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Caps 3, Rangers 1

Coach Bruce Boudreau said he wanted ugly goals - and his players gave them to him tonight. While neither Brooks Laich's goal nor Tom Poti's will be remembered for its beauty, they were just what the Capitals' needed against the Eastern Conference's best team and the league's top netminder.

"What I really was preaching is that if you're going to score, you're not going to get it by just waiting for the goal to happen," Boudreau said. "[Nicklas] Backstrom didn't get credit for the first goal, but you saw where he was. [Tom] Poti and [Boyd] Gordon got to the net for the second one. Those are the way you win hockey games, especially against great goaltending."

Some other notes and quotes from tonight's big win:

*Brent Johnson made 28 saves and was very good again. Making his third straight start, he poke checked Chris Drury late in the third period on a penalty shot to help clinch the win. Boudreau stopped short of naming Johnson the starter on Monday against his old friend Olie Kolzig and the Lightning, but I would be shocked if he didn't get the nod.

"Today he was [our No. 1 goalie]," Boudreau said. "He might be again on Monday. But on Wednesday we might have another No. 1. I'm not into these goalie controversies."

*Johnson has stopped 102 of the last 107 shots he's faced for a .953 save percentage. He's 2-0-1 in those games.
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*The Capitals improved to 5-0-1 at home this season, 11-0-1 dating to last season at the Phone Booth, which by the way was just short of a sell-out.

*Nicklas Backstrom continues to improve. He had an assist tonight, created a number of scoring chances and came up just short on a few others. Perhaps his season-long slump is about to come to an end.

*Alex Ovechkin's goal drought grew to nine games. He did make a number of big checks - one on Paul Mara and another on Marc Staal, whom Ovechkin caught with a shoulder to the defenseman's head.

*Gordon didn't just create the Capitals' second goal with his gutsy rush, he also was money in face-off circle, winning eight of 10.

*Alexander Semin went from potential goat to hero in the span of a couple of minutes. Moments after being sent off for tripping with 2:15 left to play, he stepped on the ice in the waning seconds and fired the puck nearly the length of the ice for an empty net goal. It was the seventh goal in the third period and overtime for Semin, who leads the league in that category.

*There's no official update on the injured players who sat out tonight. I'm told it doesn't look like Shaone Morrisonn or Sergei Fedorov will practice tomorrow, though Chris Clark will.

*Was it a statement win? Laich thinks it was.

"We feel like we're a good hockey team," he said. "We were excited for this game. We wanted to measure ourselves. And we passed the test tonight."

That's all for now. I'll have an update from practice tomorrow morning.


By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 8, 2008; 11:39 PM ET
 
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Next: Sunday Morning Update

Comments

Big Caps win and Brent Johnson played great!

Posted by: MReilly9 | November 8, 2008 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Another great win! What an empty netter! That might be Sasha's version of "The Goal."

One comment, one question:

I think the Rangers should be entitled to a compensation pick from the league for Cherepanov's death. It seems tacky for the team to ask for it, though. The only thing tackier, however, is for the league to deny it because "technically" Cherepanov is still eligible to be drafted again. Show some respect, please.

And tonight Joe B. said Ftorek once coached the Locker - where was that? The LA Kings maybe?

Posted by: CAP-lanta | November 8, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

(re-posted on new thread)

Just got home. Er...paging our Eeyores...paging our Eeyores. Please report to the blog for black lipstick.

Backstrom is just fine. I was disappointed when Nicky didn't get credit for the first goal, but he was right there, and he was one of the few who seemed to remember what a forecheck is. He was a beast out there tonight, and he and Ovi could both break out at any time. Look out Eastern Conference when that happens!

Speaking of beasts - JOHNNY! What's not to love? If he keeps up like this he deserves to be our #1.

I saw a lot more to like in our defense - very seldom were they out of position or not there. Even Green was where he belonged 95% of the time. Wonder if that has anything to do, as someone suggested, with being able to rely on the goaltender?

Sloan looked pretty good out there tonight, IMO. So did Fehr - Fehr did very well for himself and got robbed by Lundqvist at least once.

I do wish they'd be more aggressive in taking the puck from the other team rather than waiting for the setup.

Posted by: kittypawz | November 9, 2008 12:09 AM | Report abuse

What a game - the boys are back!!!! :-D I can't wait until Monday ... hopefully Johnny will be in goal again.

