Friday, March 9, 2007

Caps Shutout Again

Offense Fails to Produce for the Second Straight Game
Carolina Hurricanes 3, Washington Capitals 0
Friday, March 9th 2007
(Photo Courtesy of Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Traditionally when these two teams get together the games have been high scoring. In fact coming into tonight's contest they have combined for an average of 7 goals per game. But that was not the case tonight as good goaltending, along with solid defensive play by both teams led to a low scoring and uneventful evening.

Andrew Ladd finally broke the scoreless battle 1:42 into the second period after the Capitals failed to clear a loose puck in front of their own net. A couple of whacks later and Ladd had his 8th goal of the season.

The game stayed 1-0 until midway point of the final period when a Donald Brashear turnover in his own zone directly resulted in Justin Williams putting the game away as he snapped a snot into the top left corner of the net. The two goal Carolina lead was more than enough for Cam Ward who stopped 25 shots on his way to his second career regular season shutout.

The bright point on the night for the Capitals was the performance of goaltender Brent Johnson who stopped 42 shots despite falling to 5-12-6 on the year after taking the loss. Johnson has possibly 2 or 3 games remaining as the number one goaltender before Olie Kolzig makes his return.

The Caps welcomed Chris Clark and Boyd Gordon back to the lineup and they, combined with winger Brooks Laich, did a nice job playing the role of the shutdown line. Each time Hurricanes' coach Peter Laviolette sent out their top line it was Gordon's line that was called on. They did their job as only Laich finished with a negative plus/minus rating.

Washington now has 48 hours to try to turn things around and find some line combinations that can produce offensively before they travel to New York on Saturday to take on the Islanders. They have 14 games remaining and still find themselves needing ten points in the standings to match their total of 70 last year.

Game Notes:

Steve Eminger and Brian Muir were the healthy scratches.