Blackhawks-Capitals recap

NBC’s “Game of the Week” never seems to excite me that much. Granted, I love mid-day hockey but I always felt like they choose matchups between two teams with popular fanbases with no regards to their records or the playoff race. That and I think I see the same 8-10 teams on there every week. Today’s matchup between the Caps and Blackhawks could apply to that but this was a very good matchup going in. Two of the hottest teams in the league right now with the Caps winning seven in a row and the Hawks coming off an eight-game win streak. Did this game live up to said hype? Absolutely.

These two teams put on a show for the national audience as the pace of the game was great and there was a lot of exciting action going on. Who doesn’t like to see two teams trade goals, a last minute comeback and a great finish in overtime? This along with the Canucks-Sharks game a few nights ago, are games that get people into hockey and what is great about the NHL.

From a Caps fan standpoint, there were a lot of positives and negatives we can take out of this game. We beat the defending Stanley Cup champions in overtime but we also let a one-goal lead slip away late again. We managed to play a tough Hawks team well despite missing our best center, one of our best defensemen and starting our third string goalie, which speaks a lot about the depth on this team. It’s another OT victory (aka one-goal victory, which I will look into later) but we played a very solid game today aside from the penalties and won our first biggest test with the new lineup.


– I’m one who likes to give credit to where it’s due and the Hawks played a great game, as well. Brent Seabrook was playing Ovechkin’s shadow all game and didn’t allow him to get that many chances. Though I was surprised that they decided to put Seabrook on him instead of Duncan Keith. Also wondered why they paired Niklas Hjalmarsson with him and not Keith. Speaking of Keith, he made a nice play to set up the game-tying goal by Jonathan Toews.

– Continuing to give credit to the Hawks, if they won the game the MVP would have been goalie Corey Crawford. He saw 42 shots today and shutdown numerous chances for Washington, especially in the second period. He’s stepped up at a big time for this Chicago team whose biggest weakness was at goalie at the beginning of the season.

– Jason Arnott with a powerplay goal and Dennis Wideman with two assists, including a nice play to keep the puck in on Arnott’s goal. I love how these two have been contributing immediately for Washington and they are definitely helping the powerplay improve quite a bit.

– How does Marcus Johansson respond to taking a bad penalty which led to the game-tying goal? Making a nice pass to set up Mike Knuble’s game winner.

– I was very impressed with the Chimera-Laich-Fehr line today. They were forechecking the strongest from what I noticed. Fehr and Laich also made a great play which set up the third goal of the game.

– Wideman had some great moments and some not-so-great ones today. One of which was when he tried to clear the puck through Tomas Kopecky that led to a glorious chance for Michael Frolik which was thankfully stopped. He also collided into Holtby in an effort to block Toews shot which he scored on.

– No Nicklas Backstrom and David Steckel is in New Jersey but we were still 56% effective on faceoffs. How ’bout that?

– Holtby was good today but he would probably love to have the first two goals he gave up back.

– Alex Semin responded well after a rough game against Carolina. He was back-checking very well and generated a lot of chances. Most of which were turned away by Crawford but he was still very effective in this game.

Tough test #1 ended in a victory now we’ve got eight wins in a row. Let’s see how we can play against another hot team in Montreal this Tuesday.

Three Stars

1. Mike Knuble

2. Corey Crawford

3. Jason Arnott


One Response to Blackhawks-Capitals recap

  1. Ray says:

    I’m not surprised that Brent Seabrook was on Ovechkin because Duncan Keith is a turnstyle and won’t play the body. The biggest myth in hockey is Duncan Keith is good defensively.

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