The Caps went through the motions for most of the game, but thanks to another terrific performance by Tomas Vokoun, the Caps are back in first place in the Southeast Division for the first first time since November with a 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.
“Again he [Vokoun] played a solid game, give us a chance to win,” Capitals Head Coach Dale Hunter said on Vokoun.
Vokoun stopped a season high 43 shots while Alexander Semin, who blasted one through traffic, and Dmitry Orlov lit the lamp for the Caps. For Orlov that was his first career goal as he put in a rebound from almost behind the net.
“It was really nice to see that, he’s had some pretty decent chances,” Caps defenseman Karl Alzner said on Orlov. “Some good looks and he seems to always just barely miss, it’s nice that he can finally get that one out of the way and hopefully it opens up the flood gates, could be a high scoring defenseman.”
The Caps though didn’t play one of their better games as the Carolina Hurricanes shot the puck shot the puck 82 times, 44 shots on goal, 25 that were blocked and 13 misses. While the Caps only shot the puck 38 times, 24 shots on goal, eight that were blocked with six misses. But the Caps did out hit the Hurricanes 36 to 21 with Alex Ovechkin leading the way with five.
“They [Hurricanes] played last night and were tired,” Dale Hunter said. “They played a simple game and tried not to give us any equal off-man rushes. They played safe.”
The one goal the Caps gave up was late in the second period when Jussi Jokinen put in a power play goal on a pretty open net in front.
“Obviously, it was a little bit of a sleeper game today,” Caps forward Jason Chiamera said. “It was an afternoon game with no skate this morning so guys were off their routine. Kind of a weird game to play in. It was a good win. Ugly wins are just as good as pretty wins.”
One weird part happened early in the second period when Brooks Laich went hard to the net and the puck went in. One ref called it a goal, but they all got together and another ref overruled him saying it was “incidental contact”.
“Doesn’t matter now, but, one ref said it was ok but the other ones overruled him,” Caps Hunter said on the play.
The Caps have won three straight at home, 9-1 in their last ten overall at home and 7-2 in their last nine games. They are 24-17-2, 50 points on the season and lead their division for the first time since November. They hope to sweep their four game home stand as the New York Islanders come to town on Tuesday.
“We’re not a team that peaked too early, that’s for sure,” Caps forward Mike Knuble said. “We’re going to peak in March I hope.”
Check out what Dale Hunter, Tomas Vokoun, Jason Chimera, Brooks Laich, Karl Alzner and Mike Knuble had to say following the win.
Locker Room Video (Chimera & Vokoun)
Dale Hunter Press Conference
2nd 16:57 Semin (11), Johansson (17), Ovechkin (17)
3rd 1:12 Orlov (1), Chimera (8)
Dale Hunter Postgame Audio
Tomas Vokoun Postgame Audio
Jason Chimera Postgame Audio
Brooks Laich Postgame Audio
Karl Alzner Postgame Audio
Mike Knuble Postgame Audio