How it happened: Alex Ovechkin snapped a five-game goalless drought as he scored his seventh game-winning goal of the season to finish off the Hurricanes in overtime. The Capitals' new line combinations appeared to do the trick, at least initially, as the team came out strong in the first period and tallied the game's first goal in the second. Carolina responded with a goal of their own in the second, however, and the two teams could not separate themselves in regulation.
What it means: With the two points, the Caps have now officially earned a playoff berth, the first team to do so this season. The win also gives Braden Holtby 42 for the season, breaking the franchise record of 41 held by Olaf Kolzig and Holtby himself.
Starting strong: Slow starts have been an issue of late for the Caps, but it wasn't on Tuesday as they looked dominant in the first period. Washington held a 10-8 edge in shots on goal and hit the post a whopping three times in the first period, but they walked away with nothing to show for it as the period ended in a scoreless tie.
Enough talk: The Caps did finally strike first thanks to a Justin Williams goal in the second period. When asked about the team's slow starts after practice on Monday Williams said, "To be honest, I'm kind of sick of talking about it." Williams then acted on his words on Tuesday as he tipped a pass from Jason Chimera past Carolina goalie Eddie Lack. It was just the third time in 16 games that the Caps have scored the first goal.
Shuffling success: Going into the game Jay Beagle appeared out of place on the top line on paper, but nobody looked out of place in the new lines over the course of the game. Granted, one game is a small sample size and the longer these lines stick, the more those weaknesses will make their presence felt. For one game, however, the line shuffling appeared to have the desired affect. The team started better and each line contributed scoring opportunities. With his assist, Chimera also snapped a nine-game pointless streak.
What's next: The Caps return to practice on Thursday after an off day on Wednesday. They will next host Barry Trotz's former team, the Nashville Predators, on Friday. It will be the backend of a back-to-back for the Predators who host the New York Islanders on Thursday. CSN Mid-Atlantic will honor Craig Laughlin during the broadcast of that game for his 25 seasons of service as its Washington Capitals game analyst.
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