For the first time in 2011, the Washington Capitals scored first. The problem tonight though is that the lead didn't last long.
Matt Hendricks scored with 5:50 gone in the first period, and it was Washington's first goal in the opening period since Dec. 28. Boyd Gordon deserves a good deal of credit for the goal, sliding the puck past two Canucks to find Hendricks behind the Vancouver defense with no one to beat but Roberto Luongo. Hendricks put the puck just under the goaltender's catching glove and into the net.
But just over two minutes later, the Canucks responded with a goal that wasn't quite as pretty. With the Capitals failing to get out quickly enough to challenge Alexander Edler, the defender shot the puck from the blueline. Edler's low shot escaped traffic and found its way just past Semyon Varlamov's pad and inside the far post. Varlamov may have been screened, but he'd surely like to have this one back.
Vancouver challenged Varlamov and the Washington defense for the next portion of the first period, out-skating and out-working the Capitals in Vancouver's offensive zone. But the Canucks put a few shots wide of the target, and the period ended with a score of 1-1.