A healthy scratch in Monday’s loss against the Stars, Tomas Fleischmann made quite the impact when he returned to the lineup in last night’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Banging home a ripping shot from the right circle in overtime, Flash scored the game-winner and brought the Caps within one game of clinching the Southeast Division.
The Caps had quite the list of scratches for last night’s contest, no thanks to the very full roster of talent now on hand as team prepares for the playoffs. Boudreau has been rotating players through the scratch list in a delicate juggling act to work in new players and keep the team as rested as possible for the playoff run a little over five weeks from now. “I don’t like doing it but as long as we can, we’ll keep rotating guys in and out of the lineup to keep them fresh and sharp,” commented Boudreau after the 4-3 OT win. “The players don’t like it, but they understand it. They know what the common goal is, so they’re doing it for the common goal.”
Jose Theodore knocked away 28 shots against a struggling Hurricane team that showed some fight in fits and starts. Defenseman Mike Green had two power play goals, increasing his season total (and league lead for defenseman) to 17. Alex Ovechkin added two assists in his points race and Alexander Semin opened the scoring with his 31st of the season on a great backhand shot, fed by Brendan Morrison.
It was a reunion of sorts on the ice as well; former Caps defenseman Brian Pothier was on the ice for the Canes, and former Canes Joe Corvo and Scott Walker suited up for the Caps. The players were exchanged in a last-minute trade deadline rush only a week ago.
The Capitals can clinch the Southeast Division with either a loss by Atlanta tonight or garnering a point in Friday’s home contest against the Tampa Bay Lightning.