Thursday, January 21, 2010
By Joe Beninati
The satisfaction is double when a 6-3 win comes at the expense of your arch rival. The Capitals played this game with a playoff intensity and by the third period the defending Stanley Cup Champion Penguins were tired of matching it.The Capitals were the better team very early in the game, putting a ton of pressure on their ex-teammate Brent Johnson. The veteran netminder played his heart out to keep the Caps off the board in the first ten minutes. At the other end, Jose Theodore was his own worst enemy, mishandling a long dump in that turned out to be a gift wrapped goal for Sidney Crosby. The resilient Caps fought back to tie in the opening period when Mike Knuble drove hard to the net to clean up an Alex Ovechkin rush. Ovechkin, Knuble, and Backstrom played with a much better tempo tonight compared to the Red Wings game earlier this week.The second period was a high-scoring extravaganza. Eric Fehr and Ovechkin sandwiched their tallies around a couple for Pittsburgh. Ovechkin converted an old school wrist shot
for his power play goal. The Penguins received the first three power plays of the game and did not cash them in. As it turned out the Caps would be a perfect 2-for-2 with two power play goals coming on just two shots.The first four minutes of the third period had to make Caps fans very pleased. The indescribably skilled hands of Alex Semin sent Tomas Fleischmann in on a breakway and Flash put it away, looking very much like a seasoned pro. When Backstrom caught Johnson leaning off the post 53 seconds later, D.C. had a much deserved lead to protect down the stretch.There have been times this year when they've had issues putting games away in these situations, but this was not one of them. Theodore bounced back from his early bobble very well. The defense corps, which was without an injured Mike Green, repeatedly
turned away Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, who played on the same line for most of the third period. ShaoneMorrisonn turned in an inspired performance and not just for his two assists.The Caps won the faceoff battle by a mile and delivered the most jarring hit of the night. This win was a very positive step. A big victory in the backyard of your biggest enemy and a job very well done. See you on Saturday with a game against Phoenix on CSN.