The Capitals overcame the absence of elite wingman Alex Ovechkin to out-shoot the Nashville Predators and capture a 4-3 win last night in chilly Washington, DC. The great No. 8 flew home to be with his sick grandfather, thus ending his consecutive games played streak at 203.
So far this season, the stud on this squad has been a productive player, fittingly named "Alex." (One more Alex completes the hat trick. Hey Mogilny, how are those knees feeling?)
Alexander Semin added another goal, tallying his first on the power play, and an assist, increasing his league-leading total to 16 points in nine games played. His previous seven goals scored were at even strength.
Semin is earning the respect of his teammates, and is providing quality results when the Capitals need him the most. Still, adjustments have to be made to compensate for the loss of a dominant scorer like Ovechkin.
“Obviously we miss Ovie. Our hearts are with him,” said Brooks Laich. “But we want to be known as the Washington Capitals—a good hockey team, not just a team with one or two good players.”
Brooks’ wish is like Puccini to the ears of the myriad fans, who see the Capitals building on their recent success. Laich filled in for Ovechkin tonight on the first line, and didn’t register a point. But as he eloquently stated, the Capitals are all about team hockey.
Six players had points for the Caps, including Viktor Kozlov who has contributed at least a point in two games played since missing four games with a knee injury. He found the back of the net for his first goal of the season, to start the scoring at 12:13 in the first period. The game’s tempo favored the Caps, as they out-shot the Predators 19-4.
Dump and run hockey contributes to complacency amongst the players. They get caught watching the game instead of executing plays. Pummeling the goalie with shot after shot wears him down. The more shots he faces, the higher the chance that he will make a mistake later in the game.
The Predators were led by forward Jason Arnott who had his fourth and fifth goals in the young NHL season, the latter sending the game into the five-minute overtime period.
The Capitals allowed two goals on seven shots, both with the home team down a man. The penalty-killing unit continues to struggle, and perhaps Gabby should nix the Ovechkin experiment and keep him in the offensive zone once he returns to DC.
Washington is 5-1 when scoring four or more goals. Their only loss was the season opener in Atlanta. So, scoring a lot of goals while holding your opponent to one or two goals leads to wins. Shocking!
The Predators have scored at least three goals in eight straight games, but have yielded at least three in the past six. Here’s a little ditty about a team who ain’t doing so pretty. Okay, my bad. They do play in Nashville.