Alexander Ovechkin’s two goals less than thirty seconds apart early in the second period.
It Was Over When…
Matt Bradley stretched the Caps lead to 4-1 early in the third.
The Washington Capitals defeated the San Jose Sharks 4-1, to end a couple of ‘skids’ on Thursday night. Most importantly, the Caps ended their 4-game losing streak with the win; it was also the first time the Capitals have beat the Sharks in their last twelve meetings – a phenomenal run that dates back to February 2oth, 1999. Two Ovechkin goals less than half a minute apart at the beginning of the second period, proved to be the difference.
There was a tremendous tempo from the Caps to start the game, and they forced some early penalties from the Sharks. Washington found themselves with a two-man advantage, and Alexander Semin opened the scoring at 7:21 of the first period. Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom deftly played the puck back and forth, until Backstrom beautifully picked out Semin sneaking down the back-side, who slapped the puck into a yawning net. Mike Green also assisted. 1-0 Caps. Video.
San Jose spent a large part of the opening frame in the penalty box, with five minors in the first eighteen minutes. Their penalty kill units did a great job of keeping them in the game and they were rewarded when Benn Ferriero scored his second of the season at 14:07 to even the score at 1-1. Kent Huskins and Scott Nichol assisted on the goal.
When the Capitals came out for the second period, Semyon Varlamov had taken over in net, due to (later disclosed) back spasms for Jose Theodore.
The young Russian goaltender didn’t have to wait long for his team to get him support and a lead; Alexander Ovechkin crashed the net and tipped in a gorgeous backhand pass that Mike Knuble saucered on to his stick – Brendan Morrison picked up the second assist. Ovie ended a three-game scoring drought with his sixth goal of the season, and Washington had a 2-1 lead. Video.
Just twenty-eight seconds later, Ovechkin made it seven on the season. Knuble took a Morrison pass at the top of the right circle, and fired a quick shot on Evgeni Nabokov; Nabokov let an awful rebound get away, and Ovechkin was there to slap it into the net. 3-1 Caps just 3:23 into the second period. Video.
The outburst from the Russian sensation seemed to suck the wind out of the sails of the San Jose Sharks. Washington really controlled the game from there on out, and stretched their lead to 4-1 at 5:11 of the third. Matt Bradley was parked at the side of the net, and snapped in the rebound from a Milan Jurcina point shot, to give the Caps an insurmountable three goal lead. Video.
Varlamov was a perfect 15-for-15 in relief of Theodore, and earned a big, confidence building win.
Ovechkin’s goal(s) were his first ever against the Sharks, the only team he had never scored against… Washington only drew three penalties – a much more disciplined effort… there were actually chants of, “Varly, Varly, Varly…” late in the third period – he didn’t really have that much to do, but it was novel nevertheless… Bruce Boudreau juggled the line-up and considering that they got scoring from three lines and played exponentially better defensively, you’d have to call the first game with the new lines a success.
2 Goals; 13 shots; 20:53 minutes of ice time