Postgame Notebook: Capitals 4, Bruins 1
Speed Kills –
Washington ran its pre-season record to a perfect 4-0 with a 4-1 win over the Bruins in Boston on Wednesday night. Even with a dozen of its skaters playing their second game in as many nights – and with many of the team’s top stars staying back in the District and getting the night off – the Capitals had more jump than the home team from the get-go.
Speed was a factor in three of Washington’s four goals on the night. Eric Fehr
and Jason Chimera
used their wheels to get deep in the Boston zone and force a turnover midway through the first frame. Chimera took control of the puck behind the Bruins’ net and fired a precision pass to Nicklas Backstrom
in front. Backstrom buried it to put the Caps up 1-0.
The Caps doubled their lead to 2-0 late in the second on Backstrom’s second of the night, a deflection of a Jeff Schultz
point shot. Washington then used its speed to put the game out of reach in the third.
Chimera – one of the fastest skaters in the circuit – broke free down the right side on a 2-on-1 break early in the third. He had Mathieu Perreault
with him; Perreault was driving down the middle of the ice. Chimera shot, and his bid was stopped by Boston goalie Tim Thomas. Chimera pounced on his own rebound, and again Thomas made the save. But he was unable to corral the rebound once again. Andrew Gordon
collected the loose disc and calmly but firmly deposited it above a prone Thomas and into the net.
Three and a half minutes later, Boyd Gordon
won a draw at the Boston line and skated through the Bruins’ defense virtually unmolested. He carried the puck down low and wide of the net to Thomas’ left, whirled and threaded a pass to Matt Bradley
in front. Bradley pumped it past Thomas to make it 4-0.
“We were on top of the puck,” says Caps coach Bruce Boudreau. ‘Our energy was really good tonight. They didn’t have a chance to move. When we play that way – and the shifts were all really short and we were rolling four lines – you can accomplish that. A lot of times when you’re rolling three lines, it’s a little more difficult to do. But we have the ability to roll four lines.”
A Message – Matt Hendricks
notched a hat trick in his first pre-season game with the Caps this fall, but his work on the opening face-off of Wednesday’s game against the Bruins may ultimately mean more to his bid for an opening night roster spot.
In the starting lineup on a line with Boyd Gordon
and Bradley, Hendricks was supposed to be lined up on the left side. Instead, he decided to take the draw against Boston’s Gregory Campbell.
Campbell, you may recall, was whistled for a late boarding call against Caps captain Alex Ovechkin
in the waning minutes of Tuesday night’s game between Washington and Boston at Verizon Center. Ovechkin was on his way down to the ice when Campbell shoved him from behind into the corner boards. Ovechkin took exception, and issued a two-handed slash to Campbell, drawing a two-minute minor of his own.
After that game, Caps left wing D.J. King noted that although it was too late in the game for Washington to send a message to Campbell, that the incident would not be forgotten. King didn’t make the trip to Boston on Wednesday, but Hendricks took care of business.
The gritty forward – who signed a one-year deal with Washington earlier in the week – quite literally took matters into his own hands. Instead of taking his spot on the left side, Hendricks lined up for the draw directly opposite Campbell. Two seconds after the puck hit the ice for the opening face-off, so did the gloves of Hendricks and Campbell.
Afterwards, Hendricks didn’t have much to say about it. He didn’t need to.
“Hockey is an honest game,” declares Hendricks. “[Campbell] knew it at the same time. That’s why it went down.”
Message sent. It was the only face-off Hendricks took on the night.
“He didn’t need to be told,” says Boudreau of Hendricks’ actions. “He just watched the game [Tuesday] night and knew what he had to do. I thought, ‘What a team thing [to do].’ It was great.”
Net Gain –
Washington’s oft-maligned defense limited the Bruins to 24 shots on goal for the game, marking the third straight contest in which the Caps kept the opposition to 25 or fewer shots on goal. The B’s had just 17 shots at even strength.
The Caps have allowed just six goals in four pre-season games. In Wednesday night’s game, Washington nursed a shutout into the game’s 49th minute before longtime Cap killer Mark Recchi broke the spell on a Boston power play.
Goaltender Dany Sabourin
started and held the B’s without a goal on the dozen shots he faced in 32:38 of work. Sabourin has been spotless in the preseason, stopping all 23 shots he has faced in just over 60 minutes of work.
“It feels good,” says Sabourin of his night’s work. “They had a really good team over there and that was pretty much their [regular season] team. The guys played really hard and played good. It’s a good feeling.”
The Killers –
Although Washington’s penalty killing corps was finally dented for its first goal against in four preseason games, the shorthanded unit was instrumental in Washington’s win. The Caps were shorthanded for eight full minutes in a stretch of just 8:37 during the first half of the second period. During that time, the Caps gamely held onto a threadbare 1-0 lead.
Boston had most of its regular season lineup dressed for Wednesday’s game while Washington did not. Yet the Caps’ penalty killers got the job done. They limited the B’s to just five shots on goal during those eight minutes with the man advantage, and enabled Washington to hold its slim lead until it could expand it late in the second period.
“They were good,” says Boudreau. “They pressured and I think we used 10 different penalty killers and they all knew what was going on and did a great job and it’s a great testament to [assistant coaches] Dean [Evason] and [Bob Woods] and the way they’re teaching them.”
Washington’s penalty killing corps is now 17-for-18 (94.4%) during the pre-season. It had killed off 17 shorthanded situations in succession before Recchi’s goal.
“I think the guys really bought in and that’s one of the biggest attributes to a good penalty killing unit,” says Hendricks, “is everyone buying in and being excited to go out there and prove to your teammates that you’re willing to put your body on the line and sacrifice. I thought all the players did that. And the No. 1 [penalty killers] were the goaltenders themselves; they played great, too.”
Leaders of the Pack –
For the fourth time in as many games, the Caps scored the game’s first goal. Washington has yet to trail in 240 minutes of pre-season hockey.
Road Warriors –
Washington closed out the road portion of its pre-season slate with a perfect 3-0 record. The Capitals outscored the opposition by a combined 12-4 in their three road exhibition outings.
Belfast Bound –
The Bruins headed to the airport immediately after Wednesday’s game to take to the air for their season-opening European trip. The B’s are flying to Belfast tonight, a six-hour jaunt. They’ll drop their bags at the hotel and head to the rink for practice immediately thereafter.
Boston opens its 2010-11 regular season schedule in Prague against the Phoenix Coyotes on Oct. 9-10. Prior to those tilts, the Bruins will play a pair of exhibition games in Europe. The first of those two tune-up tilts is Saturday in Belfast.
By The Numbers –
Defenseman Karl Alzner
paced the Caps with 7:34 in first period ice time and 10 shifts. By game’s end, Brian Fahey
had the most ice of any Caps skater at an even 22 minutes. Fahey also led the Caps with 16:21 of even-strength ice time … Chimera and Andrew Gordon
led the Caps with four shots on goal each … Hendricks led the way with five hits … Chimera led all Caps forwards with 18:05 in ice time.