“I feel great about the fact that we played tremendous the first two periods, so I am not going to try to spin any negatives on this. This is a great team and we shut them down with 11 or 12 shots in two periods.” -- Coach Bruce Boudreau
THE RESULT: The Washington Capitals played their best second period of the season in front of the 67th consecutive sellout crowd at Verizon Center on Friday night. Caps won 5-3 over Boston Bruins.
The Caps have already played the Bruins four times prior to Friday's game. Caps took the wins in both pre-season games and Bruins won the regular season games 3-1 and 4-1. Both teams looked very different from that last two games.
The Caps defense was strong throughout all of their lines and having a healthy Mike Green back has made a world of difference. Coach Boudreau expressed the value of Green back on the ice in his post-game presser. “He’s the best offensive defenseman in the NHL, which means he is probably the best one in the world. When you don’t have him, it’s a detriment - when you do have him, it’s a real bonus.”
Caps first goal of the game was scored by Defenseman Tyler Sloan, just one day shy of a year from his last goal. Sloan's slapshot was his first ever goal at Verizon Center and the fourth of his NHL career. Three of them have come in November. "Yeah, I was excited. I haven't scored at Verizon [Center] yet. It was a great experience and it just happened to chip in tonight."
Sloan was part of the stellar defense tonight. “I thought the first was okay, it wasn’t great. But the second was tremendous; we just got to find a way to do a better job in the third period and continue to play like we do in the second period. We will learn, we will figure it out. I think everybody was happy overall with the whole effort tonight.”
Mike Green scored the second goal - a wrist shot with assists from Ovechkin and Backstrom.
Alex Semin continued his hot streak with a BEAUTIFUL shorthanded goal in the second period. He ended up sliding on his belly on the ice, pounded the ice with his fist and smile from ear to ear. When asked about Semin's raised leverl of emotion after scoring, Boudreau said, "He's getting Americanized." (with laughter). "He loves to win. He loves to play."
The Caps were up 3-0 after two periods and Washington was clearly dominating the puck. The Bruins pulled goalie Tim Thomas and replaced him with Tuukka Rask. Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien wanted to change the momentum of the game. "I understand," Thomas said. "Coach came and talked to me after the second period and told me what his thoughts were. And I said I understand and I agree."
Julien's strategy was working and all of a sudden the Bruins scored three unanswered goals and tied the Caps at three. Bourdreau didn't think that Neuvirth looked good on the second and third goals. "He might be a little tired. He's not used to playing under this kind of pressure."
So with about ten minutes remaining in a tie game against a tough team, Braden Holtby made his NHL debut. It was a moment Holtby had thought about for twenty-one years. “Yeah, it’s pretty amazing. I was pretty shocked when [Coach] Bruce [Boudreau] told me, but it was kind of cool to go into a tight game. Definitely got the heart pumping, but [I’m] glad Johnny [John Carlson] could pull out a big shot for us and get the win.”
Holtby turned away all four shots he faced in the third period and was credited with the win. Holtby also received the hardhat after the game.
John Carlson got the game-winning goal with assists by Eric Fehr and Boyd Gordon and Alex Ovechkin got the empty-netter with :58 seconds left in the game.
Mike Green expressed his thoughts on coach Bruce Boudreau making the goalie change. “I think so, yeah [he was trying to send a wake-up call to the whole team]. Maybe he was looking at what happen with them [Boston], they pulled their goalie and they were getting goals right away so, maybe he had a feeling or what not. It worked.”
Click here to see photos of pre-game warmups.
- Ovechkin extended his points streak to five games (4 goals, 5 assists).
- Washington outshot Boston 39-18.
- Washington became the first team this season to score three goals on Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas.
- NEXT GAME: Sunday, November 7, 2010 at 5pm at Verizon Center hosting Philadelphia Flyers