Tomas Vokoun Makes a Pad Save
courtesy of clydeorama
The Caps scored early and often and rode a hot goaltender to a 4-0 win over the Florida Panthers last night at Verizon Center. With the win, the Caps vaulted past the Panthers into first place in the Southeast Division and a spot in the playoffs. Alex Ovechkin scored twice and Tomas Vokoun stopped 42 shots for his fourth shutout of the season.
The fans were barely in their seats when the Caps lit the red light for an early lead. Jason Chimera dug the puck out of the corner and fed a pass to Matthieu Perreault who slid the puck under Panthers’ goalie Scott Clemmensen just 13 seconds into the game. Continue reading
Mathieu Perreault notched a goal and an assist.
courtesy of ‘bridgetds’
For the second straight game, the Washington Capitals failed to hold a lead and lost in a shootout, this time to the Montreal Canadiens, 3-2, last night at Verizon Center. Canadiens’ captain Brian Gionta scored two second-period goals as well as the lone shootout goal to win it for the Habs. The Caps have lost the last eight times when the game goes to overtime or a shootout.
On a night when Washington saluted former Capitals’ feisty scoring star Dino Ciccarelli, the Caps looked like they wanted to start where Dino left off 19 years ago. Washington came out with blazing hot sticks, shooting the puck and crashing the net. The defense was jumping into the action, and the Caps looked like the explosive offensive team of last season. Unfortunately, the Montreal Canadiens looked like the team that eliminated the Caps from the playoffs last year, too. The combination of suffocating defense and opportunistic offense paid off again for the Canadiens. Continue reading
Okay Caps fans, you may now exhale.
Thanks to Mathieu Perreault and a herculean second period effort, the Caps finally killed the streak monkey on their backs, defeating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 yesterday at Scotiabank Place.
Perreault opened and closed the Caps’ second period surge, scoring 34 seconds into the second frame. Eric Fehr backhanded the puck in less than a minute later, putting the Caps back into the game. They were down 2-0 coming into the period. Perreault then wristed in the game winner five minutes later.
The team survived a last-minute flurry by the Senators and then, as the game ended, they mobbed the ice and goalie Michal Neuvirth, who managed to knock away 24 shots on the night. “We felt like we won a championship,” said Perreault. “We needed that win so much for our confidence and just for the team. That was a huge win for us.” The two-goal effort was Perreault’s second multi-goal game since his recall from Hershey.
The Caps not only knocked out the streak that has netted only 11 goals in their 0-6-2 stretch, but also reclaimed the lead in the Southeast Division from Atlanta. The Thrashers used the Caps’ misfiring to gain ground and slipped ahead after the Caps lost to Boston on Saturday. The division race, once thought to be a runaway Caps win, is now neck-and-neck, with the Caps, Thrashers, and Lightning all one point from each other.
The streak’s end probably came at the best time possible. The Caps face a tanking New Jersey team tomorrow and then the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday for a quick home stand before the holidays.
It was almost a picture-perfect ending. Call-up Mathieu Perreault was having the game of his relatively short career as a Cap, the team was up 4-1 going into the third, and it looked as if the Caps were about to wipe out the bad taste of losing to the Thrashers and Stars over the last few days.
Then it all fell apart.
A three-goal third shifted the momentum to the Leafs and the pressure built as the clock ticked down. Goals by Tim Brent and Clarke MacArthur came in the last 2:30, dismantling a well-constructed lead by the home team. “Washington got a little sloppy toward the end,” Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. “I think they thought the game was over but we kept on playing and took advantage of some of their miscues in their end.”
Goalie Michal Neuvirth staved off the Leafs in overtime and both he and the Leafs’ Jonas Gustavsson stood strong in the shootout, coming down to Toronto’s Mikhail Grabovski, who snapped a backhand shot behind Neuvirth. Last night’s shootout win was the second in a row for the Leafs.
For much of the game, it looked to be the Mathieu Perreault show. Deflecting in a point shot from defenseman Tom Poti, who himself notched three assists on the night, Perreault was a bundle of energy on the ice from end to end. His second goal came as he skated in alone near the left circle and took in a tight Brooks Laich pass, pulled and hesitated just long enough to force Gustavsson to commit, then ripped it past the Leafs’ goalie. Any time Perreault touched the puck in the third period and beyond, the crowd got excited, expecting to celebrate yet another hat trick. Alas, it wasn’t to be.