Thursday, September 20, 2007

Senators Rally, Top Caps

Caps Blow Two Goal Lead, Fall in Battle of the Capitols

Ottawa Senators 5, Washington Capitals 4
(Photo Courtesy of Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)

Thanks to a tip from Japers’ Rink, I was able to get my first taste of Washington Capitals hockey tonight courtesy of

Here were the lines as they started the game. Keep in mind that they were changed up even more than normal during the course of the game due to the fact that this was a preseason game.

Line 1: Ovechkin, Kozlov, Fleischmann
Line 2: Klepis, Nylander, Backstrom
Line 3: Pettinger, Gordon, Clark
Line 4: Laich, Sutherby, Bradley
Defensive Pairing 1: Morrisonn, Pothier
Defensive Pairing 2: Poti, Green
Defensive Pairing 3: Schultz, Jurcina

Michal Neuvirth was scheduled to get the start to night according to the Rogers Television commentators. However he suffered an injury during the pre-game skate and veteran Olaf Kolzig took his place in the lineup. Despite the short notice, Kolzig was sharp early stopping Antoine Vermette who delivered a nice shot from the slot just two minutes in.

The Capitals first power play unit saw Kozlov centering Ovechkin on the left and Clark on the right, with Green and Poti on the point. Ovechkin took a hooking call during the team’s first man advantage nullifying the extra man.

At about the 16:50 mark of the 1st period, captain Chris Clark got the scoring started on the power play as he knocked home the rebound off of a Tom Poti shot from the right faceoff circle.

Senators’ captain Daniel Alfredsson responded less than a minute later as he finished off an excellent play by Jason Spezza. The playmaking center maneuvered from behind the Caps net towards the left side and fed Alfredsson cross ice who fired the one-timer over Kolzig’s catching glove into the upper right corner tying the game 1-1.

With only 30 seconds remaining in the opening period, Tomas Fleischmann provided the first evidence that he deserves a roster spot with the Caps entering the offensive zone and finding Ovechkin making a move towards the net. His pass deflected off of Senators defenseman Chris Phillips and past goaltender Martin Gerber, giving Washington a 2-1 lead heading into the intermission.

Back to back penalties to Matt Pettinger and Jeff Schultz started off the second period for the Caps. But they were able to kill both of them off and later in the period notched their second power play goal of the game. Tom Poti took the faceoff win from Viktor Kozlov and delivered a devastating slap shot from the point that found the net cleanly making the lead 3-1.

That lead however would be short lived. In a 4 on 4 situation, Jason Spezza tapped home the rebound following Christoph Schubert shot from the left board cutting the lead to 3-2 at the 10:05 mark. Minutes later, youngster Nick Fuligno took a nice pass from Vermette and moved in on Kolzig all alone. He deeked to the forehand before backhanding the puck over Olie’s glove, tying the game at 3.

The 3rd period started out the same as the 2nd as back to back penalties to Nylander and Pettinger gave the Senators a 5 on 3. This time Ottawa would take advantage as Dany Heatley tapped home the rebound from an Alfredsson shot from the point, giving his team a 4-3 lead. Chris Kelly would follow that up moments later finishing a nice one timer from Fuligno past Kolzig to stretch the lead to two goals.

With about four minutes to go, from behind the Senators net, Fleischmann found Ovechkin in front as Ovy beat Elliott to record his first goal of the preseason, making the final score 5-4.

Players who stood out to me: Tomas Fleischmann, Jakub Klepis, Tom Poti, Brian Sutherby, and Nicklas Backstrom (wow does this guy have excellent puck control skills)

Game Notes: Former Capitals defenseman Lawrence Nycholat dressed for the Senators and was paired up with Wade Redden. He provided the hit of the night, drilling Matt Bradley with an open ice hit near the Senators blueline. After the next whistle Nycholat found himself in a scrap with Brian Sutherby who stuck up for his fallen teammate, challenging the former Hershey Bears standout to a fight….. Brian Elliott replaced Senators goaltender Martin Gerber halfway through the 2nd period.

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