Thursday, September 23, 2010

Caps Open Pre-Season with 6-2 Win Over Blue Jackets

The Capitals opened the pre-season with a bang (and no, that was not the sound of the Columbus Blue Jackets' signature cannon going off) last night at Nationwide Arena. The boys tallied six goals without the Great Eight in the lineup and Semyon Varlamov stopped all 20 shots that came his way. Columbus captain Rick Nash and Nikita Filatov were the only players from the home team hitting the back of the net; meanwhile the scoring was all courtesy of the visitors.

Free agent Matt Hendricks, formerly with the Colorado Avalanche organization, made quite a case for a roster spot with a hat trick for the evening. Meanwhile, Tomas Fleischmann netted two goals and Cody Eakin lit the lamp with a wrister of his own. Alex Semin helped out with three assists but also went to the box twice, once for slashing and for a delay of game call. Ah Sasha, some things never change...

Meanwhile, baby-faced goaltender Michal Neuvirth signed the dotted line on a two-year contract extension yesterday. The 22-year was 9-4-0, posting a 2.75 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage in 17 games with the Capitals last season. Neuvirth was was 14-4 with a shutout, a 2.07 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage in 18 Calder Cup playoff games en route to his second Calder Cup championship. He is the first No. 1 goalie to win back-to-back Calder Cups since former Capital Pete Peeters did so with the Maine Mariners in 1978 and ’79. With all the talk surrounding the decision to go with the youngsters in goal for the Capitals, let's hope his success with the Bears in the post-season translates seamlessly to his spot with the big club.

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