The scoring was quick and the Capitals never trailed in their first meeting against hometown hero, Olaf Kolzig. Having spent the previous 16 seasons in net for Washington, the crowd found it hard not to chant his name.
Even Kolzig acknowledged the love being displayed for him, as the 17,932 faithful fans chanted “Olie, Olie,” and he mouthed a swift thank you.
Unfortunately for Godzilla, the night’s best performance belonged to the Capitals' current netminder, Brent Johnson.
Johnnie was outstanding for his fourth straight start. He finished his evening stopping 34 shots with a respectable .944 save percentage, and the good guys in red rallied around their pocket ace with a solid 4-2 win.
The help he needed, to place serious doubt about Jose Theodore’s future, as the first string goalie started early.
At the 8:20 mark of the first period, Donald Brashear pushed the puck up the ice on the right side of the board and found Tom Poti trailing the play. Poti slapped the biscuit past Kolzig’s left shoulder to make it 1-0 and book his second goal in as many games.
Less than two minutes later, Boudreau’s “puck handling defenseman” Mike Green capitalized on a cross ice pass from Alex Ovechkin, and scored from the top of the right circle for a 2-0 lead.
Little used forward Eric Fehr was the last to join the puck party, firing a slap shot from the top of the left circle to make it 3-0 with 3:36 left in the first period.
Tampa Bay’s highly touted goals-given-up streak was stopped dead in its tracks tonight. Olaf and his defense surrendered three goals on 12 shots taken in the first period.
Brent Johnson didn’t feel much pressure until the latter stages of the second period—when Tampa Bay finally got on the board.
Gary Roberts sent in a rebound shot on the power play, and later scored a meaningless goal with just over 44 seconds left in the game.
Kolzig stopped 26 shots total but fell to 1-2-1 for the season.
Alex Ovechkin broke a nine-game scoreless streak—the longest of his career. He redirected a pass from Alex Semin with four minutes left on the clock for only his third goal of the season.
Jeff Halpern, Matt Pettinger, and Olaf Kolzig have played more games for Washington than any other current player on the active roster.
The Capitals are now 6-0-1 at the Verizon Center—the only Eastern Conference team without a loss in regulation.