Monday, February 7, 2011

Game #54 Recap: Caps 3 Pittsburgh 0

The Capitals continued their momentum from their Friday night victory in Tampa to Sunday when they shutout the Penguins by a 3-0 score. The win was predicated on good defense and some timely scoring. The Capitals took the lead in the second period when Brooks Laich stuffed home the puck under Marc-Andre Fleury from tight in front. For Laich it was his second goal in two games and his 11th on the year. From there the Capitals played deep in the Penguins end and did not allow their speedy forwards to get up the ice unimpeded. At the end of the first period the Caps lost their All-Star defeseman Mike Green when he took a slap shot to the side of the head. He was down on ice bleeding for some time and would not return to the game. Early in the second period it appeared that Washington had taken a two goal lead when Mike Knuble put the puck in the net. The referees determined that Matt Hendricks had committed goalie interference after he was checked from behind by a Pens defender. Not to worry as the Caps killed off the penalty and extended the lead with a Marcus Johansson shorthanded goal. Johansson made a sweet backhand shot as David Steckel went to the net creating a distraction for Fleury who didn't pick up the puck until it was too late. From there the Caps played solid defense allowing the Penguins only 7 shots on goal in the third period. Steckel was called on to fight AHL call up Tim Wallace in some apparent retribution for his Penguin perceived dirty hit to Sidney Crosby in the Winter Classic. Steckel held his own and everything seemed to be done when Matt Cooke of the Penguins deliberately kneed Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin did return to the game but not before Cooke declined Matt Bradley's invitation to settle matters with some fists. Of course this is Cooke's M.O. He acts irresponsible and will not account for it no matter the situation. So Caps, take a note and remember that play for the next game. As for this one, the scoring was finished off when Hendricks fed Knuble for an empty net goal. The now get ready to face the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.

Of Note:
  • Michal Neuvirth was in net for the first time in 7 games and stopped all 22 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season.
  • The Capitals out shot the Pens 24 to 22 and out blocked the Pens 18 to 15. 
  • The penalty kill continued its good play stopping both Penguin power plays but the Caps power play went 0 for 4.
  • Marcus Johansson's goal was the first shorty on his career.
  • John Erskine, Jeff Schultz, Mattieu Perrault, and Matt Hendricks each had 1 assist.
  • The game-winner by Brooks Laich was the 15th of his career.
  • Hendricks and Nicklas Backstrom led the Caps with 3 blocked shots each.
  • Backstrom led the Capitals in the face-off dot winning 14 of 17 draws. The team dominated winning 32 and losing 17.
Official Recap
Game Summary
Event Summary

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