First Things First: Celebrating Alex Ovechkin; Family Matters
On January 14th, the boys were back at it. After having a few days off, the Washington Capitals took on the Vancouver Canucks at the Verizon Center. The Great 8 was honored with a pregame ceremony dedicated to reaching his 500 NHL goal plataeu. A video of NHL greats and Hall of Fame inductees saying kind words of congratulations and encouragment was shown before Ted Leonsis presented Ovi with a gold hockey stick engraved with his career milestones on the shaft and his historical 500th goal on the blade. Ovi’s mother and father were on the ice with him for this special occasion, along with his fiance Nastya Shubskaya. Yet again, the Verizon Center erupted with applause and cheers for Ovi. After an awesome moment for the Ovechkin family, there was still a game to be played…ON TO THE FIRST PERIOD!
First Period: Puck Drop…
The first period was pretty quiet. It was calm and precise. Neither goalie really had too much work to do. Both teams together only had nine scoaring chances in the first period. The most exciting thing seemed to be that there were two Washington Redskins players in attendance, and Tom Green; but we will get to him later.
Nate Schmidt tried to get the Caps on the board first but was denied by Ryan Miller. Kuzya also tried to get the Caps their first, but again, Miller was there to keep the Caps scoreless. Chimera fired a quick shot on net, but was stopped by Miller. Seems the Caps are trying to get something going in the late seconds of the first.
- Things got a little scary when Justin Williams took a puck to the face. However, ever the warrior, Williams was back on the ice before time expired. Here is how the rest of the period looked:
- No goals. For either side. Upside–Vancouver didn’t score. Downside–neither did the Caps.
- No penalties! Both teams kept things civil for the first 20 minutes.
- Caps/Canucks tied, 0-0.
Second Period: The Russian Connection
The second period started out similar to the first. However, with 16:01 remaining in the period, the Caps got the first powerplay of the night. Alexander Edler was caught tripping and off to the sin bin he went. Caps did not get lucky enough to puncture Miller with their first goal.
However, they did get lucky when Ovi turned the puck over behind Braden Holtby and Vancouver almost converted a shorthanded goal. Not to worry though, Holtby was all over it and everyone was back to even strength.
A little bit later, Dmitry Orlov brought the puck down the wall and passed over to Evgeny Kuznetzov who dangled and tucked one past Miller. Linden Vey put the Caps back on the powerplay when he was called for high sticking. During the PP, Nicklas Backstrom was the culprit of the Caps first penalty and was sent off for interference. At the same time, Edler was also called for embellishment.
With matching minors, Caps were still on the PP. No goals scored as the penalties expired. When Vancouver was caught sleeping, Karl Alzner sniped one past Miller. Later in the period, Backstrom was called for hooking, but Vancouver came up naught.
Here is how the second period looked:
- Kuzya scored his 14th goal of the season, assisted by Orlov. Alzner got his 3rd of the season, assisted by Andre Burakovsky.
- Edler started the penalty parade being called for tripping. He was also called for embellishment. Vey was called for high sticking. Backstrom had two penalties as well, being called for interference and hooking.
- Caps lead 2-0
Third Period: Yur a wizard, Kuzya…
The third period seemed to be all about the new young guys on the team. Tom Wilson got on the board thanks to a BEAUTIFUL behind the back, no look pass from Kuzya. We’re still not quite sure how he did that! No wonder his nickname is “Harry Potter”.
Newly appointed Caps “goon” Marcus Johannson was called for holding giving the Canucks the first powerplay of the period. CAPS TO THE PENALTY KILL!! Guess Brooks Laich thought that the PK was too easy so he decided to be called for high sticking and give Vancouver a 2-man advantage for 1:15.
With :01 seconds remaining on the 5-on-3, Radim Vrbata tucked a rebound past Holtby. Bye bye shutout. Sorry Holts…you were damn close. With Mojo now out of the box, the Caps still had :46 seconds left on the penalty to Laich, which they killed nicely.
Vancouver bench boss Willie Desjardins decided to pull Miller with 2:01 left in the game. After a few icing calls that brought Miller back onto the ice, he was finally lifted and stayed on the bench where he watched Kuzya Potter net his second goal of the evening with 1.2 seconds left. The empty netter was scored with another no look flick from behind his back. HOW DOES HE DO IT?! Kuzya…we love you!
Here is how the third period shook out:
- Wilson got his 4th goal of season, assisted by Kuzya, who had three points in tonight’s game. Vrbata scored his 11th goal of the season on the powerplay, assisted by Bo Horvat. Kuzya got his 15th of the season with the empty net goal.
- The Caps were the only team called for penalties in the third. Mojo was called for holding and Laich for high sticking.
- CAPS WIN, 4-1
The Caps are now 33-7-3 and have won their 5th straight game and eight of their last ten. Their next game is Saturday, January 16th at 7pm. They travel to Buffalo to take on the Sabres. Any Caps faithful or part of the Road Crew making the trip up?
Braden Holtby, with 129 career games passed Don Beaupre for second place games wonon the Caps franchise list
Written by Ashley Reid
Photos by Brittney Marcum