Both teams entered the game mathematically eliminated from the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs but that didn't stop the Capitals from arriving on time and ready to do battle. The good play started early from Joel Ward and was carried throughout a sleepy middle twenty minutes by Braden Holtby's stellar (.947 SP) play for the entire sixty minutes. Washington's third line deserved all three stars of the game for their nine point performance, but the two regulation points were really thanks to a competitive, gritty effort.
Eight more notes on the game:
Ward got the scoring started early with his 24th on the season 62 seconds into the contest. A great forecheck from Jason Chimera got the sequence going, allowing Eric Fehr time and space to put a deft backhanded pass into the slot. Ward made no mistake, out-moving and out-waiting a sub-par Anton Khudobin for the early tally.
The two goal lead would be short lived for the Capitals, Jiri Tlusty depositing his own 15th of the year to cut the Capitals lead to 2 to 1. A shorthanded goal that could've quieted Washington's offense, and might've any other night of the year, ended up being a rare bright spot for Carolina.
Washington wouldn't stand idly by to begin the third either and, who else, it was the third line putting the puck into the net first. Fehr's tally with seventeen minutes left lifted the visitors up three and completed the third line's night - each player registering a goal and two assists - Hell of a game from those three.
Brouwer wouldn't allow the third line to have all of the night's glory, however, as he put his second of the game behind Khudobin a little more than a minute after Fehr's and putting the contest out of reach. An stoppable shot that found daylight through the goaltender's pads was the final nail in Carolina's coffin.
Hurricanes forward Radek Dvorak would cut into the Capitals' lead late but the home team had already packed their bags for the night. Parked in the same spot as Brouwer on his first of the night the right-handed Dvorak wasted no time elevating the puck over Holtby. Tough bounce there.
Hotlby far out-deuled his opponent on the other side of the ice sheet, making timely saves and ending the night allowing only two goals on 38 shots against - none for Alexander Semin (added bonus). Khudobin was far less busy, with only 21 shots aimed his way, but the Russian goaltender couldn't come up big enough tonight against the Capitals.
Both teams are out of the playoff picture and tonight's game played out much like you'd expect a meaningless early April contest would. Unlike the Hurricanes however, Washington showed up to play from the first minute of the game all the way through the final save Holtby would make late in the third period. It was a nice performance to watch unfold on the road, only being too little too late for this year's team.
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