The Capitals jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period on Wednesday, but there were still some nervous moments in the second period. Still, Washington was able to prevail over the Chicago Blackhawks 6-2. Here's why.
The top line
All three players on the Caps’ top line scored in the first period as the Caps jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Nicklas Backstrom opened up the scoring with his first goal in 22 games. Three minutes later, Wilson threw a puck on net that caught goalie Anton Forsberg off-guard. Just 29 seconds after that, Forsberg was able to stop a breakaway from Wilson, but he could not stop the rebound shot from the trailing Ovechkin. Ovechkin, Backstrom and Wilson combined for seven points in the first 20 minutes alone and chased Forsberg from the net less than 16 minutes into the game.
Braden Holtby and the penalty kill
Chicago made a real push to get back into this game after Washington took the 3-0 lead. Lance Bouma scored less than two minutes after Ovechkin extended the deficit to three. The Blackhawks fired a total of 39 shots at Braden Holtby, with 16 in each of the first two periods. The Caps also faced two power plays in the second period while the score was still 3-1. Had Chicago scored on either opportunity, they would have taken momentum and this would have been a very different game.
Lance Bouma’s second period penalty
You wouldn’t expect a run of the mill interference call in the second period to matter all that much with the score already 3-1, but it did. The Blackhawks came out swinging in the second period. The Caps…did not. When Bouma’s penalty was called, Chicago had 15 second period shots on goal while Washington had only one. The next goal in this game was going to be crucial to the outcome and it sure felt like the Blackhawks were going to get it. Bouma’s penalty, however, put the Caps squarely back in control. Despite facing a Chicago penalty kill ranked fourth in the league, Washington made short work of it as Brett Connolly scored to extend the Caps’ lead to 4-1. At that point, the outcome was no longer in doubt.