Monday, January 3, 2011

Game #40 Recap: The Winter Classic, Caps 3 Pittsburgh 1

In a game that lived up to all the hype, the two teams slugged it out in less than perfect conditions with the Capitals victorious by a 3-1 score. The first period saw both teams feeling out the other with great physicality. John Erskine and Mike Rupp engaged in an epic bought that saw the hay makers rain down on both guys. Erskine won the decision and the fight sparked the energy higher than I thought possible. The hits were were hard and in the second the teams adjusted to the changing conditions as the rain began to fall. In one of the few mistakes in the game, a bad line change by Washington led to an Evgeni Malkin breakaway goal to open the scoring. The Capitals responded on the power play that saw Mike Knuble do what he does best. Digging in front of the crease he shoveled home a lose puck to tie the game at 1-1. Later in the period, on a miscue from the Pens goalie Marcus Johansson found Eric Fehr all alone in front of the net. Fehr one-timed the pass into the goal to give the boys in the white jerseys the lead at 2-1. The rain came harder in the third and the Capitals continued to adjust and went to shut down mode. They allowed 9 shots in the period and nice transition play led to a breakaway for the Capitals. Eric Fehr was the recipient of the give and go pass from Jason Chimera and netted his second goal of the game with a wrist shot to the top shelf. The Caps held the Pens off the rest of the way and won by a 3-1 margin. Semyon Varlamov took the game's #1 star stopping 32 of 33 shots including 16 in the first period. It was another epic game for the Winter Classic and a great win for Washington.

Of Note:
  • Eric Fehr, the #2 star of the game, had 2 goals on 3 shots and contributed 2 blocked shots on the defensive end.
  • Washington as a team blocked 16 Pittsburgh shots and have averaged as many in their last 8 games. The team is 5-1-2 in those 8 games.
  • Marcus Johansson, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green, Jason Chimera and John Erskine each had 1 assist in the game.
  • The Penguins finished the game with no goals on 4 power play attempts. The Caps have not allowed a power play goal in their last 4 games and have allowed only 1 in the last 27 attempts.
  • Scott Hannan was +1, as was Jeff Schultz.
  • Alex Ovechkin led the Capitals with 6 shots on goal and had a goal disallowed for incidental contact with the goalie.
  • Karl Alzner and John Carlson the rookie defense pairing for the Caps played primarily against Pittsburgh's top line led all Caps in ice time and allowed no goals against, 3 hits and 2 blocked shots. Not a bad effort from the rookies.
Official Recap
Game Summary
Event Summary

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