The first 50 minutes of the Capitals game against the Phoenix Coyotes seemed like a typical Capitals game this season. They played well at times, but as a result of what Brooks Laich called “gifted goals,” they found themselves down 2 to nothing. The home crowd was quiet. Karl Alzner said the team was “feeling sorry for” themselves.
And then…Alzner, who had scored only one goal all season, shoots a weak shot from the blue line. Phoenix goalie Mike Smith was screened by his own player, Keith Yendel, and inexplicably lets the puck go over his right shoulder for a fluky goal. And then…32 seconds later, before the arena announcer could even give credit to Alzner for the goal, Jason Chimera passes along the red line, passed Smith, giving Brooks Laich an open shot for the tying goal.
And then…the crowd goes wild. The arena decibel reader, which was reading decibels in the 80s all game shot twenty dBs higher to the mid and upper 100s. “We were definitely riding a big high after that” Alzner said after the game.
The Capitals took advantage of the momentum. Less than five minutes later on the power play, Troy Brouwer went back door looking for a pass from Nicklas Backstrom. Instead, Backstrom shot and Brouwer put the rebound in for the game winning goal.
The team seemed tempered with the win, however. On the one hand, it was a “huge comeback” and a “huge two points” according to Alex Ovechkin. “We needed this win,” said Laich.
However, the team “can’t get too far ahead of” themselves explained Brower. We can’t have “unaccepted starts.”
Brower was referring to the first period. Ovechkin seemed like the only Capital playing. Four shots and five hits. In fact, no other Capital had more than one shot or two hits.
What made matters worse, after 19 minutes of scoreless hockey, on a confused line change, Ryan Stoa had trouble getting off the ice. The puck hit him in the leg and was picked up by Brandon McMillan. Mike Green turned the wrong way, and McMillan beat goalie Jaroslav Halak for his first goal of the season.
The Capitals are now one point out of the last wild card spot, behind both Detroit and Columbus (one point each).