GAME 39 RE-CAP: Caps Shut Down Habs

Posted by Cheryl Nichols | Wednesday, December 29, 2010 | , , , , , , , , | 0 comments »

THE RESULT:  The Washington Capitals shut out the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 in their last game on the 2010 calendar and last home game filmed by HBO.

The Caps faced the Habs on Tuesday night for the first time since the devastating loss in game seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the spring 2010. 

Many of the Caps took this game to heart. "We've had these guys marked on our calendar for a while" said Mike Green after the win. "They [Canadiens] broke our hearts last summer and we all had to live it with it through two to three months and we don't forget that."

This was just one of eighty-two regulation games for the season, however, one Caps player got an opportunity for redemption and played like it was the playoffs.  Semyon Varlamov was the goaltender in game seven losing by one goal and on Tuesday night, completely shut down the Habs.  It appears as though Varly may have earned a start at the Winter Classic.  It should be noted that Jaroslav Halak is now playing for the St. Louis Blues and Varly beat Halak earlier in December.

Defense was key to the Caps win.  It was no coincidence that Jeff Schultz returned to the ice the same night that the Caps get a shutout.  Schultz broke his finger on December 6 and has been working very hard to get back on the ice. He doesn't want to miss the Winter Classic and his defensive skills were greatly missed.  Welcome back Mr. Nasty.  “We missed him. He’s so consistent. He hasn’t played in however many games and he comes back and he’s solid just like he always is" said teammate Mike Green. "You have to admire that.” 

Kudos to all of the recent call-ups from Hershey.  Jay Beagle played in his seventh game since being recalled from Hershey. "There's a guy who is making a great case to stay here." Coach Boudreau continued, "It's his fourth year professionally (his first in the NHL), and his work ethic is second to none."

Beagle scored his second goal of the season and the first of the night in the first period.  “I throw a lot of backhand, but I don’t think shelf like that." Beagle said of his "Ovechkin-esque" goal. "I knew that [Carey] Price was a big goalie and I just wanted to put it on net and try to get it up." "I’m trying to [make an impact in the NHL]. I’m working hard. When you work hard, good things are going to happen. It’s fun playing with Chimmer [Jason Chimera] and Fehrsie [Eric Fehr]. They make it easy."

Check out Beagle's pretty goal at around 50 seconds.

Caps recalled Keith Aucoin from Hershey to take Marcus Johansson's spot.  After the game, Andrew Gordon tweeted that he was heading back to AHL. He has played well for the Caps and will hopefully get callled up again soon.

Photos 2010 © Cheryl Nichols Photography/
Caps News Network. All Rights Reserved.

The Caps continued their strong play on the penalty kill, killing all five penalties.  The same cannot be said about the 0-for-8 Power Play.  Coach Boudreau said in post-game presser, "They’re doing really well [on the penalty kill]. I think the power play is a little different – we are not scoring goals, but we must have had seven or eight really good chances.”

It should be mentioned that the Caps dominated in face-off 36 to16. Nicklas Backstrom may not be scoring goals, however, he won 10 out of 12 of his face-offs and David Steckel went 15-for-22.

The win gives the Caps 49 points (22-12-5) through 39 games to take over first in the Southeast Division and second in the Eastern Conference behind Pittsburgh. "We played a solid game," Green said, "We played our system to a tee and when we do that, we're usually sucessful no matter who we play."

"It was more important for us to protect the lead and not be too aggressive and play a solid game. And we did that tonight," said Mike Green.

It was a solid effort for the Caps and they should be ready for the weekend in Pittsburgh. Mike Green spoke about the momentum building for this weekend's Winter Classic, "Yep, yep, but we can't get too high now, we have to feel like we have over the last week where we keep building and building and building."

When Coach Boudreau was questioned about Winter Classic roster decisions, he said, "There's a lot of guys trying to make their case and I am trying to not think about playing somebody just because he is who he is. I am just going to put the best lineup that there is to win that night."  Is Bruce excited about the Winter Classic? "I just want to get it over with and I hope it doesn't rain." 

THE GOOD: Jay Beagle. Congrats on his first hard hat!

THE BAD: Habs' P.K. Subban. He tried very hard to get into a fight, however, the Caps didn't bite. He was after Chimera and Hendricks most of the night. 

THE UGLY: Power Play. 0-for-7. Ouch. 

THE STATS: Jay Beagle (2) from Eric Fehr (8); Matt Hendricks (7) at 16:20 of 1st.  Mike Green (7) from Nicklas Backstrom (25) at 19:22 of 1st.  Alex Ovechkin (14) empty net from Karl Alzner (4) at 19:28 of 3nd.

NEXT GAME: Saturday, January 1, 2011 at 1:00 pm vs. Pittsburgh Penguins at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA for the Fourth Annual NHL Winter Classic.


3. Mike Green. Another strong defensive game and goal.\
2. Jay Beagle.  Scored his second goal of season with "Ovi-esque" style and earned first hard hat.
1. Semyon Varlamov.  Shutout with 25 saves.