Sidney Crosby puts Caps away with shootout goal
The Caps had a chance to sweep the season series against Pittsburgh for the first time in franchise history, but came up a little short yesterday at the Verizon Center. Alexander Semin continues to dominate after increasing his goal-streak to 6 games.
After falling 3-1 going into the 3rd period, the Caps finally showed some heart, and tied the game up early in the period. Both goals were scored within 1:18 into the 3rd stanza by Alex Ovechkin and Brooks Laich. Ovechkin notched his 47th goal of the season with a shot from the point and a redirection off Sergei Gonchar in front of the net. He also passed Nicklas Backstrom for the league-lead in powerplay points with 35 with the goal. On the next shift Laich got a nice feed from Mike Green to send him on a breakaway. Brooksy fumbled the puck a little bit but made a nice move to put the puck past Marc-Andre Fleury.
Both teams were given a 4 on 3 opportunity earlier in the game, but the Pens were the only squad to capitalize. Ovechkin told the Post’s Tarik El-Bashir about the 4 on 3 situation…
“We play well for sure but we didn’t score 4-on-3 in first period. It was a kind of situation like we never played before,” said Ovechkin. “That situation we have to score. It was a big chance for us.”
It did prove to be a huge difference in the reason for the Caps being down 3-1 going into the third. But right before the end of the 2nd period Tom Poti received a nice pass from Ovie in the slot. He rang it off the post, but gave the Caps a little bit of a boost going into the locker room.
After back-to-back goals, the Caps started to show some passion for the first time in a while. The defensive breakdowns we have seen in the past couple games were minimalized, and they started to move their feet more to create some good opportunities.
The shootout saw only one goal by Crosby as Semin and Ovie were stonewalled by Fleury. Crosby made a nice forehand to backhand move to get Jose Theodore moving and brought the puck back to his forehand to go bardown. Ovechkin had the game on his stick with the next shot, and tried to slide the puck under Fleury’s pad. He got the paddle of his stick down to stop Ovie and get the Pens their 6th strait win.
Despite only getting one point in their last 4 games (all home games), the Caps feel they’re back on track. There is only 4 points separating 5th place from 10th place in the East. The last 15 games of the season will be a huge test for Washington, and 10 of those games will be on the road. Mike Green told the Post he’s excited for the change in venue…
“I want to get into the white jerseys,” Green said. “We’ve been in the red ones for a while now. White ones are lucky.”
It’s hard to pull positives out of a loss, but at this point it’s the best thing the Caps can do right now. They have to get back to the swagger they used to have if they want to hold onto their division lead. Florida is 10 points behind the Caps right now, and are 6-4-0 in their last 10 games.
However, Bruce Bouderau is trying to keep his team positive and look at the loss in a different perspective…
“I thought we had a great third period and played a good game,” said Boudreau to the Washington Times. “It was a great hockey game. To me it is a 3-3 tie because you know coaches just hate shootouts when you lose. … I think you have to take stock and not get too depressed with this. This was an uplifting game for us – by far our best in the last four.”
* Sidney Crosby *
** Bill Guerin **
*** Brooks Laich ***