Coach Trotz had to deal with a few changes and probably some emotions as he sent the team out to meet the Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks were going through some of their own adjustments as well, which might have thrown them off their game a bit during the first period but they made up for it in the second and never let go of the lead.
Brooks Laich cleared waivers and played on the fourth line with the returning Jay Beagle in the center slot. The Michaels (Latta and Weber) watching from the locker room with Stanislav Galiev.
First Period: Caps Set the Pace
By the end of the period the Caps were outshooting (17 to 6), winning more face offs, playing more physical, and doing a better job staying out of the penalty box. The Caps scored first on a power play and were almost immediately answered by the Hawks, ending the period tied 1-1. Pretty positive all around.
Goals: Marcus Johansson scored during the power play on a rebound from Justin Williams, secondary assist to Nicklas Backstrom. Hawks Patrick Kane scored, assisted by Trevor van Riemsdyk and Artem Anisimov.
Penalties: Andrew Desjardin hi-sticking Orlov, Trevor van Riemsdyk delay of game for shooting the puck over the glass, and Alex Oveckin for a tripping…
Second Period: Hawks Fire Back
Chicago came out ready to regain control of their ice. The Caps were first in the sin bin but Jason Chimera with Jay Beagle on the PK kept the Hawks from scoring. Crawford denied a powerful wrist shot from Ovi—the highlight of the period for the Caps. And then the Caps went back to killing the Hawks power play as Chorney trips up Towes and the Hawks take advantage with their second goal. The Hawks outshot the Caps this period, closed the SOG gap, and ended the period ahead of the Caps.
Goals: Jonathan Toews assisted by Teuvo Teravainen and the newly returned Andrew Ladd
Penalties: Brooks Orpik for hooking. Taylor Chorney for tripping against Jonathan Toews.
Score: 2-1 Hawks
Third Period: Tilt Blackhawks
In which Marcus Johnasson is taken down by an elbow to the face from Towes, with no penalty call. However, there were mutual roughing penalties called after Willy stepped in to defend MoJo. Another power play for Hawks with no goal achieved, however, the Hawks scored on what looked like a missed icing call from our vantage point. Oshie would then get a weird penalty for interference. Hawks can’t count and the Caps go on power play. PPG Kuzy! The Boyz did all they could to win it but in the end, the tide shifted in Chicago’s favor.
Goals: Dennis Rasmussen, unassisted. Evgeny Kuznetsov with his 19th goal, unassisted.
Penalties: Tom Wilson roughing matched with Andrew Shaw. Patrick Kane hi-sticking; TJ Oshie interference; Dennis Rasmussen to the box for too many men on the ice; and Niklas Hjalmarsson for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Score: 3-2 Hawks
If this was a precursor to the playoffs, then the Caps faired pretty well, all things considered. It is obvious that they are going to have to gain control of the ice first, score first, and do their best to avoid penalties. Our goalies, be it Braden Holtby or Phillip Grubauer, will need to be more alert because the team we face in the playoffs will be more in sync and more powerful than the one we saw today. The final score when next we meet will in large part rely on which goalie sits taller in the net.
Coming Up: A Killer Week for the Caps.
Caps are off Monday but it is Trade Watch Day. Presser set for 3:30 at Kettler
Tuesday: Morning skate at 1015 at Kettler followed by a 7:30 pm game against the Pens at Verizon.
Wednesday: Morning skate at 10:15 am at Kettler followed by a 7 pm game against the Leafs at Verizon.
Photos by Brittney Marcum