“The guys were blocking the shots and paying the price,” Michal Neuvirth, who stopped 30 of 30 shots, told the Caps’ Mike Vogel after Friday’s game against the Canadiens.
With a quote like that, you hardly need to be told the Capitals won handily, 4-1. Blocking shots and paying the price, well, pays off.
Coach Dean Evason once told me that of all the players on the Capitals’ roster, the guy who most resembled former NHLer Bob Gainey in his sense of the tempo of a game was Brooks Laich.
And Laich’s assessment of Friday’s performance?
“I thought we played very controlled tonight, ” Laich said. “I thought we were calm.”
The takeaway from the 60 minutes: the Capitals won a game they were supposed to win and needed to win–and there’s still loads of room for improvement.
The line of Jason Chimera, Alex Semin, and Mathieu Perreault found a rhythm from their first shift that eventually accounted for half of the Capitals’ goals. A laser shot by Alex Ovechkin and an empty net goal by Joel Ward finished the scoring for the Capitals.
They also, however, gave up a shorthanded goal to Rene Bourque (though the crowd expressed their displeasure when his goal was announced). And they failed to convert on six power play chances. There are still too many pointless and ineffective passes.
The game tonight against Toronto will be the last time the Capitals play before the NHL trade deadline; if it is indeed the last time we see one of these guys in a Capitals sweater, they gave the home crowd a satisfactory final salute Friday with the win.
Check out more game analysis below with Ted Starkey: