Thursday, November 12, 2009

Varly Saves the Day in a Battle of Goaltenders

The Caps got off to a hot start last night, as they hosted the Islanders for the third meeting between the two teams. On a rainy Veteran's Day, a packed Verizon Center went wild as Alex Semin (who's been the focus of much criticism for his inconsistent play lately) netted a zinger a mere eight seconds into the game! I had to drive the hockey carpool and was listening to the action on my trusty XM radio when things began to unravel for the Caps. Moulson, Bergenheim and Mark Streit scored quickly for the Isles for a 3-1 lead, stunning the home crowd and sending Jose Theodore to the bench for the evening. Flash continued his hot streak by pounding one in assisted by our solid playmaker, Nick Backstrom and one Mike Knuble, to cut the Islander's lead to within one.

Now if there's one thing we've learned in our past meetings with these boys from Long Island, it's that they've got one heck of a work ethic. These guys battle for every puck and every hit and they ensured that the Caps had their work cut out for them again last night!

Alex Semin tied the game 3-3 in the second, showing signs of the hot stick that's been missing in action the past few outings without his pal Alex Ovechkin. The Caps added another point on the board in the middle stanza, as Eric Fehr's backhand inked it's way past veteran Dwayne Roloson's grasp. So going into the final period, the boys held a 4-3 lead.

The Islanders (again, these guys never quit) tied it up at 17:52 in the third period as Trent Hunter's wicked slap shot buzzed right over Varlamov's shoulder. As has become the norm for these two teams, we were headed into OT. The Caps tried their darnedest to close this one out in OT and put the pressure on Roloson. But no score in the additional minutes, and this one was headed to a shoot out.

What a shoot out it was - going 11 rounds, as Commish Gary Bettman watched on from Ted Leonsis' box. Alex Semin scored the first shoot out goal for the Caps and captain Chris Clark netted the game-winner in an absolute nail-biter of an ending. Semyon Varlamov was spectacular with eight saves, giving him a 2-0 record in shoot outs. The 5-4 win propelled the Caps to the first place spot in the Eastern Conference - nice work boys!

In other news, no new word on any potential movement of Michael Nylander and Ovechkin has been practicing so let's keep our fingers crossed that we see him back in action very soon.

And for a gal's perspective on what it's like to report on the Washington Capitals, check out HM's interview with some of the savviest female hockey writers in the press box over at!

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