BTW, has anyone noticed that Sexy Lumberhack the Log Roller has been shooting more and seems determined to get a goal? And has anyone noticed that his name keeps getting longer?

Posted by: Boo- | November 9, 2008 12:20 AM | Report abuse

ok, can somebody tell me what the heck is going on here with the the TV coverage. I can't find these games. I have verizon fios, which has comcast, the local channels and versus. Just like everybody else that has cable. So why can't i even find the game. And tomorrows game is supposed to be on Versus and it's not showing up on my guide. I'm growing a bit pissed.

Posted by: blanknerc | November 9, 2008 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Dave:
Wow - another late night! Well you picked a good one to stay up for ... I hope it chased away the United blues. But don't forget to rest up - you're gonna need it! BTW, when you wrote:

-- That was a very weak call on Semin "at the death." --

While I agree, it kinda freaked me out ... must be a UK thing (or something that an ax murderer would say ... ;-)).

Posted by: Boo- | November 9, 2008 12:36 AM | Report abuse

i have fios and tonight it was on channel one.

Posted by: capscla55 | November 9, 2008 12:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm really glad the boys won tonight. This was the first game I've gotten to watch live in a while and it was really exciting. Johnny was awesome and definitely "human white out" on the Rags goal with that poke check on Drury and every other great save he made. Also happy because tonight broke the streak of "Caps lose every game jmu watches live".
I've been eagerly anticipating every postgame story by Tarik and any little Caps related tidbit I can get. Enjoy going back and reading comments after the games I've missed or had to watch on delay (sometimes days), too. Sorta makes it feel like I'm watching it live. (Not really, but they make me laugh, which I've needed aplenty) Thanksgiving break and the 22nd can't get here soon enough.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | November 9, 2008 1:51 AM | Report abuse

Cap-lanta, my concern for the Rangers asking for a draft pick has nothing to do with the fact that Cherepanov died. It's terrible, really, it is. What about the Canucks, who lost Bourdon? Thrashers, and Snyder? Canes, and Chiasson? Sadly, it's a risk you take when you draft a player, and I don't think you should be compensated for the death of a player any more than you should be compensated if your top prospect suffers a career ending injury. Those are risks you take when you draft a player.

By no means do I feel that denying the Rangers a draft pick would be dishonoring or disrespectful to the Rangers. In fact, I think quite the opposite. Granting the Rangers a draft pick basically erases the fact that they had any association with Cherepanov at all. It figuratively scratches his name from their record books, and replaces him with someone else, who is not Alexei.

If you give the Rangers a pick for Cherepanov, you have to give a pick to every player who has ever lost a player due to death. I don't think, with all due respect, that the league can afford 24 round drafts.

Posted by: Whitermage | November 9, 2008 2:24 AM | Report abuse

Whiter,
Your point was what came to mind when I heard about the Rangers and their request. I guess I'm dating myself but my second thought was Pele Lindbergh and how similar (or not) his situation could have been.

The Rangers would be setting a legal presedence and I don't think they'll get it.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | November 9, 2008 3:02 AM | Report abuse

But isn't it a timing thing? Did they really have to bring it up so soon?

Posted by: Boo- | November 9, 2008 3:10 AM | Report abuse

Boo!,
I'm not an attorney but I don't think so. Maybe it's just the fact that we live in a more litigious society now so it was brought up sooner than later. Again, I think it would be a legal precedence on just too many levels.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | November 9, 2008 3:27 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:
If that's the case then they should just suck it up.

Posted by: Boo- | November 9, 2008 3:38 AM | Report abuse

LOL...

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | November 9, 2008 3:40 AM | Report abuse

@ChrisAm

Laich/Steckel/Fehr

They probably have played together at some point on a shift or two since Bruce likes to tinker with the lines.

As for Fehr being a natural goal scorer and him not in the lineup. I'm not sure why he is sitting all the time, apparently he isnt showing enough in practice to supplant anyone on gameday. He is still young even though we have had him for 5 or 6 years now between here and Hershey.

And just because you a natural anything, doesnt make you a good/great natural anything.

I happen to be a Fehr fan and wish he would get more games and ice time.

