In front of their 107th consecutive sellout at Verizon Center, the Caps had an all to typical game, coming back from a goal down only to take the lead, then blow the lead late in the third, but comeback for the win in overtime 4-3 to start the season.
The Canes got on the board first with a beautiful tic-tac-toe goal beating Michal Neuvirth, but just over two minutes later John Carlson found a streaking Alexander Semin who beat Canes goalie Brian Boucher with a pretty move to tie the game up. Jason Chimera, who has been known not to have the greatest hands in the business, used his wheels and showed why he is the fastest man on the team as he beat the defense and snuck one up and by Boucher to give the Caps a late lead going to the third.
But the Canes came back with two in the third, including one with the goalie pulled late in the third, while the Caps could only muster one off a Brooks Laich 5 on 3 power play goal and the Caps had their first overtime of the young season. At the end of the third Alexander Semin got a boarding call, which will probably be looked at by the league, to put the Caps on the penalty kill to start overtime.
The Caps got some luck a minute in a half into overtime as the Hurricanes got a penalty and the Caps got to go on the power play once the Semin minor was over and they took full advantage of it. Defenseman Mike Green beat Brian Boucher five hole for the game winner only 24 seconds after Semin left the box for the win.
Capitals forward Jason Chimera talked about the win following the game, “We came away with a big win. It was a character win. Anytime they tie it up, it is kind of an emotional letdown, but we got our guard back up, which is nice.”
Michal Neuvirth had a terrific game stopping 28 of 31 shots, none of the goals that went in were his fault and he stopped four in overtime alone. Boudreau said after the game, “in the overtime he was great.”
The Capitals went two for five on the power play which is a good sign after struggling most of last season. Capitals Head Coach Bruce Boudreau said after the game, “When our power play is scoring, we’re usually successful.” Mike Green also added, “special teams, especially power plays are going to win you games and that was the case tonight.”
Also the big story was Alex Ovechkin leaving Tuesday for Russia for his uncle’s funeral and arriving last night. Boudreau said after the game, “I thought he was fine” and also added “he’ll be better Monday then he was today, I thought today he was adequate.” Ovechkin had 20:38 of ice time and had two shots on goal, while having four shots of his blocked.
New Caps defenseman Roman Hamrlik led the Caps with 23:18 time on ice and also blocked five shots. Nicklas Backstrom went 15 of 25 on faceoffs, while Brooks Laich went 10 of 16 and Jeff Halpern went 5 of 12. Troy Brouwer led the team with six hits and Mike Knuble paced the Caps with four shots on goal.
The Capitals have practice tomorrow at 11:30 from Kettler Capitals Iceplex and then will play their next game Monday from Verizon Center against the Tampa Bay Lightning who swept them out of the second round of the playoffs last season.
2nd 14:28 Semin (1), Carlson (1)
2nd 19:39 Chimera (1), Ward (1), Alzner (1)
3rd 16:15 PP Laich (1), Ovechkin (1), Backstrom (1)
OT 2:24 PP Green (1), Wideman (1), Backstrom (2)
Check out what Capitals Head Coach Bruce Boudreau had to say about pulling it out in overtime, the third line, Alex Ovechkin and much more following the win tonight.
Bruce Boudreau Postgame Press Conference
Also listen to what Alex Ovechkin, Mike Green, Brooks Laich, Jason Chimera, Joel Ward & Michal Neuvirth had to say following the overtime win.
Locker Room Interviews (Mike Green, Brooks Laich, Jason Chimera)
Alex Ovechkin Postgame Audio
Mike Green Postgame Audio
Brooks Laich Postgame Audio
Jason Chimera Postgame Audio
Joel Ward Postgame Audio
Michal Neuvirth Postgame Audio