The Capitals bounced back from a disappointing loss against the Edmonton Oilers with a 3-1 victory over Calgary. Braden Holtby kept the Flames shooters quiet around the net, grabbing 21 shots and limiting the home team's offensive momentum. Nicklas Backstrom's second goal of the season insured Washington's victory early in the third period, keeping the home ice influence to a minimum over the game's final twenty minutes.
Ten more notes on the game:
- The Capitals most recently met Karri Ramo on Calgary ice one year ago to the day - October 26th, 2013. The Finnish goaltender only gave up two goals that night, one to Jason Chimera and Aaron Volpatti each. Tonight, however, Washington's 30 shots was too much for the veteran and the Capitals got the two points they deserved.
- Washington got on the scoreboard first with Joel Ward's power play goal eleven minutes into the opening period. After picking up the puck on the offensive blue line thanks to a regrettable Deryk Engelland turnover Ward beat both back checking defenders to the slot and snapped a shot past Ramo's glove side. It's great to see Ward finish off such an opportunistic possession.
- But the Flames would tie the game before the first period ended, their own power play goal coming off the stick of former Cap Dennis Wideman. An unnecessary Roughing penalty on Troy Brouwer in the neutral zone led to the tying tally. Wideman's point shot found its way through several bodies, which made Holtby's late grasp futile.
- Ward wasn't done yet though, early in the second period he beat two defensemen to the crease and put a nice backhanded shot between Ramo's right skate and the goal's left post. Michael Latta picked up an assist on the scoring play, his first point of the new season, and Washington had a lead they would not relinquish six minutes into the second.
- The offensive outburst from Ward was his first two goal game since February 2nd of last season at home against the Red Wings. With four goals in the season's first seven games I think we're all hoping his comfort and production within Barry Trotz's systems continues.
- Backstrom completed the Capitals offense early in the third period, wiring a wrist shot through Flames defenseman Kris Russell from the point and past Ramo's left arm. Backstrom's shot slid across Russell's body in the slot and it looked like the Flames' goaltender saw it too late. A surprising and superb shot from the Capitals' number one center.
- With Calgary's goaltender pulled Brouwer was an inch away from his second goal of the season but Joe Colborne's harassment at the blue line caused Brouwer to shank his shot just past the left goalpost. Thanks to great play from Washington the rest of the way it won't be remembered but you'd like to see Brouwer's hard work getting to the puck rewarded.
- Brooks Orpik had ten hits, two great ones, in tonight's game. A second period crunch on a falling Josh Jooris and a stern third period shoulder into Mason Raymond had Flames forwards looking over their shoulder all night. Orpik has been an intimidating influence on Washington's new blue line and his constant body contact has been a missing piece of Washington blue lines over the recent years.
- It was great to see Alex Ovechkin continue to do all the right things even when his shots aren't hitting pay dirt. As we've often seen this season, Ovechkin blocked another two shots and also hightailed it on a backchecking assignment after hitting the post in the third period. If this is our Captain buying into Trotz hockey, I'm excited.
- Ovechkin's good all around hockey came with him skating a season low 17:37 for Trotz tonight. He only got one shot away against Ramo but whenever his teammates produce, and win, without their leading goalscorer appearing on the scoresheet it makes the Capitals a more difficult opponent to defend against.