Posted by: JSchon | November 9, 2008 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Laich/Steckel/Fehr certainly weren't slouches out there. I can't really point to any player and say "that one was horrid" this time.

I gotta say to Laich, though: Yeah, you guys are a good hockey team, when you bring it, take out the garbage, and don't get lazy. Last night was AWESOME, and we the fans want to see more of exactly that.

As I said after the Carolina game - that was last night. This is now. Forget about the W, and remember what you did to get it. Tomorrow's another day, and now it's time to focus on the Bolts. A lot of people laugh at them, but don't blow them off or they will burn you. Bring it just like you did tonight.

One note: the ice was still trash out there by the second period last night.

Posted by: kittypawz | November 9, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

The Rangers had a first round draft pick... Chereponov. If he had matured into the player everyone thought, they would have been very satisfied.

No one told them to pick him, several teams passed on him. You pays your money and you takes your chance.

Nothing is guaranteed, nor should it be. It would be a very bad precedent.

Leave it to NY to think that they are "deserved" special considerations.

Posted by: warsaw63 | November 9, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

blanknerc,

I have Comcast and live in Anne Arundel County. Last night's game was on CSN+, which for us here is Channel 21. Regular CSN is on Channel 7 and Versus is on 2. When there is a conflict between the Wizzies and the Caps, CSN usually airs the Wiz and the Caps go to CSN+. However, sometimes, if you're going through the online menu, it will list another show on CSN+, something like "Book Affairs" or "Book Matters" where they discuss a particular book with an author. Maybe you can keep an eye out for something along those lines in the channels you get.

Posted by: Puckdawg69 | November 9, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

The D looked ALOT better. And it was the "TEAM" D that was doing it. The forwards were much better in our own zone.
Don't look now but BJ is climbing the leader charts for goaltenders. He is in the top 5 league wide for Save % and GAA.

You have to love BJ too. For what he went thru last season, and to NEVER have said one bad word or catch an attitude. He is the definition of a TEAM player.

Not only becase BJ is on top of his game, but I think he should plat agaisnt Tampa especially in Olie is in nets for Tampa, it is extra motivation for Johnnie as well as it is for Olie.

Rock the Red!

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | November 9, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Larry Brooks article today. Whether I agree with him or not, I always like reading his articles because he always says what he feels with very little in the way of a filtering system in place.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/11092008/sports/rangers/drury_pick_pocketed_on_penalty_shot_in_t_137810.htm

The quote that caught my attention was this one by Tom Renney-

"My message? Start-to-finish. Battle . . . engage." said Tom Renney, who has been forced to make that point far too often this season.

"We didn't respond well at the start."

It's the same sort of thing I'm sure BB has had to say to the his charges this year on several occasions, particularly during and after the Buffalo contest. My point? You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don't come ready to compete night in and night out for 60 minutes by winning more faceoffs, finishing your checks, crashing the net and forecheck with a vengeance success is a lot more difficult to achieve on the scoreboard on a consistient basis. When the Caps have applied these mentioned principals, they have won and looked great in doing so. When they don't, results like Buffalo can be the outcome.
Great job on being ready to play last night fromm the drop of the puck, Caps!

Posted by: Riddler1 | November 9, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

@Whitermage

The main difference in your examples was that all of those players were signed by their respective teams, while Cherepanov was unsigned. This opens the door up for a portion of the collective bargaining agreement:


http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=391319

Posted by: Roose | November 9, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Watching NHL on the fly, I have noticed that the Pens announcers are true "homers" before, but they almost make it sick to listen for the few hi lights, the are so bad.

Gary Green thinks we need to worry with Ovie not scoring, but on the pens side, Crosby "nothing special there" did a good job helping the pens win with 3 shots on goal in 24 minutes of ice time ( and we know no hits), don't know how many dives ??

Just had to vent some....sorry

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | November 9, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

i liked how the rangers fan behind me kept saying that they couldn't shoot the puck, that the Rangers had a disease. Everytime they went into our zone he'd keep repeating it. Then the 10 rangers fans next to him directly behind us that stopped cheering for the game after they started losing then saying they only wanted to watch the UFC fight later. Then trying to pick on some kid below by throwing popcorn on him only to see that he had hand crutches. Classy.

