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Third lines in hockey are usually made for checking. The Capitals' third line of Brooks Laich, Jason Chimera and Joel Ward can do that, but they also proved they can provide some scoring too.
WASHINGTON D.C. - Here are some key quotes from the Verizon Center locker room following the Washington Capitals' 4-3 overtime win over the Carolina Hurricanes in the season opener.
Brooks Laich on the chemistry among his linemates, Jason Chimera and Joel Ward: "It's nice. I like playing with those guys. They're very easy to play with, solid defensively and both big bodies. Our line is not just a checking line. We might have an assignment, bu we talk it about amongst ourselves and we can still score."
Mike Green on his game-winning goal: "Well, I saw the guy scoot over to Wides [Dennis Wideman] and knew that I had a lot of time to shoot the puck. I just had to find a spot. It kind of went off a guys' shin pad and snuck through, but I just had to get the shot off."
Jason Chimera on the win: "We came away with a big win. It was a character win. Anytime they tie it up, it is kind of an emotional letdown, but we got our guard back up, which is nice."
Michal Neuvirth on the special teams for both Washington and Carolina: "It's a big thing in hockey. And I think [Carolina got] two power play goals tonight. We got to get better on that and I know we will."
Bruce Boudreau on the new players and some possible nerves: "I wouldn't doubt it. It's the first game. The crowd's into it, a lot of new guys. Nerves were there. It's like the first day of being on the job and going into the office. You're nervous, whether you're a 20 year vet doing the job or just brand new..."
Mike Green was once known as someone who was proficient in late-game goals. That buzz has faded a bit, but the lone defensive member of the Washington Capitals' quartet of "Young guns" brought that back in the team's 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Green scored the game-winning goal with 2:36 remaining in overtime to give the Capitals the victory.
The goal was a power-play goal, and it came after the Capitals killed off a Hurricanes penalty. Thanks to a poor decision by Alexander Semin at the end of regulation, the Capitals began overtime a man down. Michal Neuvirth kept the Capitals in the game, and then Carolina was called for a penalty of their own. On the first shift following the beginning of the Capitals' abbreviated four-on-three power play, Green scored on the slap shot.
Here is video, via NHL.com.
In a thrilling season opener, the Washington Capitals began their 2011/12 NHL season with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Mike Green, who missed so many games at the end of last season, supplied the game-winner on the power play with 2:36 remaining in overtime for the Capitals.
The Capitals had to kill off a Hurricanes power play to start overtime after Alexander Semin committed a penalty at the very end of regulation. Carolina had many key chances on that power play, but goalie Michal Neuvirth made some big saves to preserve the tie. Carolina's Jussi Jokinen, who tied the game at three in regulation, committed a penalty, putting the Capitals on the power play. Green converted on the first shift for the game-winner.
The Washington Capitals looked like they would come away with a win in regulation, but it wasn't to be. Washington capitalized on consecutive penalties by the Carolina Hurricanes, eventually taking a 3-2 lead on a five on three power play when Brooks Laich scored on a backhand rebound on a shot by Alex Ovechkin. But then the Capitals surrendered a goal by Jussi Jokinen with 1:19 remaining, and we head to overtime tied at 3.
The Capitals got help from Carolina's undisciplined play. First, Joni Pitkanen was called for boarding on Mike Knuble at the 4:52 mark. Less than a minute later, Brandon Sutter tripped Ovechkin, and the Capitals scored soon thereafter.
But it didn't take long for the Carolina Hurricanes to tie the score. The Hurricanes pulled their goalie, and Jokinen got a nice pass in the right corner and finished. John Carlson and Karl Alzner looked to be crossed up on the goal.
Right at the end of the period, Alexander Semin slammed a Hurricanes player into the boards, so it appears the Capitals will be shorthanded to start overtime.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Insert "Alexander Semin cares" joke here.
Semin scored the Capitals' first goal of the season late in the second period and Jason Chimera added another with under a minute left to give the Caps a 2-1 lead over the Hurricanes after 40 minutes.
The Hurricanes took a 1-0 lead on the power play after John Carlson tripped Tuomo Ruutu. Eric Staal took the puck into the zone and dropped it off at the right point for Tomas Kaberle. Kaberle then sent a cross-ice pass to a cutting Jussi Jokinen. Staal, who initiated the play, rolled down the right side of the ice and the Caps left him open for a one-timer from Jokinen that Michal Neuvirth had no chance to stop at 12:16.
Carlson, however, atoned for his sin just over two minutes later when he made a two-line breakout pass to Semin, who was all alone to put a backhand past Brian Boucher for his first goal of the season at 14:28. Chimera scored his first when he used his speed to blow by two Hurricanes defensemen and got enough space to put a wrist shot past Boucher at 19:39.
The Hurricanes have a 10-7 advantage in shots and dictated most of the tempo despite being shorthanded twice. The Caps' power play did not convert on either chance, which were separated by only 12 seconds when Chad LaRose committed a penalty right after Alexei Ponikarovsky's ended. Meanwhile, the Caps' penalty kill killed off Alex Ovechkin's cross checking penalty.
Michal Neuvirth made 10 saves, many of which came from in the slot as Carolina continued to press and pin Washington in its own defensive zone. Brian Boucher, on the other hand, made seven saves, but most of them came from the point.
BALLSTON, Va. - The Washington Capitals had their first morning skate of the season Saturday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and the lines looked more or less the same as they have over the last week:
Though Johansson was skating with the fourth line Saturday morning, he was only doing it to replace Jeff Halpern, who missed the skate to observe Yom Kippur. With that said, Johansson stayed on the ice with D.J. King, John Erskine and Tomas Vokoun, signifying that he will indeed be a healthy scratch against the Carolina Hurricanes.
"It puts a little bit more pressure on you," Perreault said on starting Saturday. "I feel like tonight I've got to be really good if I'm going to be in the next game. Every game is going to be like that...If [head coach Bruce Boudreau] wants to reward the player that's been good, I'm happy that he's putting me on the ice."
Boudreau reiterated his point that Perreault was the best player throughout training camp and that the preseason doesn't mean anything if he doesn't reward players for playing well. Boudreau also said that Johansson's scratch is not an indictment of his play.
"I think Marcus can give more, but he's going to be a huge part of our team," Boudreau said. "If he plays 81 games, he plays 81 games. It's a long season, but right now, Methieu's in tonight."
On the defensive end, Dennis Wideman took his option and did not skate Saturday, but Boudreau said that he is fine and will play against the Hurricanes.
It’s been five months since the Washington Capitals last stepped off the ice as they were unceremoniously swept out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Much has changed since early May; seven players are out and five new ones are in. One thing, however, has remained constant for the Caps: a desire to finally reach the precipice that is the Stanley Cup and prove doubters wrong in the process. Saturday at Verizon Center, the Caps’ quest for the Cup continues when they open the season against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The biggest news coming into Saturday’s game is that Michal Neuvirth will start ahead of Tomas Vokoun. Despite being named as the No. 1 goalie by head coach Bruce Boudreau this summer, that apparently does not matter for Saturday.
Meanwhile, Alex Ovechkin has returned to Washington after spending the last few days in Russia with his family after the passing of a relative.
Washington is 10-1-1 all-time in home openers at Verizon Center. Their lost loss in a home opener came in 2000 in a 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. The Caps and Hurricanes last met in a home opener at Verizon Center in 2007, when the former defeated the latter 2-0. Carolina opened their season Friday in less than stellar fashion; after taking a 1-0 lead, the Hurricanes gave up five unanswered goals in a 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington’s opponent Monday.
Tomas Vokoun the player has not said this directly, but Vokoun's agent Allan Walsh made it clear Bruce Boudreau's decision to start Michal Neuvirth in goal Saturday night when the Capitals face the Hurricanes might not be going over well with his client. Via Stephen Whyno of The Washington Times:
"He was told he was coming into Washington as the No. 1 goalie," Walsh told The Times. "They were very public in their comments about that. … There’s a certain symbolism attached to who starts the first game of the season at home. It doesn’t mean he’s not a No. 1 goalie. But this can certainly be perceived as a slap in the face."
Vokoun was a late, surprise free agent signing by Washington, inking a one year, $1.5 million deal in early July. At the time of the signing, the acquisition of the veteran Vokoun appeared to be a coup and Washington appeared to have their new #1 goaltender. But, at least for opening night, it appears Bruce Boudreau has other plans.
The Washington Capitals welcomed back Alex Ovechkin on Friday, as the star captain returned from Moscow after spending the week in Russia to mourn the loss of a relative. Ovechkin announced his return (in his less than stellar English) not long ago via Twitter:
its was hard back to moscow,but its life….happy to be back!!!!
Now the speculation begins as to whether or not Ovechkin will play in the Capitals season opener on Saturday night, a home tilt at Verizon Center against the Carolina Hurricanes. Considering how long the NHL season, I don't think anybody would blame him if he decided to sit out the opener either because he's still grieving or he's simply too jet-lagged to skate effectively. I’m sure the news will be announced soon, but one would presume that he would not have rushed back so quickly if he did not intend to play Saturday night. Ovi did, after all, just leave for Moscow on Monday of this week. However, he did give indications before leaving that he will play.
Once more, condolences to Alex and the Ovechkin family for their loss, and from hockey fans and enthusiasts across the country, best of luck in 2011-2012.
For more Capitals coverage prior to the season opener and throughout the year, make Japers' Rink a part of your regular reading.
Tomas Vokoun was one of the biggest addition the Capitals made this offseason, and he was expected to come in immediately and help solidify the goalie position this season. Well, it looks like he won't be able to solidify it right away, because he will not be starting in goal for the Capitals first game against the Hurricanes.
We don't know yet why Vokoun isn't starting in goal, but it looks like Michal Neuvirth will get the start in the first game of the year. Bruce Boudreau was apparently asked about it during a press conference, but he was unwilling to comment.
We'll have plenty more on why Vokoun is not starting as soon as that information is made available. But for more on the Caps head over to Japers' Rink.
Led by two key newcomers and the return to health of two defensemen plagued by injury last year, the Washington Capitals enter the 2011/12 season with the strongest defense they've ever had in the Alex Ovechkin era.
The Washington Capitals will host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. It will be the first game of the year for the Capitals, but the second of back to back games for the Hurricanes who face the Lightning the night before in their season opener. The game starts at 7 and can be seen on Comcast Sportsnet DC.
The Hurricanes finished just outside of the Eastern Conference Playoff picture last year with just 91 points on the Season. The Washington Capitals, as I'm sure you all know, finished with the most points in the Eastern Conference at 107. This is the beginning of what should be a fairly pressure packed season with a ton of expectations for the Capitals.
The Washington Capitals open up the 2011 NHL season at home against the Hurricanes
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