Friday, January 19, 2007

A+ Team Effort Ends Losing Streak

Semin, Kolzig Key Victory Over the Defending Stanley Cup Champions
Washington Capitals 5, Carolina Hurricanes 2

The fourth out of eight meetings on the season between these division rivals had a special meaning tonight. The Caps entered the game desperate to get anything positive going in their direction, while the Hurricanes looked to continue their dominance of the Southeast division, having not lost in regulation since October 26th.

Injuries forced the Capitals' head coach Glen Hanlon to juggle his defensive parings matching Steve Eminger with Shaone Morrisson, and Brian Pothier with Lawrence Nycholat. The changes seemed to spark the team as they played a consistent defensive system throughout the game. This defensive improvement helped spark their standout goaltender Olaf Kolzig who had an excellent game stopping 34 of Carolina's 36 shots. The key to Kolzig's performance was the fact that he was not allowing any rebounds, preventing the Hurricane's from any second chance opportunities.

The Caps came out blazing in the first period dominating the action early on and getting quality scoring chances from role players Boyd Gordon and Ben Clymer. But Hurricane's goaltender John Grahame was up to the task turning aside shot after shot. At the 13:00 minute mark though the Capitals got the bounce they needed when a Chris Clark dump in from just beyond the red line was deflected with a high stick by defenseman David Tanabe into an empty net vacated by Grahame. The kind of breaks this team had not been getting during their three game losing streak. Clark would add an empty net goal giving him his second of the night and 19th on the season.

The Hurricane's would play the majority of the game with only five healthy defenseman after Niclas Wallin left the game in the first period with a lower body injury.

Alexander Semin was spectacular scoring with a wicked wrist shot on a power-play goal off a Danius Zubrus faceoff win in the second period, and then providing what turned out to be the game winning goal on a breakaway at the 9:33 mark in the third period. It was Semin's 4th multi-goal game in the month of January giving him 27 goals on the season. In 16 division games this season, Semin has scored 14 goals.

Alex Ovechkin notched his 29th goal of the season on an empty net goal in the closing minute of the game to put the contest out of reach for good. The goal ties Ovechkin with Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier, Marian Hossa, and Teemu Selanne for the league lead.

Game Notes: The Capitals were once again dominated in the faceoff department 38-27. The only center with a winning percentage on the night was Brooks Laich who won 4 out of 5 for 80%... Rookie Jeff Schultz stepped in for the injured Mike Green and was solid playing 18:49 minutes of ice time and finishing the game +1 defensively. He even saw some action on the penalty kill... Kolzig won his 270th career game moving him into a tie for 30th place all-time with Gilles Meloche.


Fauxrumors said...

1) Does hanlon not like players getting hatricks? Seems whenever a player has 2 he goes out of his way to prevent a thrid.
2) Last night instead of putting Semin out there in the final minute with the game no longer in doubt, he put AO out there to get the empty netter.
3) We've seen him do this in previous games when a player has a pair, and doesn't play him in the final minute or two to get the 'trick

Hockey Amor said...

I just hope Gordo can bring some of that magic to his game.