Posted by: MNMNT | November 9, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, but that's still really lame to say since he wasn't signed, they deserve compensation. I'm sure we're not in completely unprecedented waters, and I'm also sure the Rangers are about the first team to ask for compensation, and I view it as classless and disrespectful, and I don't think they should get it.

Posted by: Whitermage | November 9, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Whiter,
Sure. It seems like mere semantics at this point whether he was signed or not. Suppose he did not pan out enough to even warrant a future contract in the first place so what then?

The Rangers have no case, or very little argument. Also your "classless and disrespectful" tone has merit.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | November 9, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

@MNMNT - on the flip side, I had three Rangers fans next to me that were pretty cool....for opposing team fans of course. They just sat and watched the game, they did stand up and cheer when their team scored but didn't behave inappropriately.

Unfortunately a couple of wasted Capitals fans started throwing pieces of pizza at them, and kept hitting Capitals fans because their aim was off. The Rangers fans stood up and warned the Caps fans, a couple more pieces of pizza flew down and one of the Rangers fans stood up and jumped over his seat and started heading up the aisle. I followed and managed to calm him down a bit, but by this points Caps fans were pointing out the pizza throwers and got the guy kicked out. The guy's girl 5 minutes later started getting in the face of a Rangers female fan challenging her to a fight and she too was given the boot.

It was a pretty action packed night in 404.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | November 9, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

@ Riddler: You can't be serious, Larry Brooks is a provenceal tool.

Posted by: MBonatucci | November 9, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Yeah...they weren't that bad compared to the 10 so-called caps fans that happened to be young verizon employees that were wasted on thursday's game. I seriously almost punched one in the face for putting his foot near my head more than a few times, then stretched his leg out onto the glass partition. Good thing the usher was working dilligently. Not. Every other word was the f-bomb. So much for the family atmosphere on Student Rush nights, I'm seriously selling my tickets on Thursday nights from here on out.. I would have rather had opposing team fans there that understand the game then annoying ones like the ones throwing pizza and the ones behind me last Thursday.

But then again it's all on the ushers who are non-existent there. Didn't you guys win pizza last night? haha

Posted by: MNMNT | November 9, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

429 was entertaining - we had a whole pile of Rangers fans in the back of our section, a bunch in 431, and a bunch down on the other side of the crease at our end. They were all civil human beings, and I didn't see any real shenanigans on either side from where I sat. Lots of cheering and counterjeering but no food or drink involved, and I even had a good conversation with a couple of Rangers fans on the Metro home.

Yeah, some fans are jerks, but not all of them.

Posted by: kittypawz | November 9, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

We beat the number one team in the league and there are 29 comments so far?

Looks like we finally found a goalie. I say ride Brent until he has a real stinker.

Backstrom was AWESOME tonight. Might not have shown in the stats, but he was absolutely flying. Twice he split the Rangers D with great rushes and he was a monster of possession. His knack for waiting until a hit is coming and spin off it is something else to watch. Nicky's definitely back!

I thought the first goal should have been credited to Backie. It looked to me like Laich didn't touch it with his blade and instead it bounced off Backstrom's shaft as he was getting pushed into the net from behind by a Rangers D.

Ovechkin had a very good game. That his on Staal was highlight reel material. He also had some good shots. I say watch him break out of his goal scoring slump with a hat trick soon.

Sloan played well. Did give the puck away at the boards a few times, but overall was steady.

Semin gave us all a heart attack with that neutral zone penalty with just over 2 minutes left, but his spinorama rink length shot into the empty net was amazing. He didn't even look where he was shooting and hit it right down the middle.

Also, first I thought it was a typical crazy Semin play because if he missed we could have had a faceoff in our zone, but now that I think about it was pretty safe because the puck went in with just 6 seconds left. Had he missed, by the time a Rangers players skated over to touch it there would be very little time left, if any.

GREAT WIN! We're playing like we did last year under Boudreau again.

Posted by: ranndino | November 9, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

On the Rangers thing. Let's remove emotions form the equation for a moment and use hard logic. Since they're claiming to be entitled to a compensatory pick based on a technicality (namely, if Cherepanov was still alive and they didn't sign him they'd get one) the league has the right to reject their request also based on technicality (namely, if Cherepanov was still alive he'd be eligible to be drafted again). Logically, it's a wash.

Posted by: ranndino | November 9, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

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