Saturday, November 14, 2009

Battle of the Best in the East: Caps/Devils

After a win over the Minnesota Wild last night, the Caps headed to the Rock in New Jersey to take on the Devils, who sit one spot below Washington in the Eastern Conference standings. The Caps are 4-2-4 against the Devils under Bruce Boudreau and all but three of the games (all Washington wins) have been decided by one goal. The Devils have won all four games (one in overtime and three in a shootout) that have exceeded regulation.

Minus Ovechkin (who is on the mend and hopes to see action against the Rangers next week) and Mike Knuble (who will be out 3-4 weeks with broken finger, Hockey Mom sighs with sadness as he'll be sorely missed), the boys got off to a nice start against Martin Brodeur and friends. Flash got the boys on board early on in the first with a power play goal at the 4:15 marker while Mathieu Perreault continued his hot streak as well with his own goal at 5:02. For a great read about Perreault, check out today's post from my pals at On Frozen Blog. Mike Green had assists on both Caps' tallies. Colin White netted the only goal for the Devils and the Caps ended the first period with a 2-1 lead.

The Devils tied it up early in the second as Mike Green went to the sin bin for a tripping call and Jamie Langenbrunner whizzed a rocket of a slap shot right over Theodore's shoulder. Midway through the second, the Caps got called for a too many men penalty and the offensively dangerous Devils were once again with the man advantage. Jose Theodore made several nice saves and the boys had a successful penalty kill. But just when you thought we were in the clear, a bad turnover by Alex Semin resulted in a breakaway goal from sniper Zach Parise (don't let his boyish good looks fool you, this guy has consistently been one of the sharpshooters in the league and has 21 points to date). Then in yet another defensive breakdown, the Caps got caught in a 3 on 2 and Matt Halischuk scored his first career goal to give the Devs a 4-2 lead going into the dressing room at the end of the second.

Things continued downhill for the Capitals in the opening minutes of the third period as Corey Murphy scored right off the face off padding the Devils lead by 3. The Caps completely fell off the tracks from the momentum they had going on in the first period and the Devils extended their win streak with a a final score of 5-2. Maybe fatigue could be to blame with the back-to-back weekend, but whatever the case, the boys will have to get it together and regroup to face a tough Rangers team on Tuesday. Let's hope that the Great8 will return and re-energize these guys - we sure didn't see much energy tonight with the exception of the first 20 minutes!

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