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Caps Defeat Blackhawks, 4-2 For First Win

The biggest question coming into tonight's home opener was how prime free-agent pickup Jose Theodore would rebound from his underwhelming performance against Atlanta on Thursday. And when Theodore gave up a goal to Chicago's Kris Versteeg on the first shot, 26 seconds into the game things weren't looking any brighter. Versteeg's goal was the fifth goal Theodore allowed on the first 18 shots he faced this season.

"I just felt really bad for Theo," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I just knew he wanted more than anything to start tonight and I know he wanted to redeem himself for his new teammates."

After giving up a second goal, Theodore refocused. He knew if he only allowed two goals the Caps had the offensive firepower to come back."Sometimes as a goalie you feel good and you still let really bad goals in," Theodore said. I felt good but then obviously the first two goals I shouldn't have allowed."

*The Caps held Chicago to 11 shots in the final two frames. Washington spent so much time in the Chicago zone in the third period that it took the Blackhawks 11:04 to record three shots.

*Part of the reason the Caps were able to overcome their slow start and the early 2-0 deficit was their forechecking and Boudreau praised the efforts of the Donald Brashear- David Steckel-Matt Bradley line. The group stood out as one of the most consistent units throughout the game and were able to push the smaller Blackhawks forwards around a lot.

"Our game is forechecking that's where we get the adrenaline of the crowd and I thought the Steckel, Bradley, Brashear line were by far the best at it," Boudreau said. "They were physical, they got it deep and they did their job."

The line combined for the Caps first goal of the game at 13:26 of the first when Steckel forced Nikolai Khabibulin to move left-to-right in the crease with a pass to Bradley, who shot the puck into a wide open net. Brashear had the second assist and the trio combined for a plus-4 rating. Steckel has now recorded two points in two games, as compared to last season when it took him 23 games.

"When we get that line scoring a goal its an added bonus," Boudreau said. "They leaned on people. They know how to play without the puck, which is so terribly important and say what you want about Donald but he's a good effective player."

*Late in the game Boudreau added Tomas Fleischmann to the checking line and also singled the right wing out for praise in his post-game comments.

One play that comes to my mind was in the third period when Fleischmann went down to block a shot close to the blueline. The puck bounced right back to Chicago defenseman Brent Sopel Fleischmann had scrambled back to his feet and deflected Sopel's second shot off his stick into the netting.

Some more odds and ends:
*With his goal against the Blackhawks, three of Brooks Laich's last four regular-season goals have been game winners.

*Alex Ovechkin has scored at least one goal in each of the four home openers he has played in during his career.

*The Caps have not lost an opener since the 2000-01 season and they recorded the first sellout of the new season with a reported attendance of 18,277.

By Katie Carrera  |  October 11, 2008; 11:18 PM ET
 
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Comments

Laich went to the goal and scored...that is where you get goals.....nice job

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

MUCH BETTER.

Also, Ovi's second goal was absolutely sick. He undressed three defenders and the goalie to pot that one

Tarik, what was the question that kept them reviewing the Laich goal for so long?

Posted by: this space for rent | October 11, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

"Sometimes as a goalie you feel good and you still let really bad goals in," Theodore said. "I felt good but then obviously the first two goals I shouldn't have allowed."

Great to see him taking accountability and not offering up excuses.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2008 11:32 PM | Report abuse

from last thread
was in section 119 tonight right in line with JT. It's scary how a goalie of 12 years seems afraid of handling the puck behind and to the sides of the goal, very very scary.
Erskine looked good except one bothched clear and Jurcina pounded a bunch of people. Poti looked good. Dee kept Chic to 21 shots, although the fact we spent most of the2nd and 3rd in their end helped.

Posted by: billd | October 11, 2008 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Hockey is back in Washington! I love it!

Posted by: Chris | October 11, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

DrinkingPartner:
Yes, Backs was invisible - I did not even notice until well into the third period that he was playing!

So how disappointing was it that Huet did not play?!? I was certainly bummed. After watching how well Kubi played (in comparision to Huet's first few attempts between the posts for Chicago), I wonder if Huet is at risk of being sent down?!? Stranger things have happened ...

Ovie sure had a heck of a night - didn't they warn them not to wake the giant? GAME ON!!!

Thank goodness Jose shook it off - I was afraid that we were in for a looooong night!

Jurcina looked better. Hopefully he will keep it up. The D overall looked better - I think the team is finally (re-)geling.

Posted by: Boo! | October 11, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

ANOTHER new thread ... Tarik is on overdrive! :-)

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2008 11:46 PM | Report abuse

ANOTHER new thread ... Tarik is on overdrive! :-)

Posted by: new | October 11, 2008 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Boo, every single man on that ice tonight in a red sweater looked better than they did last night.

Posted by: this space for rent | October 11, 2008 11:47 PM | Report abuse

@TSFR Re: Ovechkin's second goal:

Guess who got a picture of it with the puck still in the air just past the goal line???

WooHOO!!!

Yes, it will be posted on irockthered.livejournal.com later this evening, when I'm done editing. :)

Posted by: i rock the red | October 12, 2008 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Correction: WeRockTheRed.livejournal.com, here:

http://pics.livejournal.com/werockthered/gallery/0001cb85

Posted by: i rock the red | October 12, 2008 12:36 AM | Report abuse

From Section 404...I have seen the Sombrero.

Not too pretty a face, but a nice hat!

GO CAPS!

Posted by: OleMiss | October 12, 2008 1:22 AM | Report abuse

Would it really have felt right if we didn't have to come from behind for the win?

Posted by: TheCapitalist | October 12, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

did you just call sombrero fugly, that sucks

Posted by: Anonymous | October 12, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

what a game last night, you guys were rocking!

Hope to see much the same on Monday!

http://feartheweagle.blogspot.com

Posted by: TJCAPS8 | October 12, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

My 2 cents on the game,
1) We won! That's the good news
2) Ovy was Ovy (he wasn't Friday). That's more good news.
3) 4th line played well. More good news.
4) I didn't think lines 1-3 clicked. Not sure the combo's are right.
4) Theodore still scares the SH** out of me. I would like to see some consistemt games. I wish Brent (and I'm sure he does too) could erase 3 minutes of the ATL game, because he gives me more confidence
5) Lets' fix the boo-boo's and crush Vancouver.

Let's Go Caps

Posted by: ItsHockeyTime | October 12, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

HIP HIP - JOSE!

Posted by: Victor | October 13, 2008 2:17 AM | Report abuse

Jose! Don't scare me like that ever again!

Posted by: Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC) | October 13, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I want Huet Back. I thought about wearing the Huet jersey, but that would just be unacceptable, so instead I threw it deep into the closet where I didn't have to think about what it would be like to have a goalie I trusted back into the line up.

Posted by: section 405 behind the loud guy | October 13, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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