Despite allowing the Hurricanes 2 goals in the first, the Capitals rallied back to win 5-3.  I’m noting the dreaded two goal lead in regards to the Canes, which shrank to a one goal lead after an Ovie goal with less than a minute to play in the first.  However, the Caps did end up winning by 2, but still. Two goal leads, my friend, two goal leads.

And despite allowing the Canes 3 goals, I still think the Caps played a phenomenal game.  See my shout-outs to about half the team (okay, maybe not that many) later on in the article, but the shout-outs are much deserved.  Carolina’s Jiri Tlusty had his first hat trick last night, but it just wasn’t enough.  The two points from last night’s game boosted the Caps to second in the Southeast standings and the Caps are sitting two points behind leading Winnipeg..and Winnipeg has played 2 games more than Washington.  Those two points also put the Caps ahead of the Canes in the standing.  It was just a huge win all around.

As I said, I’m giving shout outs to more than a few players, but they deserve it.

·   Backstrom:  He wins my top shout-out for last night’s game.  Nicky had four assists last night.  FOUR.  Let’s pause and think about this.  The Caps scored five goals.  He assisted on all but one of them.  He has 4 goals and 20 points in the last 17 games. Way to be, Nicky, way to be. 

·   Ribeiro:  He gets a close second shout-out.  This new Washington player has helped this team more than I thought he would.  He currently has 10 goals and 24 assists, although he has a -3 +/- rating. Edit: my mistake! Greenie scored the second goal. I guess I got too excited about Ribeiro and gave him extra props. Oops! Regardless, let’s hope the Caps keep Ribeiro.  The Center was a much needed asset to the Caps, and with Backstrom playing well and Brooksy back, the Caps finally seem to have a strong set of Centers.

·   Mike Green: Everyone knows that I may have a slight obsession with Mike Green. Although he could use a haircut (please get that Mohawk back), I’ll take the success he’s had since coming back from (yet another) injury. Green had two goals last night against the Canes, not to mention his game tying goal against Buffalo on the 30th that led to a shootout win for
the Caps.  Green has 5 points in his last 3 games, 4 of which come from two games with two goals.  Some people have given up on Green due to his injury riddled seasons, but I refuse to hate.  He’s back and proving his worth. I believe he is also the first Washington defender with a goal on a PP, so take that. Welcome back, Mike. STAY HEALTHY.

·    Ovechkin:  He seemed to be…well, not playing too hot for part of the season, but Ovie has now scored at least one goal in the past 9 games.  He now has 10 goals and 15 points in this nine game streak.  Not much else to say for fear of jinxing the Caps’ Captain.  Keep it up, #8.  And keep shooting from that sweet spot on power plays. 

·    Holtby – He also gets a shout out.  Despite allowing 3 goals last night, he stood on his head (especially toward the end of the second) and made some crazy stops.  I definitely thought a few of those Canes’ shots were going in, so yeah, thanks Holtby!

·   Johansson and Ward: This last shout-out goes to Johansson and Ward for their short-handed goal.  MoJo intercepted a pass at the line and took off down the ice with Ward on his right.  A beautiful, perfectly timed pass to Ward gave the Caps their 5th goal of the night (let me show more love to Nicky: it was the only goal in which Backstrom did not have an assist).
(Source)  Also, Ward took a puck to the face when it deflected off his stick.  This leads me to my next point.

 

Safety.  Or lack-thereof.  I’m assuming everyone has now seen (or heard about) Kevin Ware’s broken leg on Easter Sunday during March Madness. While it was more of a freak accident, it was gruesome and horrifying.  Thank God he seems to be recovering quickly. However, injuries are piling up in the NHL.  Last night, Canes’ Joni Pitkanen had a terrifying run in with the boards while trying to touch-up the puck for an icing call.  During the lockout there had been much discussion about changing the mark for icing from the line to the
spot.  While this most likely would make speedy races to the puck safer, it also means there would probably be more icing calls. Which I hate. And who’s to say there still wouldn’t
be injuries?  The rule wasn’t changed for this season as to not confuse the players, however I do expect it to be changed for next season. Read more here.

And there’s the issue of facemasks.  As I said, Ward took a puck to the jaw which looked like it may lead to a few missing teeth, and so did John “Weapons” Erskine
(seriously, that name needs to stick AND he put a big hit on Jordan Staal). Crosby took a puck to the face on Saturday …he definitely has a right to say that one hurt, though whining won’t change it.  Crosby is leading the league in points (56) and assists, with a ridiculous 41.  He’s now out indefinitely with a broken jaw.  Check out more details of the hit, and the video of it here.

So should the players be required to wear full facemasks? Most of them don’t. Every time someone gets hit in the face, my dad goes off on a tangent about how stupid it
is to not wear one.  While I agree, I just don’t see this being enforced any time in the near future.  Hockey players are tough.  They don’t really seem to give a poo about getting hurt
(well, except for Crosby....). I’m pretty sure there would be some angry players if a rule was enacted, and honestly, the last thing the NHL needs is another fight between the players and the league.  What do y’all think? Mandatory safety? Or players’ decision? I'm betting Crosby comes back with a full facemask. Or maybe not. Maybe he’ll just be back and continue whining.

I’d like to end this article with a shout-out to Semin who had a tripping call and also just stopped skating on a Canes 3 man attack which led to him missing a drop pass that would have led to a nice opportunity for a shot.  Woop woop.

For more details about last night’s game, more stories and news, and other happenings in the D.C. Hockey World, check out Washingtoncapitals.com

Until next time, Rock the Red J