Reporting Sky Kerstein
For the fourth home game in a row the Caps get on the board first as they win their fourth overall game in a row over the Flames 3-1. The Caps are now 9-0-0 with Mike Green, who made his return tonight for the first time since November 11th, in the line up this season and they get him back right when Alex Ovechkin is heating up.
Ovechkin nailed his 17th of the season when just 36 seconds into the game Rene Bourque got a holding call giving the Caps an early power play. Thirty-five seconds later Alex Ovechkin nailed a one timer set up by Marcus Johansson and the Caps got their fastest goal of the season just a minute and eleven seconds into the game.
“We feel pretty comfortable right now and we played a solid game,” Ovechkin said.
The Caps ended a pretty fast period with few whistles up 1-0 and 8-4 on shots.
In the second, the Caps continued to take advantage of the power play. Troy Brouwer this time put in an Alex Ovechkin shot from the point rebound to make it 2-0. The Flames did come back with one of their own when Jerome Iginla found Curtis Glencross in front and snuck the puck by Karl Alzner and John Carlson to get it to Glencross and an open net. But later in the period Nicklas Backstrom found Dennis Wideman in front for a one timer and for Backstrom his third assist of the game to give the Caps a commanding 3-1 lead heading to the third.
The Caps came into the game 11-0-0 on the season when leading after two periods and are now 12-0-0 after a solid third period of scoreless hockey. But in the final period Nicklas Backstrom took an elbow from Rene Bourque but only took one more shift before the Caps pulled him for “precautionary” reasons. Capitals Head Coach Dale Hunter said following the game that they’ll know more about Backstrom tomorrow.
Tomas Vokoun had another great game for his fourth win in a row stopping 18 shots, but a few of them were point blank shots that he stoned the Flames on.
“Our goalie [Vokoun] played unbelievable” Ovechkin said. “He [Vokoun] made great saves and gave us a little breathing [room].”
But the best save of the night was when Vokoun was out of position and Dmitry Orlov stopped a puck with his stick.
Mike Green, who missed the past 23 games with a groin injury, skated for 15:43, had two penalties, blocked two shots, had three hits and had no shots on goal.
“[I need to] just get the rust out of my game,” Green said. “I’ll be back to normal soon, but it will take some time.”
“No, not even close,” Green added when asked if he is where he wants his game to be.
Ovechkin now has 11 points, seven goals and four assists, during his seven game point streak. Ovechkin also has four straight multi-point games. Nicklas Backstrom is also playing great, had three assists on the night and he has one goal and seven assists during his five game point streak.
“Everybody’s buying into everything and working very hard,” Forward Marcus Johansson said. “That’s the most important thing. No one is taking it easy. Everyone is working their hardest every night.”
Special teams for the Caps were also great as they went two for three on the power play and four for four on the penalty kill.
The Caps will have a few days to get healthy, Alexander Semin missed tonight’s game with an undisclosed injury, as they don’t play again until Saturday when they are in San Jose for a quick two game west coast swing.
Check out what Dale Hunter, Mike Green, Alex Ovechkin, Dennis Wideman, Troy Brouwer & Tomas Vokoun had to say following the win.
Locker Room Video (Alex Ovechkin, Dennis Wideman, Troy Brouwer, Mike Green)
Dale Hunter Postgame Video
1st 1:11 PP Ovechkin (17), Johansson (14), Backstrom (27)
2nd 8:49 PP Brouwer (11), Ovechkin (16), Backstrom (28)
2nd 17:01 Wideman (7), Backstrom (29), Johansson (15)
Dale Hunter Postgame Audio
Mike Green Postgame Audio
Alex Ovechkin Postgame Audio
Dennis Wideman Postgame Audio
Troy Brouwer Postgame Audio
Tomas Vokoun Postgame Audio