Caps trounce Devils 7-2; Now that’s more like it

That was a pretty wild game to say the least. The Caps looked like they were in “Round 1 form” for a lot of the first period but they found an offensive surge in the second and scored 4 goals. They then cruised there way to a 7-2 win over the New Jersey Devils but there were plenty of events along the way that I’ll explain in bullets.

– I have to think that Anton Volchenkov being knocked out of the game had a lot to do with our offense being more successful. We were struggling a lot in the first period and Volchenkov is their best shot blocker, so things obviously got easier after he left.

– The penalty kill looked awesome. They are playing a lot more aggressive than they were last year and that’s exactly what we needed to do. Devils didn’t convert on all four of their powerplays. Gordon, Johansson and Laich stood out in particular.

– Defense was still shaky…but they got the job done for the most part. Allowing 17 shots in a period isn’t what you want to do but Neuvirth bailed us out again. John Carlson was brilliant, though. Not only did he score a goal and pick up two assists, but he made a lot of great defensive plays. Most notably was his poke check on Jason Arnott to stop a scoring chance. He was our best d-man on the ice by far.

– The second line (Laich-Fleischmann-Semin) are really coming together. Fleischmann’s been getting a lot of shit from me lately but he actually played a great game. Scored a goal off a perfect feed from Semin, picked up an assist and didn’t have any terrifying mistakes like he usually does. Only 40% in the face-off circle, though. Oof.

– First line looked a lot better than it did last night. Ovechkin with two goals and an assist. I felt that this line was very quiet last night and Ovechkin didn’t do a good job of leading by example, tonight he was the opposite. Welcome back, Captain.

– Devils looked like they had the spirit knocked right out of them after Volchenkov got hurt. They weren’t blocking shots well, let the Caps get in their zone with ease and looked completely out of sync. Brodeur was pulled after the 2nd period because he clearly didn’t have it and Hedberg began his night by allowing one of the worst goals ever.

– Chimera really has one hell of a shot. Wish we could see more of it.

– I know people are going to be hating on Marcus Johansson after that awful turnover in the first period that led to a Devils goal. As bad as that was, he had a solid game and really did well on the penalty kill. Rather have him make those mistakes now than in April.

– Refs completely lost control of the game in the 3rd period. 4 fights and around 70 penalty minutes issued between both teams. David Clarkson won his first fight against Chimera but was KO”d by Matt Bradley with a right hand in the second one. Mike Green and Ilya Kovalchuk’s “fight” was one of the saddest, most entertaining things I’ve ever seen. One minute of them exchanging slaps and then a couple bear hugs. I couldn’t stop laughing. It’s also good to know Matt Hendricks can fend for his own like he did against Rod Pelley tonight.

– Listening to Craig Laughlin talk for 10 minutes about the instigator rule and how Pierre-Luc Letoenrau-LeBlond and the Devils should be punished for it was annoying. It was a cheap move by PL3 to go after Johansson like that but let the league handle it. This would have been a good time for DJ King to make his debut as the Caps enforcer.

– We scored a powerplay goal! Huzzah! Still have as many shorthanded goals as powerplay goals, though. Ha.

This was a fun game to watch and the Caps definitely looked more like the team I expected to see this year. Not saying that i’m expecting us to blow out teams like this every night but they played some great hockey and I hope they can keep doing so this year. I love that we can actually kill penalties now too. Also, Devils top line held completely off the scoresheet tonight. How about that?

Three Stars:

1. John Carlson

I’m already starting to hype him to win the Calder award this year.

2. Alex Ovechkin

Ovechkin back to doing business as usual.

3. Tomas Fleischmann

see above. He’s usually awful when not putting up points but he did very well tonight and having him as the second line center may not be a disaster after all.

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