The Capitals got some revenge from their 4-1 loss six days ago to the Winnipeg Jets, beating them 4-3 in overtime at Verizon Center in a game they didn’t stop playing with energy the entire time.
Alexander Semin, who was a healthy scratch for the first time since 2003-2004 on Monday, got the scoring going in the first when a long John Carlson outlet pass found Alex Ovechkin off the boards and Ovechkin leading a 2 on 1 got it by a Winnipeg Jet right to Alexander Semin’s stick and Semin nailed a one timer, his fifth of the season to give the Caps an early 1-0 advantage.
“I thought he played a really good game,” Capitals Head Coach Bruce Boudreau said on Semin’s game tonight.
“He was in the game today,” Ovechkin added on Semin’s game. “He used his size, he used his skill and you can see how he was a little bit hungry today”
But the lead didn’t last long as the Jets came back just under eight minutes later when Andrew Ladd beat Tomas Vokoun on a two on one breakaway that started with neutral zone defensive breakdown. But the Caps were back out in front 12 seconds later when Brooks Laich found a cutting Jason Chimera who snuck it by Ondrej Pavelec for his seventh goal of the season and a 2-1 Caps lead. But just under three minutes later the Jets tied it up again when Kyle Wellwood got a lucky bounce off a deflected shot and had a wide open net. It was all tied at two after the first, while the Jets led on shots 10-9.
In the second the Caps out shot the Jets 14-9, but only had one goal to show for it. Nicklas Backstrom snuck it by Pavelec by going to the net and putting in a rebound. For Backstrom, who turned 24 today, it’s his seventh goal of the season. There wasn’t any scoring the rest of the period, but their was a big momentum change when the Jets had a 5 on 3 for 1:20, but Brooks Laich broke his stick right off the face off so it was almost like a 5 on 2 that the Caps eventually killed.
“Big turning point in the game,” Boudreau said on the 5 on 2. “I thought. You know it got the crowd really engaged in the game and it got the bench really up. They did a great job out there. [Assistant coaches] Dean [Evason] and [Bob Woods] Woody do the video with them. [Explaining] what to do and [what] the [visiting] team’s tendencies [are], but it’s something you can’t practice because it is all about blocking shots and the last thing you want your team in practice to do is break an ankle or something blocking shots.”
In the third the Caps had all the energy out shooting the Jets 13-6 and Mike Knuble had a questionable goal waved off for Matt Hendrick incidental contact with the goaltender and just a few seconds later the Jets once again tied it up when Bryan Little beat Tomas Vokoun on a shot Vokoun would’ve liked back.
“I think bad goal by me,” Vokoun said. “I don’t know really, I just kinda stumble, just didn’t play that right.”
The Caps and Jets went to overtime in a game the Caps really didn’t want to or even deserve to lose and they didn’t. Dennis Wideman had some nifty moves going by some Winnipeg defenders to find a wide open Jason Chimera right in front of the net and Chimera tapped it home for the overtime win only 1:52 into the extra frame. For Chimera that’s his Caps leading eighth goal of the season which is pretty remarkable for a guy who only had ten total goals a year ago.
“He’s been great,” Boudreau said on Chimera. “He’s been engaged. He’s on one of those rolls where he hasn’t been on in a while. He had 10 [goals] last year, so I am pretty happy for him because he is a guy that comes, he works every day, he’s always got a smile on his face, he keeps the team loose. It is good to see good things happen to good people.”
Tomas Vokoun had 22 saves on the way to his tenth win of the season.
“We don’t change our game plan because things don’t go our way at the moment,” Vokoun said. “That’s important sometimes. We were just patient and no matter what is going on, we play the same way and it works for us.”
The Capitals are 8-1-1 at home this season, 5-1-0 against the Southeast Division, and have won their second in a row after their four game losing streak. The Caps also had one of their most physical games of the season, out hitting the Jets 35-27 including ten hits by Troy Brouwer. Alexander Semin ended up a +2 with three shots on goal in his game back from being a healthy scratch. The Caps don’t have a lot of time to rest as they host the New York Rangers on Friday at 4pm.
One side note: Caps forward Joel Ward was a healthy scratch tonight after sleeping in and missing a team meeting yesterday.
1st 5:23 Semin (5), Ovechkin (9), Carlson (7)
1st 13:33 Chimera (7), Laich (9), Alzner (6)
2nd 3:08 Backstrom (7), Brouwer (6), Orlov (1, first NHL point)
OT 1:52 Chimera (8), Wideman (10), Johansson (6)
Check out what Bruce Boudreau, Alex Ovechkin, Jason Chimera, Nicklas Backstrom, Tomas Vokoun & Jeff Schultz had to say following the win.
Locker Room Interviews Video (Jason Chimera, Alex Ovechkin, Tomas Vokoun, Jeff Schultz)
Bruce Boudreau Press Conference Video
Bruce Boudreau Postgame Audio
Alex Ovechkin Postgame Audio
Jason Chimera Postgame Audio
Nicklas Backstrom Postgame Audio
Tomas Vokoun Postgame Audio
Jeff Schultz Postgame Audio