[Ed note: This recap was actually authored by J.P., but not posted under his account due to technical difficulties.]
Through two periods on Sunday night, the host Capitals - 11-1-1 at home entering the night - held a 2-1 lead over the visiting Carolina Hurricanes. They also had a 10-0-0 record when leading after forty minutes, while the 'Canes hadn't won once when trailing after two (0-9-0). So the end result of the game - a win for the home team - may have been easily guessed. How they got there, however, was a little less predictable, as the Caps yielded the game's next goal with less than three seconds left, and needed the shootout to earn the win. Hey, they can't all be 6-0.
Ten more notes on the game:
David Steckel is the League leader in faceoff percentage, but even he loses more than one out of every three draws... like that one with eight seconds left and a 2-1 lead on which he was beaten by Eric Staal (who came into the game with a 42.8 win FO%). Steckel won eight of 11 draws on the night. What're the odds?
- That said, the Caps still had a chance to keep the game from being tied, but Tom Poti was out-muscled and out-positioned by Staal in front - not the kind of play you expect from the veteran blueliner.
- Washington's second goal was potted by the scorching-hot Alexander Semin on a beautiful feed from Alex Ovechkin - a perfect example of the latter making one of his teammates better. Ahem.
Semyon Varlamov was very good in goal, saving 26 of 28 shots on the night, including a game-saver in overtime and three stops in the shootout. Yes, his shutout streak was snapped at 92:50, but his hot play since returning from injured reserve continues.
- Before the game, 'Canes coach Paul Maurice noted that the Caps "are a team that is playing a better defensive game than they have in the past." The four goals they've allowed in three games against Carolina speak to that. So does the 'Canes 1-for-12 mark on the powerplay over the three games.
- One game after everything seemed to go right, Bruce Boudreau shook up his lines. Big time. one wonders why.
John Carlson played 25 very solid minutes, including four shots on goal, four hits, three blocked shots and 2:27 of perfect penalty killing.
- Back to Ovechkin, he was a force all night (just ask Tim Gleason), firing a game-high seven shots on goal and scoring the shootout winner. You get the feeling the goals are going to start coming in bunches, and soon.
Matt Hendricks had a career-high five shots on goal - as many as he had in his first eight games as a Cap.
In the wake of the disaster in New Jersey, the Caps have posted three-consecutive wins against Southeast Division opponents by getting timely scoring, solid defense and outstanding goaltending. Now it's time to hit the road again and show the rest of the League what they've got.