After some 'soul searching,' Caps get it together
(Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)
Here are some other notes and quotes from the Capitals' 7-2 win over the Flames Saturday night (here are the the full recap of the contest and a breakdown of David Steckel's first-ever penalty shot attempt and goal):
For those of you who didn't watch the game, hopefully you DVRed it. This one was definitely worth watching.
--As you might imagine, the whole team was happy with the win and response following the dreadful game against Minnesota. But while the second two periods were the game they wanted to play, the slow start continued to be a problem.
"I think it's the response that everybody wanted, for sure. We did some soul searching as a team [Friday]," Steckel said. "But we didn't really come out in the first period. We got behind the eight ball right away, without that key power-play goal it would have been 2-0 at the end of the first. The other 40 minutes? Yeah, I think that's what we wanted."
So exactly how good were those other 40 minutes? (And you can probably throw in that power play from the hooking call on Alex Tanguay late in the first period.) Pretty good. The offense ebbed and flowed after receiving the confidence boost of Nicklas Backstrom's power-play tally at 15:22 of the first, the result of a series of passes - Brooks Laich to Mike Green to Backstrom - that showed glimpses of why the Capitals were so effective on the power play a season ago.
The momentum with the man advantage snowballed into the second thanks to the fastest series of two goals (13 seconds) in Alex Ovechkin's career, but equally valuable was how the Capitals prevented Calgary from having any substantial scoring opportunities as they wrapped the Flames up in a whirlwind of goals. Calgary posted just 13 shots in the second two periods combined after 16 in the first.
"That's us at our best, for sure," Green said. "Now we just need to keep playing like that throughout the season. We're going to have our ups and downs, but it's good for us to have a game like that. Now we can build off of it."
--Coach Bruce Boudreau shook up the lines for Saturday's game, inserting Boyd Gordon and D.J. King while making Eric Fehr and Mathieu Perreault healthy scratches. He also started the game with Brooks Laich at center on the second line, which remained the case even as Alexander Semin moved up to play with Ovechkin and Backstrom.
"I thought everybody did their job, played well and played hard," Boudreau said when asked if he was pleased with the results of the lineup changes. "It was a rocky beginning, but I thought a good ending.... I think I was waiting for this game on the power play. We got every bounce known to man for awhile and then they started fighting the puck. When they start fighting the puck it becomes easier."
--It was a young guns renaissance game: four points for Backstrom and three each for Ovechkin, Green and Semin, and the innate chemistry between all of them was finally clicking.
"[The first goal] I think was what changed the momentum," Ovechkin said. "Nicky scored that goal and we feel pretty good about ourselves, know we can play and have to play simple."
It was about time for Ovechkin, Green said: "He gets grumpy when he doesn't score, so it's good for him to get a couple."
Boudreau said it wasn't clear from the outset that it was going to be one of those neatly orchestrated offensive nights but after Backstrom's power-play goal gave he had an idea of what was to come. All told, at least two of the quartet picked up points on five of the Capitals' seven goals.
"I knew they were excited about playing with each other and when we got the power-play goal and Nicky and Mike and Semin and Alex were all in on the play I thought: 'OK, something good's going to happen.'" Boudreau said. "Then they scored on the 5-on-3 and I said: 'OK, I've seen this picture before.' They could have probably had a few more."
--This may start to sound like a recording, but goaltender Michal Neuvirth had another solid outing with 27 saves that included weathering 16 shots in the first period to keep the game close for the Capitals.
And there wasn't much he could do on either of the Flames' goals. The first goal ricocheted off of several Karl Alzner before Olli Jokinen directed the puck in the net with his skate and Curtis Glencross's shot for the second was redirected by Brian Fahey's stick.
--The Capitals have only scored more than six goals in a single period on the road once; that was when they tallied seven against the Los Angeles Kings in 1993.
| October 31, 2010; 1:44 PM ET
Categories: Alex Ovechkin, Calgary Flames, David Steckel, Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom
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