Reporting Sky Kerstein
“Boston’s a good team,” Capitals Head Coach Dale Hunter said. “It’s a measuring stick for everybody. They won it last year [the Stanley Cup], so with top-end guys out and the other lines we all worked hard. I thought we had a real good work ethic tonight. Boston always prides themselves on work and they do work, but we matched it and came up with the victory.”
And it was a big victory as the Ovechkin-less Caps knock off the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins 5-3 as Mathieu Perreault comes up big in the absence of the great eight netting his first career hat trick.
“This is best feeling ever, getting three goals and we win the game,” Perreault said. “This is awesome.”
Every goal Perreault, who now has seven goals on the season, scored tonight gave the Caps a one goal lead. Two of his goals were in the second period and the one goal in the third occurred right after he spent two minuted in the box for high sticking Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara.
“I barely touched him [Chara], he’s 7 foot tall, I’m 5’8″, I was kinda pissed,” said Perreault who wasn’t happy with the call. “But I came back and got that bounce right to me and I put it [the puck] in the net.”
Cody Eakin got the Caps scoring going tonight when he shot the puck on net and Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask couldn’t handle it and the puck dribbled in.
“When you have guys out like that obviously it’s an opportunity for other guys, every line was just firing tonight,” Eakin said. “Playing the way they needed to, blocking shots, shooting the puck and I think playing the right way, so hopefully, to be successful we got to continue on that path.”
The Bruins are known as a very physical team, but the Caps really took it at them, out hitting them 30-16.
“It was part of the game plan is to hit back and I think they try and intimidate teams,” Caps defenseman Karl Alzner said. “You got to push back whatever you can, cause when they start to take liberties they just go and play and it’s hard to keep up with them.”
The Caps defense wasn’t great though as they gave up 32 shots and three goals, including one on the penalty kill. Rich Peverley got the scoring going on the night when he threw the puck in front of the net and the puck deflected off of Karl Alzner’s stick and in. Tyler Seguin picked off a bad John Carlson pass in the defensive zone and roofed it on Tomas Vokoun. While Brad Marchand put in a Dennis Seidenberg rebound and in.
But the defense had some positives, blocking 21 shots, four by Carlson, while Dennis Wideman had an empty net goal for his ninth of the season and Roman Hamrlik had his first multi-point game as a Capital.
Tomas Vokoun continued his hot play, stopping 29 shots on the way to his 20th win of the season.
“I think it was a good hockey game,” Caps defenseman Dennis Wideman said. “We played well, we limited their chances as much as we could. That’s a highly skilled team, they are going to get some chances. Again, Voky [Vokoun] played well for us and obviously Matt P [Perreault] had a great game.”
The Caps will continue to be without their Captain, Alex Ovechkin, for the first two games following the All-Star break as this was game one of a three game suspension. Also Ovechkin announced today that he will skip the All-Star game. The Caps will still have one representative, Dennis Wideman.
“I think it was one of the biggest of the year,” Caps forward Matt Hendricks said. “We stress that we didn’t have all of our skill in the line-up, we didn’t have our leader in Ovi [Alex Ovechkin]. We really knew we had to play as a team tonight; come together as a great hockey team and I think we did that. We had the fans behind us, it is nice to close out the first part of the season with a win at home going into break.”
The break is a week long and with such a long break for the Caps (26-19-3, 55 points), who go into the break leading the Southeast Division, it really stressed the importance of getting a win at Verizon Center (10-2 in their last 12 home games) tonight.
“You see where we are in the standings and every two points is huge,” Capitals Head Coach Dale Hunter said. “For the win tonight with some of the guys out, the guys buckled down and they won the game, they wanted to win it. They really wanted to win bad .”
Listen here to what Dale Hunter, Mathieu Perreault, Cody Eakin, Tomas Vokoun & Karl Alzner had to say following the win.
2nd 2:14 Eakin (4), Ward (9), Beagle (1)
2nd 2:55 Perreault (5), Semin (16), Hamrlik (5)
2nd 14:23 Perreault (6), unassisted
3rd 7:18 Perreault (7, first career hat trick), Hamrlik (6), Johansson (18)
3rd 19:33 EN Wideman (9), Brouwer (11), Halpern (10)
Dale Hunter Postgame Audio
Mathieu Perreault Postgame Audio
Cody Eakin Postgame Audio
Tomas Vokoun Postgame Audio
Karl Alzner Postgame Audio