Wednesday, December 23, 2009
By Joe Beninati
We all know by now that this team doesnt mind putting on a show. They were determined to entertain the fans at Verizon Center tonight, who came to the rink in a festive pre-holiday mood. The Capitals owned the first seven minutes of the game.
The top line of Semin, Oveckhkin and Backstrom was passing the puck in machine-gun fashion.
Nicklas could have scored twice in the first two minutes. On the one he did convert, he took a page from the Ovechkin playbook with a wicked one-timer that gave Ryan Miller no chance.
Mike Green gave the Caps some breathing room with a slap shot that tipped off Derek Roy and continued to make life miserable for Miller.
The first 20 minutes were just about textbook for how the Caps can be one of the best teams in the league.
The second 20 minutes werent nearly as strong. The Sabres rebounded and looked much more like the leaders of the Northeast division that they are.
When Buffalo is right, their game revolves around speed and creating offense in transition. Paul Gaustad delivered on an odd-man rush to scare the Caps a bit.
Brendan Morrison then delivered a highlight-reel trick shot in the second period, one he said he hadnt scored on in some 17 years.
The game was sealed in the third period, when the Caps previously idled power play finally got the chance to go to work.
After a wise timeout from Bruce Boudreau, Backstrom and Ovechkin scored pretty goals, dissecting the Sabres defense and the magnificent Miller, who would not be enough tonight.
Michal Neuvirths confidence is growing. He looked very comfortable making his 30-some stops to pick up a second straight win for himself.
Please accept my warmest holiday wishes for a Merry Christmas. The Devils come to D.C. on Saturday for another showdown of first place teams, and it should be a lot of fun.