???

Posted by: PhilR | March 10, 2011 7:15 AM | Report abuse


No way Green comes back before that date anyway, the guy can't even currently skate three days in a row....he will be LTIR and they will retroact it to when he left for his Grandmother's funeral.

Posted by: PhilR | March 9, 2011 1:56 PM

Example #2 Tom, you now have some company!


Posted by: PhilR | March 10, 2011 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Now that's what I'm talkin' about, peeps!!!

SO...let's just get this out of the way right now...

[many real funny parodies deleted]


Peace out,
Das Rhino

Posted by: Rhino40 | March 10, 2011 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Nice. Very funny. Good job.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | March 10, 2011 7:58 AM | Report abuse

6 game win streak and nary a peep from some of the usual suspects. At least the positive spin people were still around during the losing streak...

Posted by: GFisher1 | March 10, 2011 8:07 AM | Report abuse

There were a lot of Fehr haters while he was out and I never understood that. He did score 2 against PITT on new years day. and even tho he seems injury prone, when u have a guy that can just flat out score goals, then other teams have to adjust to that don't they? which makes the CAPS even more formidable. Of course they would have to do this during the playoffs but they are playing really well right now. At this point, IMHO, a win is a win. just take wins no matter how u get em and just move on. just keep on truckin. keep on truckin. Go CAPS!

Posted by: doeshin | March 10, 2011 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Most appropriate flavor of Kool-Aid:

I can't get it into my system fast enough!

Posted by: seth_malaguerra | March 10, 2011 8:19 AM | Report abuse

I am a HUGE FEHR HATER! I still think the guy is a softee bum.

However, I'm glad he scored, because I want the cup in Washington, so if this bum who I can't stand leads the be it!

Great job Holtby, you look like you have really turned the corner...HAVE FUN IN HERSHEY (in the training room) VARLY!

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 10, 2011 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I for one am very happy the Caps have finally shown up to play.

But it has nothing to do with Ovechkin's leadership. He is just sick on the ice with skill! Crazy skill!

The leadership has turned to Hannan, Arnott, Knuble, and Laich. Letters don't have to prove it...just listen to the quotes from the guys in the room.

The NEW leadership has taken pressure off Ovechkin to do what he knows how to do best...CREATE OFFENSE!

Hats off to George.

PS> The caps are doing all this WITHOUT Green...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 10, 2011 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Ah, the kool-aid is flowing like Yosemite falls in the spring time. Don't fall in, you'll be swept over.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | March 10, 2011 8:35 AM | Report abuse

девушки любят мой большой Саша. Все мальчики я играть в хоккей против иметь спрашивайте меня, как большой Саша на самом деле. Я им говорю сейчас, что мой отец объяснил мне ", если другой человек хочет знать, как велика ваша Саша то, что мальчик должен быть Питтсбург Peguin". Я говорю ОК, чтобы мой папа. Так что теперь, когда кто-нибудь спросить я просто .. ах ... ах ... как вы говорите ... ах ... ах bieeiitcchh наказывайте их, то ... ОК

Posted by: Dogbreeder | March 10, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Fire BB, Fire GMGM, We need better goalies. LMAO

Kool Aid my ass - A Win is a Win is a Win and they are two points from top in East and we had a eight game losing streak. Enjoy the roll folks. They hated the regular season and are ramping up now. Undertaker is looking good after the infusion of spunk and leadership. Semin is a different player and OVI is relaxing. I wish BB had not lost the Team - Damit!!! Lets Go Caps!!!!!

Posted by: ballgame21 | March 10, 2011 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Don't know if it has to do with more TV focus on the bench since the trades, but there seems to be a lot more talking amongs the players on the bench. Arnott/Ovi/Semin all seem to be chatter boxes now. That's only going to improve the team. During the losing streak & tight games the talking all seemed one sided.

Yes the game last night was against one of the worst team in the NHL, however, Philly won 4-1 and we shut them out. The Caps are once again proving they belong with the elite in the NHL.

Posted by: ttenner | March 10, 2011 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Aaannnnndddd time and give a shout out to shultz. Some good moves on ice last night. Players gon play haters gon hate.

Posted by: BKBK | March 10, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse


Ovie was having an off year before BB changed systems. He now appears to out of his funk. I believe the double suspension and the Russian loss in the Olympics affected his play.

Posted by: duckyjimpond | March 10, 2011 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin leadership is on the Ice by example.Its his team and where he leads the rest will follow. When Ovechkin struggles the whole team struggles.

Posted by: duckyjimpond | March 10, 2011 5:51 PM | Report abuse

We've had the chances! Ward is on his game tonight

Posted by: capsfan0837 | March 11, 2011 8:26 PM | Report abuse

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