Caps 4, Sharks 1
Not only did the Caps snap four-game losing streak with their 4-1 victory over the Sharks tonight, they also ended a decade-long drought against San Jose, which had won the previous 11 meetings, including six straight in D.C.
But the big news at Verizon Center was Jose Theodore's injury. GM George McPhee said Theodore suffered back spasms in the first period and that the goalie will be reevaluated in the morning. McPhee also said the team will take a wait-and-see approach before deciding whether to call up a goalie from the minors.
Rookie Michal Neuvirth, by the way, has been cleared for game action after being sidelined with a hip injury, so it's possible he could get the call if Theodore can't play Saturday night.
The good news was that Varlamov came in cold and got the job done. He stopped 15 shots, including a couple of tricky ones, to help the Caps hang on.
Check out my game story here.
Some other notes and quotes that didn't make the cut:
*The Sharks were playing the first game of a six-game, 13 day road trip. And they certainly didn't seem to have their legs after a long, cross-country flight yesterday.
"Mentally, we were not even close to here we needed to be," Rob Blake said. "We played with no desperation and no drive whatsoever."
*Down the hallway, the Caps felt the high-powered Sharks' lack of production was the result of an airtight defensive effort. Funny how that works.
"We couldn't remember any major turnovers in the middle, which is really good news," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "When we play with no turnovers and we all play the way we're capable of playing, you get 36 shots on goal against a really good hockey club and you win the game."
*Boudreau complained before the game about the lack of production from his third and fourth lines. And on cue, Matt Bradley scores his second goal of the season in the third period to ice the game.
*The Sharks edged the Caps in the circle, winning 52 percent of their draws. But the Caps' David Steckel won 12 of 16 (75 percent).
*When asked what he told Evgeni Nabokov after the goalie made a first-period glove save on him, Alex Ovechkin said, "It's a secret. We're good friends and I was joking [with him] all night." After the game, Ovechkin, Nabokov and Alexander Semin spent about 10 minutes between the teams' dressing rooms chatting in Russian and exchanging phone numbers.
*Ovechkin's two goals 28 seconds apart in the second period were the fastest back-to-back goals of his career. The Caps are also 24-0-2 in Ovechkin's last 26 multiple-goal games.
*Ovechkin and Semin combined for 19 shots on goal. That's nine fewer than the Sharks had as a team.
*Kevin Lowe, one of three associate directors for Team Canada, was in the building. He told NHL.com's Dan Rosen that he watching Mike Green, Dany Heatley, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle.
When asked to compare Green and Boyle -- defensemen who could be fighting for the same spot -- Lowe told Rosen: "Obviously, Boyle has had the experience of winning a championship and has been to an Olympics even though he didn't play. He would have the experience over the other guy right now. They're actually quite similar players and they're wonderful to watch, incredible talents. They are both quick enough and calm enough in their demeanor the way they approach the game that they can get back into position if they do get out of position."
Green conceded to me the other day that he feels like a bit of a long shot right now, that he needs a really big November and December to make the Canada's Olympic team.
*I was told before the game that a few Russian teams remain interested in Michael Nylander's services. Those teams, however, have demanded that the veteran come over for a tryout before they'll enter into a loan agreement with the Caps.
*My postgame video will be a little bit late tonight. Server maintenance, I'm told.
Update: here it is.
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