When the Washington Capitals fell behind 3-0 to the Boston Bruins in the first period, it looked like it was going to be another one of ‘those nights’. Fortunately coach Adam Oates didn’t see it that way, managed to keep his team focused, and was rewarded with a sensational comeback from his team when Eric Fehr scored a beautiful goal in overtime to steal the two points.
The Bruins played almost a perfect road period in the first. Looking up some stats and NHL betting odds to see what the Caps were up against last night, the Bruins had lost only three regulation games coming into the game – only one of them on the road. For the first twenty minutes on tuesday, it looked like that record would stay intact for at least another day.
Boston struck first on a penalty shot after Brad Marchand was pulled down on a short-handed breakaway. John Carlson fell down trying to track down Marchand on the breakaway, and Alex Ovechkin was forced to hook him from behind drawing the penalty shot. Marchand made the penalty shot look easy, beating Braden Holtby for his 12th on the season – technically a short-handed marker – and Boston had a 1-0 lead. Marchand said later in his intermission interview that “the book on Holtby was that he was vulnerable 5-hole”, and that’s where he was beat.
Zdeno Chara made it 2-0 with just under three minutes to go in the first when took a pass in the slot from Milan Lucic. Chara’s first shot hit teammate David Krejci and gratuitously bounced right back to him, and he fired home the second shot.
John Erskine thought he would try and get his team a little momentum by fighting Shawn Thornton right at the faceoff after the Bruins second goal, but nothing was going right in the first twenty minutes, and Erskine got unceremoniously dumped on his keester by a right hand.
Ovechkin was called for a bogus phantom interference call just a minute later, and the Bruins took no time in making them pay for the bad fortune. Dougie Hamilton beat Holtby with a long blast from the point – a shot that Holtby probably shoud have been able to handle – and Boston had a commanding 3-0 lead with just a minute and a half to go in the first.
About the only positive in the first period was Steve Oleksy – who was playing his first NHL game. He was playing with grit despite the score, and absolutely flattened Thornton behind the net near the end of the first.
The second period belonged to Washington.
Ovechkin came out buzzing on a shift about five minutes into the period, and after missing one opportunity, was able to finesse another chance that ended up with Mike Ribeiro tapping in a pass from the door step for the Caps first goal. Ovechkin got one helper of course, and Oleksy got the second assist for his first NHL point.
It was Thomas Kandratek’s turn for a ‘first’ five minutes later, when he took a clean draw and fired a shot at the net. It bounced off of a Bruins defenseman and beat Rask, for his first career NHL goal. 3-2 Bruins, but the Caps were right back in the thick of it.
Washington had a great chance to tie it up at the end of the period on a power play, but couldn’t even manage a shot – their third powerplay of the night without a shot.
The third period was more closely contested than the previous two, and the play went back and forth. The Caps finally get the jewel they were searching for with just over 6 minutes left, when Fehr found Wojtek Wolski in the slot. Wolski hoisted a backhand over Tuukka Rask, and the Caps had finally drawn back even after 54 of the 60 minutes.
They wouldn’t wait long in overtime to see the comeback completed. Just 37 seconds in, Nicklas Backstrom hit Fehr at the Bruins blue line with a pass. The one-on-two looked innocuous enough until Fehr muscled between the two Boston defensemen. Fehr was able to pick up the pick on the other side of the check, and lift it past Rask for a highlight reel winner.
The Caps exploded like it was a playoff win, and given the short season, and their early struggles, they definitely needed the points. They’re on a roll now though, with wins in 4 of their last 5, and 7 of their last 10.
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