Yes, it happened. For the first time in over two weeks, the Washington Capitals had a higher number on the scoreboard than their opponent. Think about all of the things that have happened since the Capitals last won (there isn’t enough space and attention span to write it out, so log onto CNN.com AFTER you read this). Despite finding themselves down by two goals after the first period in what seemed like familiar territory, the Capitals struck back with three goals in 6:55 to defeat the Ottawa Senators 3-2. As Joe B. said two years ago after the Caps erased a 4-0 deficit to defeat the New York Rangers, “the comeback comes complete.” And the streak is over.
- Mathieu Perreault: Flu-infected, outpatient, hero. One night after becoming a late scratch, Perreault rose to the occasion, netting two huge goals, the first giving the Caps life and the second giving the Caps the lead. MP85 did the “Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Perreault-bot” all night long and provided the spark that got Washington off its schnide. If Matty P doesn’t become a fixture in D.C. now, may G_d have mercy on your souls.
- The Capitals once again outshot their opponents (34-26 Sunday), but the difference between Sunday’s game and the last two weeks was where the shots were coming from. Shots weren’t just thrown in from the point. The Caps crashed the net, got into the dirty areas and cycled the puck until the opportunity for a scoring chance presented itself. None of the goals were pretty; all three came on broken plays in front of the crease. Even Alex Ovechkin’s distinct kicking motion was in grind-’em-out fashion. Remembering the basics helped tonight.
- Not everything, however, is clicking. The Capitals had three power play chances after Perreault’s go-ahead goal, but could not put Ottawa away. Despite getting a goal with the man advantage, the Caps are now 4-of-45 since the Dallas game that started the losing skid. The Kings Of Leonsis patented “Killer Instinct” poked its head out, but still hasn’t fully come out from its hole yet.
- While Perreault was the catalyst for the win, Eric Fehr had a goal sandwiched in between MP85’s pair. Fehr played well with Alex Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom, would have had an assist on Ovechkin’s kick-in had it not, you know, been kicked in. Fehr, who had a team high seven SOG, almost scored twice; his buzzer beater at the end of the first just missed the horn. Both Fehr and Perreault are guys who need to light the lamp when the scorers aren’t cutting it. Perrault’s positioning around the net is a big plus and Fehr is one of the players who chucks pucks into the crease and grinds out goals. He hasn’t been all the Caps were hoping for since he re-upped with the team this offseason, but he’s a guy who can sneak goals in when the team can’t find any answers from their stars.
- John Carlson looked very comfortable on the ice tonight. He joined the rush at all the right times and his defensive stickwork was excellent. Only Nicklas Backstrom has more shifts (29) than Carlson (27).
- Mike Green, on the other hand, was responsible for the second Ottawa goal. He allowed Chris Kelly to get inside position in front of Michal Neuvirth and watched him pot the Senators second goal of the game. Green failed to move his feet and put a body on Kelly camping out in front, leaving the Caps in a 2-0 hole.
- The Caps certainly were excited to win as they mobbed Neuvirth after the game like they had won a playoff series. Hamming it up for HBO? Maybe, but they won for the first time in two weeks, so we’ll let it slide. Hell, who wouldn’t want to give Bruce Boudreau a chest-bump?
Let us rejoice that the Capitals are winners again, but let us also not lose sight of the fact that there are many games to be played. The New Jersey Devils, who more or less embarrassed the Capitals last time they met, are in Washington on Tuesday. No one needs to be reminded of what happens Thursday. As the British say, “keep calm and carry on.” But really, if the Capitals beat the Penguins Thursday, let’s lose our f*cking minds.