Teemu Selanne went off on the Caps for two, Saku Koivu added another to give the Ducks a 3-0 advantage, but it wasn’t enough as the Caps outscored the Ducks 5-1 from just past the midway point in the second to win their 8th game of the season and end a two game slide 5-4 in overtime.
Nicklas Backstrom came up big with the game tying goal with just 42 seconds remaining with the goalie pulled and then nailing the game winner 2:18 into overtime to complete the comeback.
“I saw Schultzie [Jeff Schultz] threw it on net I think, and passed it to Ovi [Alex Ovechkin] and then, I was just lucky I think and I just tried to get rid of it right away” said Backstrom, who also got the hard hat, on his game winning and second goal of the night.
Capitals Head Coach Bruce Boudreau was asked following the game on why Alex Ovechkin, who struggled for the most part tonight, wasn’t on the ice with a minute left in regulation,
“I thought other guys were better than him and I thought it was just a chance that other guys might score the goal.”
The Capitals third line continued there stellar season, Joel Ward put the Caps first one in to gain some momentum and he assisted on the second goal as well when Dennis Wideman nailed his third of the season. In all, the Caps third line was on the ice for three of the Caps five goals tonight and Brooks Laich had three assists.
“I think that’s what were count upon, is to give some energy, try to relieve some of the pressure off some of the bigger guys up front” Ward said talking about the play of the third line, “If we can do that and wear teams down, slowly, we know it’s a long game, so if we can do that, opportunities will create for everybody.”
Troy Brouwer, who has struggled this season transitioning to the Capitals, had huge goal giving the Caps momentum when he beat Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller with kind of a fluke goal hitting his pads then going in the air and falling behind him. The Caps were down 4-2 at that point past the midway point of the third and the crowd got right back into the game.
The Caps dominated shots on goal 40-15, but the four goals Tomas Vokoun gave up weren’t really his fault. With Mike Green out and John Erskine making his season debut coming back from offseason shoulder surgery, the Caps shuffled defenseman all night. Boudreau talked about splitting up Dennis Wideman and Roman Hamrlik because they weren’t playing well, but did praise another defenseman.
“With John I was really, really pleasantly surprised. He looked like he didn’t miss a beat.” Boudreau said on Erskine’s play, “He’s probably pretty tired right now, but I thought he played a great game. Considering he’s been off for so long and hasn’t even had a meaningful scrimmage yet.”
Earlier in the day, the Capitals sent defenseman Sean Collins to AHL Hershey and brought up top prospect Cody Eakin from Hershey. Eakin ended up with 13:19 of playing time and three shots on goal in his NHL debut.
“He handled himself quite admirably.” Boudreau said on the rookie Eakin, “You can see he can skate with these guy, I thought he was going to score on his first shift.”
The Caps ended the night 0 for 3 on the power play, but gave up a goal on the lone Ducks advantage. The Capitals have a big weekend on the road with a Friday night tilt in Carolina to play the rival Hurricanes and then a Saturday night showdown in Long Island against the Islanders. The Caps are 6-0 at home, but only 2-2 on the road.
2 13:23 Ward (3), Laich (4), Chimera (2)
2 16:33 Wideman (3), Laich (5), Ward (3)
3 11:42 Brouwer (2), Erskine (1), Wideman (7)
3 19:18 Backstrom (3), Chimera (3), Laich (6)
OT 2:18 Backstrom (4), Ovechkin (5), Schultz (3)
Check out what Bruce Boudreau, Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Laich, Tomas Vokoun, Dennis Wideman, Joel Ward & Cody Eakin had to say after the big win.
Locker Room Interviews Video (Nicklas Backstrom, Dennis Wideman, Joel Ward, Cody Eakin)
Bruce Boudreau Post-Game Press Conference
Bruce Boudreau Postgame Audio
Nicklas Backstrom Postgame Audio
Brooks Laich Postgame Audio
Tomas Vokoun Postgame Audio
Dennis Wideman Postgame Audio
Joel Ward Postgame Audio
Cody Eakin Postgame Audio