Caps-Canes Post-Game Thoughts

The entire year I’ve been saying that Michal Neuvirth has been the Caps MVP and few would argue with that. Tonight’s game against Carolina proved that even more as he earned his first career shutout stopping all 28 shots the Canes sent his way.  Tonight’s game ended up being the battle of two goaltenders between him and Cam Ward and Neuvirth was the one who ended up earning the shutout. I always thought it was ridiculous when people compared him to Dominik Hasek but they show some similarities in how they both make some saves that require insane reflexes. His ridiculous save on Jeff Skinner in the 2nd period shows evidence of that. Neuvirth’s best stop was his insane glove save on Eric Staal as he robbed him of what was sure to be the game tying goal. For the rest of the team, here’s my thoughts in the bullets below.

– If I had to give a name to this game it would be either “The Battle of the Awful Powerplays,” “Neuvirth vs. Ward” or “WhistleMania.” I think all three of those speak for themselves.

– Sometimes it takes a few lucky bounces (or in this case, rebounds) to get things clicking and that’s what happened tonight. Good for Nicklas Backstrom to bury that generous rebound Ward gave him. The first line is slowly improving and Mike Knuble was doing a great job at winning the battles along the boards and getting pressure in the front of the net. Alex Ovechkin also had a few good chances but unfortunately, Cam Ward was on his game.

– Aside from a few messes, it was a good defensive effort all around from the team. It was good to see Karl Alzner playing well again, might have something to do with him being paired with his former Hershey teammate John Carlson tonight.

– 4th line of Hendricks-Steckel-Bradley was forechecking great early on and it led to an early goal for the Caps. Ward was out of the crease when Steckel collided with him and he still had a chance to make the save, so there’s no goaltender interference like some were saying.

All in all, a good team effort from the Caps and they get their first shutout win of the season. Neuvirth bailed out the defense when he had to but they played very well tonight and prevented the Canes from getting a lot of scoring chances.

Three Stars:
1. Michal Neuvirth

2. Nicklas Backstrom

3. Cam Ward

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