One night removed from an anemic, although victorious, effort against the Devils in Newark, the Capitals got a chance for a do-over, on the second half of a home-and-home back-to-back Saturday night at Verizon Center. This game had the potential to be a trap for a tired, injury-plagued Caps team, and the Caps were caught in it after another incomplete effort.
Six minutes in to the first period, new acquisition Troy Brouwer intercepted an attempted pass from the Devils Center Adam Henrique between the circles in the Devils zone, then deked Johan Hedberg and stashed the puck top shelf to give the Caps their first lead of the game. The Caps expanded their lead to two as the first period drew to a close. As a minor penalty on the Devils for tripping expired, young Swede Marcus Johansson fed defenseman John Carlson a nifty pass that Carlson screamed on net, and Jason Chimera, camped out in front of the net, tipped past Hedberg for his sixth goal of the season.
The Devils took advantage of an incredibly sloppy second period from the Caps and tied the game at two on goals from Petr Sykora and Ryan Carter. The Sykora goal brought the score to 2-1 and came after the Devils cleanly won a draw in the offensive zone and got the puck to Sykora, who was uncovered.
After an uninteresting third period, the Devils beat the Caps 2-1 in the shootout.
Brooks Laich played the game as a defenseman, paired with Roman Hamrlik, after Mike Green and John Erskine were held out of the game with injuries, leaving the Caps short a defender
Alexander Semin took yet another offensive zone penalty early in the first to nullify a Capitals power play (his team-leading 22nd PIM) and was benched for several shifts as a result. One can only hope he is on a very short leash.
Verizon Center was notably quieter than usual, strange for a Saturday night. The game was also not announced as a sellout and there was a noticeable number of empty seats – perhaps a commentary on the off-season price increase?
Although the Caps came out hard in the first period, their fatigue clearly showed in the following periods.