Who Else? – Ovechkin Lifts Caps in OT

Post-game NHL write-ups of are supposed to convey the excitement of hockey and highlight all the amazing things that transpired on the ice. For the first 55 minutes, tonight’s game between the Washington Capitals and Ottawa Senators was as pedestrian and unremarkable as they come.

However, Alexander Ovechkin saved what was otherwise a very ordinary regular season game by lighting the lamp in overtime to steal a 3-2 win for the Capitals and send the crowd home happy.

Otherwise, it was a choppy affair riddled with offsides calls, over-sensitive officiating and missed assignments by both teams. Maybe it was all the sink holes in the early-season ice at Verizon Center (I swear it’s only a matter of time before a zamboni gets stuck in one of the potholes, and Ted Leonsis will still claim it’s smooth as silk).

Neither the home team, nor it’s fans, seemed to wake up until the Unleash the Fury video played on the big screen with three minutes remaining in the third period. By then the Senators had done more than enough to force the game into overtime and come away with a well-deserved point.

Let’s give credit where it’s due, the Senators played a perfect road game against the highly skilled attack of the Capitals. They muddied up the neutral zone and patiently waited for turnovers which they used to generate scoring chances. The Capitals simply looked frustrated with their inability to connect on timing passes or build up any speed on the attack.

But having a player like Alex Ovechkin can help gloss over a lot of mistakes, and in the end the Capitals will gladly take the two points.

Observations from the Caps special teams and blue-liners

The new-look Capitals penalty-kill had another perfect night, going 5-for-5 and has now successfully killed off all 12 power plays this season. Yes, it’s early. But it appears Bruce Boudreau is committed to utilizing his fast-skating forwards in a more in-your-face scheme this season, and why not?

This is one of the fastest teams teams in the league with one of the most aggressive even-strength systems, so it makes sense that the penalty kill should pressure the point men instead of sitting back. On that note, how did it take this long to unleash Jason Chimera on the PK? He’s a short-handed scoring threat every time he’s near the puck.

On the flipside, remember when the Capitals’ power play was awesome? Yeah…it’s been a while. Tonight the unit looked out of sync again and worst of all Mike Green was on the ice for basically every 5-on-4 shift. It’s a safe bet that one of those trends won’t continue, but the other depends on John Carlson getting anything more than garbage time on the power play. I’m not liking those odds.

In fact, Green logged a staggering 31:53 minutes of ice time, far eclipsing that of next closest Caps defenseman in Carlson,who was on the ice for 21:49. Granted, the Caps were without Tom Poti who typically shares the load, but there’s no reason anyone should be on the ice that much in game three of the regular season.

Ottawa’s goal to tie the game at 2-2 was a prime example of why big hits are overrated. John Erskine put himself out of position by going for the huge, crowd-pleasing shoulder check on Peter Regin, who calmly dished it to Ryan Shannon for the second Ottawa goal. Carlson, who was covering Shannon, didn’t come out of the play smelling like roses either.

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  1. Senators Struggling out of the Gate | INSIDE HOCKEY - October 13, 2010

    [...] the Senators played in Washington. They were able to take the game to overtime, where they lost on Alex Ovechkin’s game-winner. Ryan Shannon and Jarkko Ruutu scored the Sens goals in the losing effort. It’s great to [...]