Sunday, January 23, 2011

Game #49 Recap: Caps 4 Toronto 1

For the first time since October 30th, Alex Ovechkin had a multi-point game. And for the first time since December 21st, the Capitals scored more than 3 goals in a game. Ovechkin completed the 10th hat trick of his career and Matt Hendricks scored a breakaway goal with an unbelievable finish to give the Caps a 2-0-1 record on the three game road trip. The Caps got on the board in the first period when Jeff Schultz fired a slap shot from the point and Ovechkin tipped the shot in front of the Toronto net minder. The Caps were held in the game with superb play from rookie goaltender Braden Holtby. The 21-year old stopped several odd man rushes and made a spectacular glove save to win his second consecutive start. Washington and Toronto played scorless in the second period but the Caps took a two goal lead at the beginning of the third when Ovechkin gathered a rebound at the top of the crease and put the puck under the goalie for a two goal lead. The lead was cut in half a little over a minute later when Toronto got a point drive deflection in front. The puck changed direction and Holtby couldn't react in time. Washington got their two goal cushion back as Matt Hendricks stole the puck at the Capitals blue line and raced in all alone. Hendricks faked a shot, then deked  the goalie out of his jock strap and then placed the puck deftly into the net. The Caps then put up the defensive front and stifled the leafs the rest of the way. Toronto tried to get close by pulling the goalie with over two minute remaining but the Capitals held firm and got the final goal when Ovechkin finished the hat trick into an empty net.The Caps head back home for a rematch with the New York Rangers who beat the Caps 7-0 the last time the two teams met.

Of Note:
  • The Capitals killed off all 3 Toronto plays and have allowed only 1 power play goal against in the last 5 games. The Washington power play is still sputtering going 0 for 2 in the contest.
  • Braden Holtby took the #1 Star honors with 34 saves on 35 shots and really frustrating the Leaf shooters.
  • The Capitals blocked a season high 27 shots. Mike Green and John Erskine lead the team with 4 each. Alex Ovechkin tyed a career high with 3 blocked shots including laying out in front of Dione Phaneuf in the closing minutes of the game.
  • The defensive tandem of Green and Jeff Schultz did pretty well on the night with 1 assist and a +3 rating each.
  • Nicklas Backstrom had assists on two of the Ovechkin goals and Jason Chimera and John Carlson each had 1 assist.
  • Interesting note: the Capitals as a team are shooting at 8.8% which is the second lowest in team history. In the 1998-1999 season the team shot a franchise low 8.4% and even in their inaugural year when the won just 8 games, they still shot 9.8%.
  • The Capitals remain 1 standings point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for the Southeast Division lead.
Official Recap
Game Summary
Event Summary

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