Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: kcarrera and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

Ovechkin: 'It was mentally a very important win for us'

It was exactly the type of game you would expect when the NHL's top team hosts the defending Stanley Cup champion.

Tense. Physical. Thrilling. It was all those things and more.

What was completely unexpected, though, was the way it finished - on a shootout goal by Mike Kunble, a bang-and-crash winger who had never scored the shootout (0 for 4 career).

Knuble's fourth round knockout (yes, that was a head fake, I asked) delivered a 4-3 win, bumped the Caps' record to 3-0-0 against the Penguins this season and increased their point total to 108, equaling the franchise record they set last season.

Check out my gamer here, Boz's column here and another steroids story here, then come on back for some odds and ends:

*Here's Alex Ovechkin on the win:

The two-time MVP notched an assist and improved to 2 for 8 in the shootout (and 13 for 46 all time) with a nice move on Marc Andre-Fleury in the shootout

*What more does Jose Theodore have to do in order to be named the playoff starter? Really? The guy is 17-0-2 in his last 19 games. That's only a franchise record and the longest streak without a regulation loss in a decade.

Tonight, he stopped all 17 shots he faced in the first period. That, in my opinion, was just as important as Alexander Semin's unassisted shorthanded goal and/or Knuble's shootout tally.

Two saves, in particular, stand out. The pad stop on Ruslan Fedotenko late in the first period and the blocker save on Jordan Staal late in the third. Those types of saves win playoff games.

*The Caps' Eastern Conference clinching scenario, via the team:

The Capitals could clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference for the first time in club history with a win against Carolina and a New Jersey loss (in regulation or overtime/shootout) to the New York Rangers. If that happened Washington would clinch the top seed in the East before any other team in the conference clinched a playoff spot. One team in the West -Chicago -could clinch a playoff spot tomorrow with a win at Columbus and a Calgary loss at the New York Islanders.
A Caps win or overtime loss would give the team the club record in points (currently tied with 108); with a win they would match the club record for wins with their 50th. A win would also give the team the club record for road wins (currently tied with 22).

*The Caps have outscored the Penguins 7-1 in the third period this season.

*With an assist, Nicklas Backstrom is one point from fifth Cap to ever record a 90 point season.

*From my seat 200 feet above the ice surface, that looked like the most physical Caps' game I've seen in a while. And the stat sheet would seem to back that up. The teams combined for 64 hits, including a game high-nine by Shaone Morrisonn, who got the hard hat tonight.

The biggest hit, though, was one that wasn't. In the first period, Brooks Orpik tried to decapitate Brendan Morrison behind the net. Morrison, however, ducked at the last moment and Orpik hit the wall.

*When Boudreau was asked about the officiating, he cracked a smile and said, "No don't try." As in, don't try to get him in trouble with the league. Power plays were 5 to 1 in favor of the Pens. I have a trouble believing Pittsburgh took only one penalty all night.

*Semin was named the No. 1 star -- and deservedly so -- after scoring a dominant shift on a third period penalty kill that ended with unassisted shorthanded goal that tied the game 2-2.

*Finally, join Craig Laughlin on Friday at the Blue Dolphin Seafood Bar and Grill for a fundraiser to benefit Children's Hospital. Chris Cooley from the Redskins is going to be there along with several former Caps.

For more info, click here.

That's it from me tonight. I'll check in from RBC Center in a few hours.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 25, 2010; 12:03 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Eric Fehr on not giving the Pens 'any ideas in our rink'
Next: Caps get another victory against rival Pens

Comments

Go Nicky.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 25, 2010 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Great night for knuble, First goal of the game and first ever shootout goal...CONGRATS

Posted by: cotelloer | March 25, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Knuble and Semin were both good tonight. Semin would have had more impact if the two times he was tripped and the time he was interfered with were called, but oh well. Great win, and hopefully we can clinch tomorrow!

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 25, 2010 12:50 AM | Report abuse

The penalties against the Caps seemed reasonable except the high stick, but there were definitely more than a few non-calls against Pittsburgh.

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 25, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

As Tarik stated above:

"When Boudreau was asked about the officiating, he cracked a smile and said, "No don't try." As in, don't try to get him in trouble with the league. Power plays were 5 to 1 in favor of the Pens. I have a trouble believing Pittsburgh took only one penalty all night."

