With no seeding to fight for Washington has enjoyed their last two games as spoilers, a team with nothing to gain in the standings. Both contests needed extra time to be decided, displaying the effort Adam Oates' squad put into games in front of the home team fans.
The season's last game took an extra 3:23 to decide, Eric Fehr needing that long to put a Mike Green rebound behind Tuukka Rask for the final two points of 2013. Down by two goals heading into the final period Green spearheaded the comeback with two power play tallies, momentum gained by those pushing the Capitals to victory less than fifteen minutes later.
Ten more notes on the game:
- Jaromir Jagr missed Saturday night's contest because of the Flu, the 'whoop'ers in Verizon who remain stung surely upset at his absence.
- Tuukka Rask needed to be excellent early, denying a Marcus Johansson breakaway by sealing his five hole and warding off 12 first period shots. Boston's goalie was screened on both power play goals from Green and appeared stung while Fehr scored the game winner, the Finnish goaltender fighting for 34 saves (.919 S%).
- Milan Lucic has been watching many Bruins games from the press box, a recent healthy scratch to make room for Swedish greenhorn Carl Soderberg. Tonight, though, it was Lucic to start the game’s scoring at the ten minute mark, a soft shot directed at net that caromed in off of Karl Alzner’s skate.
- The game was hard hitting from the get go, Aaron Volpatti and Adam McQuaid colliding below the goal line and setting the physical tone early. This tenacity would continue throughout the rest of the game; John Erskine, Milan Lucic, and Brad Marchand very involved in the game within the game.
- In the first period Erskine stepped up to take a bite out of David Krejci coming across the blue line and the Boston winger was forced to return to the safety the bench. Erskine’s physical play nullified Boston's possession without taking himself out of position, a favor Heavy would pay back to Marchand in the third period as well. Two thumbs up.
- The Bruins came out hard in the second period, earning their first power play of the game and pumping five early shots at Holtby. Five minutes later Andrew Ference rifled home a wrist shot over Holtby’s glove from the circles, doubling the Capitals deficit and giving Rask a lead to protect.
- Ovechkin’s backcheck on Rich Peverley’s shorthanded breakaway kept his team within shouting distance at the end of the second period, the captain shrugging Peverley off of his angle and the puck. Excellent hustle from a player on the ice who is there to score with the man advantage, and a possible reason for his team's improved play in the third.
- Mike Green fired home his 11th and 12th goals of the season from the right point, overtaking Canadiens' defenseman PK Subban for the league lead by rearguards. Rask was screened by Zdeno Chara on Green's first but it was Mike Ribeiro's saucer pass from the half wall that put the puck behind Rask before the netminder could figure out how it ended up on Green's stick
- Adam Oates' #1 power play unit took Claude Julien's top penalty killing teams to task in the third period, Washington capitalizing on their first two chancesin the final frame. Washington would end the game 3 for 5 with the man advantage (including the GWG) while killing off both shorthanded situations.
- Braden Holtby had himself another strong performance, never better then when killing off a late in regulation four on three power play chance. While Holtby might have wished to have Ference's shot he finished the contest with 32 saves (.941 S%), good enough for his 23rd win of the year.
- It would be Eric Fehr finishing off the Bruins in overtime for the second time this season, the power forward taking Green's rebound to the back of the net with a deft touch. Verizon Center faithful stood up to cheer on the home town team's victory, both in the game and this regular season.
At times Washington appeared disinterested and disengaged from the action on the ice but as the game progressed the Capitals began clicking. Green and the power play tied the game in the third period and set the stage for Fehr to finish it in extra time. Of utmost importance was the team's health and all twenty teammates skating off the ice together is as important of a win as the meaningless two points.
The Capitals will face the New York Rangers in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, their opposite number six seed now set.