Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images
The Caps kick a sleepy start into high gear with a late goal-scoring burst
The Washington Capitals had a Saturday heavyweight fight against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampa may not be on top of the standings like they usually are, but their offense is still all sorts of potent, ranking second in both goals per game and on the powerplay. But the Capitals aren’t too far behind ranking third in goals per game and fifth on the powerplay.
It was a fun game, going back and forth but the Capitals came through with strong goaltending, depth scoring, and great penalty kill for a win 5-2.
Plus: Each line had an even strength goal, which is always a good sign. It’s hard to win without depth scoring.
Minus: The penalties. The Capitals had one job going into this game it was not give one of the league best power play teams chances. They failed, taking five penalties but luckily only allowed one goal against.
And now, this:
More notes on the game:
– Ilya Samsonov came up early with a couple grade A saves that kept the Capitals above water. The fourth line then came in with a very strong shift that hemmed Tampa in their own zone, which allowed Alexander Ovechkin to force a turnover that gave a gift to Nicklas Backstrom, who add a goal to his point streak (seven points to six games).
– Speaking of the fourth line, as of now, is there a better fourth line in the NHL? They are fast, tough as nails, and can chip in on the scoring. In 100 minutes they have an astounding 69.16xGF%.
– But let’s get back to Samsonov. He made an amazing stretched arm save on the goal line that hit the post and popped out. He was absolutely stellar in the first period and the reason the Capitals entered the second period with a 1-0 lead.
– As stated, the one thing the Capitals really needed more than anything this game was to not take any penalties, but especially unneeded ones. The usual reliable Backstrom took a delay of game penalty that resulted in a Brayden Point slam dunk goal.
– There was a brutal shift late in the second period where the Capitals were stuck in their own zone for at least two minutes. Though it looked bad the Capitals didn’t allow much from in close. Soon after the Capitals took yet ANOTHER penalty, but were able to kill it and able to go into the third period tied 1-1.
– Dmitry Orlov has been amazing all season, quietly so, but he made a great neutral zone play to start a chance going into the offensive zone that led to Richar Panik’s assist (first as a Capital) to Lars Eller for a slapper goal that fluttered in.
– Soon after, the fourth line, who had a beast shift right before the Capitals first goal, scored a beauty that required Garnett Hathaway to go forehand backhand that tricked through Andrei Vasilevskiy. Like it was stated earlier: they are the best fourth line in the NHL.
– The first line did not have a good night and they allowed Tampa’s second goal with some lazy defensive play. Luckily, TJ Oshie scored soon after with a beauty of a wrap around goal.
– The Capitals ended up winning after a Tom Wilson empty netter. That was their sixth 5-2 win of the season and they lost two others at that score. That’s your useless interesting fact of the day.
So the dads and mentors have been good luck so far, getting a bird’s-eye view of a great first win by their boys in Tampa.
Now on to Columbus for a little revenge.