Tarik - we all know this is a pattern when we play the Pens, and expect it will be again in the playoffs. Why don't you or some other reporter look into this further and bring some light to this clear bias by the refs against the Caps when they play the Pens? The early report on ESPN.com noted that there was a blatant trip on Ovie during the overtime that wasn't called -when I checked back on the site a while ago that comment was gone and all that was left was that Pitt had one penalty.

I think there is a clear scandal here with the refs and the NHL and we need the media to uncover it - in the true tradition of the Washington Post and Woodward and Bernstein! If you can't do it, can we get those guys on the story?

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | March 25, 2010 12:55 AM | Report abuse

If you cannot find a job just change your career, get a medical billing degree from your local school http://ow.ly/1ggKF

Posted by: danielpaul24 | March 25, 2010 1:02 AM | Report abuse

@ devilscapsgirl

there is definitely an nhl conspiracy working against the Caps. They only want either traditional market teams to win, or teams that feature Canadian stars. They are also in love with mediocrity and keeping transcendent offenses down cause there just isnt that amount of talent to go around the league.

also, so, we can all agree Backstrom is bette than both Toews and Kane, right? like, i still have some Kane love from the olympics, but Backstrom has surpassed both of them. So, F chicago and it's "stars"

Posted by: cotelloer | March 25, 2010 1:16 AM | Report abuse

butcherbaker, all the calls against the Caps were good ones. The high stick looked like it could have been a double minor instead of the single minor it was called as. But there were numerous no-calls against the Pens - at least a dozen. To be fair, I also saw 4 or 5 no-calls against the Caps. But my question is: when BMo is tripped in the first, Ovie is tripped in the 2nd, 3rd, and OT, and Flash trips a Pen the same way in the 2nd, why do they call it on Flash but not on the Pens?

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 25, 2010 1:22 AM | Report abuse

@timmyv38 -- Nah, the high stick was on a follow through, which more often than not won't get called.

Anyways, there's always non-calls on both sides, but you're right about all the trips. There were a couple pretty obvious interference penalties, too.

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 25, 2010 1:28 AM | Report abuse

"No don't try." As in, don't try to get him in trouble with the league. Power plays were 5 to 1 in favor of the Pens.

While I do think the calls against the Caps were deserved. The calls that could have been made against the Penqs were just as obvious and deserved. However, those calls were not made and I will not cry conspiracy but it is getting harder harder to deny that the refs give the Penqs preferential treatment.

That being said, the boys played a hell of a game. They scared me in the shoot out. When Crosby scored and Ovie was next, all I could think was, the sports media "lumping" this as a huge success for Crosby if Ovie didn't score. Well Ovie scored and then Semin scored, and then Knuble was up. I groaned when Knuble was up and my GF, who is a new caps fan, said "why are you crying, hes going to score!" and sure enough she was right!

KNUUUUUUUUUBLE!

Posted by: eorr | March 25, 2010 1:39 AM | Report abuse

Boudreau touched him on the shoulder just a minute before his final shot. "I doubt I'll ever have another chance to do that," Knuble said of his game-winner. "I told Bruce after the game, 'I don't like you when you do that.' "

"I just had a gut feeling," said the coach. "And that's a big gut."

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 25, 2010 2:00 AM | Report abuse

Knuble's head-fake was awesome! Even better watching it in slo-mo. Even better were MAF and Cindy's reactions afterward.

Posted by: AmyS1 | March 25, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Devorski was reffing. What else can you expect.

Posted by: MNMNT | March 25, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I thought the head hunting in the game by the Pens was a bit ridiculous following the Cooke fiasco. Orpik tries to spear BMo into the wall and he has to dive to miss it, later on in center ice a pens player went high-lining on Semin who defended himself from what could of been another headshot had semin stayed down, but also happened to catch his stick into the guys face.

Perhaps its just in a physical game there are some questionable hits....what? no. that can't be. every hit is clean, like Ovechkin's almost 1000 career hits everyone should be squeaky clean.../sarcasm.

Posted by: breaklance | March 25, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

The Capitals could clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference for the first time in club history with a win against Carolina and a New Jersey loss (in regulation or overtime/shootout) to the New York Rangers.

...Only because we hold the tie-breaker with the Sabres, owing to the fact we won 3 of 4 games. Otherwise, it'd take 3 points for either team.

Posted by: irockthered | March 25, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company