the Caps trail Columbus by 6 points and have 3 games left—not goping to happen. Get out the golf clubs Ovie.
When a puck is making its way slowly toward an empty net, threatening to stop on the snow that has accumulated in the crease before it crosses the goal line, most players would swat the puck in the cage themselves. Nicklas Backstrom isn’t like most players.
Late in the Capitals game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday at Verizon Center Troy Brouwer banked the puck off the boards to clear it out of the defensive zone.
As the puck caromed through the neutral zone and toward the empty net, Backstrom had raced in front of Toronto defensemen Dion Phaneuf and Morgan Rielly in pursuit.
But rather than tap the puck in himself for what would have been his 14th goal of the year, Backstrom simply shielded it from the Maple Leafs so that when it did cross the line to wrap up a 4-2 Capitals’ win it would also stand as Troy Brouwer’s 20th goal of the year.
“That was the best, most unselfish play I’ve ever seen in my entire hockey career and it just sums up – I’ve already tweeted it I’m so happy about it ,” Karl Alzner told reporters in Washington after the game. “It is the best move a person can do and that I’ve ever seen. That just sums up the type of person he is.”
Said Coach Adam Oates: “That’s a very unselfish thing. He’s smart enough he probably knows he didn’t have the assist on it either, so he doesn’t get a point. Which we all know that too. Just a fantastic thing. That’s who he is.”
from the Washington Post
Some comments after the Caps win their 2nd game without Ovie
The Caps are 13-8-2 in games played without #8–interesting
Nicholas Backstrom scored the clinching shootout goal
Coach Adam Oates commented on the absence of Ovie– “You’re still patching the dike in a sense. You don’t want to lose anybody, let alone your star,” Oates said. “It proves your team is still a solid hockey team.”
Neuvirth had 32 saves and basically saved the Caps who were not as sharp as on Friday night
Former Cap Tomas Fleischmann tied the game on a power play which ended a streak of 35 power play kills for Washington
Next up for the Caps —Tuesday night at Verizon against the Isles
1st Period Summary
Caps got off to a horrible start with some lackadaisical defensive play, as Brian Boyle scored 53 seconds into the game. From that point on the Caps won all the fights but the Rangers had all the scoring chances. Braden Holtby made several acrobatic saves especially on the Rangers’ 2 power plays. In the closing minute Ranger goalie Henrik Lundqvist stopped Backstrom point blank. 1 zip Rangers in this crucial 5th game.
2nd Period Summary
Where is Ovie? Mike Ribeiro missed 2 scoring chances but suckered Brian Boyle into a slashing penalty. A few seconds into the power play Joel Ward scored in front of the cage on a feed from Backstrom to knot the game at 1. Tonight is Tom Wison’s 1st NHL game – pretty unusual. Strong energy. The Rangers failed to score on 2 more power plays making them 0-4 for the night. 1-1 after 2.
Matthieu Perreault gets jack hammered into the boards by Del Zotto but the Caps fail to capitalize on the power play. The caps continue to apply the pressure– 13:46 left. At the 9 minute mark Unleash the Fury reigns down on the Verizon Center. With so much on the line cautious play has creeped in. The Caps continue to try for the perfect play but its just not happening. Holtby makes a few saves after a loose pass by Joel Ward almost cost the Caps. 2 minutes left in regulation. Going to Overtime. This isn’t what the Caps wanted.
Tremendous 10 minute stretch including a combined 14 shot on goal with several near misses. Mike Ribeiro ended the game when he scored his 1st goal of the series. Caps go up 3-2 with game 6 in New York on Sunday.
There’s been enough said about the playoff history of the Washington Capitals. But I do believe this team is different—maybe. The Caps won the division and thus earned the home playoff advantage. Game 5 tonight hopefully will create a result that takes advantage of the home edge. Ovie and Rebeir0 were somewhat quiet in New York although 3 goals should always be enough to win a playoff game. I look for that to change tonight. Both have been spectacular at home. My crystal ball says Caps 4 Rangers 2 at Verizon.
Who would have thought it could happen when the Caps were 2-8. Putting together a 10-1 April streak did the job for Washington. As Alex Ovechkin scored his 13th goal in April the Caps finished off the Jets. The guys bought into Adam Oates’ system and it totally paid off.
“I remember 20 games ago looking at the schedule,” said Mathieu Perreault, one of five Capitals to score a goal Tuesday. “Like, ‘Man, we’re probably going to have to go 16-4 to get in’ — and basically did it. It almost looked impossible if you look back 20 games, but this team has got so much character, and they found a way to do it.”
“We had a lousy start,” Oates said. “And I don’t think many of us thought we would come this far. But we obviously put some really good hockey together, and the guys have grown and it’s obviously a good feeling right now.”
Braden Holtby made but one mistake tonight and it was costly. With the score knotted at 1, Holtby (who compiled 35 saves) made a bad pass from behind the net which landed right on the stick of Conacher, who easily made it 2-1 on the turnover.
“I got a little rushed with the pressure on me,” said Holtby. “I had to make a blind pass and didn’t execute it.”
The Caps clearly came out flat night after 2 emotional home wins, and paid the price. Their lead over Winnipeg has shrunk to just 2 points. Ovie was held in check tonight. #9 Mike Ribeiro scored the lone goal for Washington.The final minutes saw few tieing chance and eventually the Caps were closed out by an empty net goal.
So it’s off to Montreal on Saturday night before the Caps return to Verizon for what will surely be the biggest game of the year against Winnipeg. Though the defeat hurt, I still like the Caps chances.