Blackhawks 3, Capitals 2
Aiming for their first pre-season victory in three bids, the Washington Capitals nursed a 1-0 lead into the third period of Friday’s game against the Blackhawks in Chicago. The Caps were somewhat fortunate to have that lead; they followed up a strong first frame in which they forged that 1-0 lead with a sluggish second. Washington went without a shot on goal for the first 10 minutes of the second and it took Tomas Vokoun
’s strong netminding to hold the Caps’ slim lead heading into the final 20 minutes.
The Caps were also sluggish at the start of the third, and the homestanding Hawks capitalized to skate off with a 3-2 win before a happy crowd of nearly 20,000.
staked the Caps to a first period lead. Assuming a spot at the top of the paint as he has done frequently in his two pre-season games with Washington, Ward deftly deflected an Alex Ovechkin
shot from center point down and past Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford. Ward’s goal came seconds after the expiration of a Washington power play. Keith Aucoin
drew the secondary assist.
The Caps held a 10-5 lead in shots on goal when goalie Tomas Vokoun
was whistled for tripping in the final minute of the first frame. From that point until seven minutes into the third, Chicago outshot the Caps by a 19-7 margin and outscored the visitors 2-0 over a stretch of nearly 30 minutes of hockey.
Chicago’s Viktor Stalberg scored twice in a span of 3:32 early in the third period to turn Washington’s one-goal lead into a one-goal deficit. Ex-Cap Brian Fahey threaded a perfect pass up the right wing wall to spring Chicago on a 2-on-1 break in the fourth minute of the final frame. Fahey connected with Brandon Saad, who fed Stalberg, driving the net to Vokoun’s right. Stalberg took care of the rest.
Minutes later, Stalberg wheeled past the Washington defense and around the cage, beating Vokoun on a wraparound to give the Hawks their first lead of the night.
Washington’s Matt Hendricks
helped his team gain back some momentum when he stripped defenseman Steve Montador of the puck, broke in alone on Crawford and flipped a sublime backhand shot top shelf to make it 2-2 at 12:22 of the third.
Caps forward Matthew Ford
flattened Crawford as he drove the net late in the third, sending Chicago to the power play with 5:46 remaining in regulation. Washington killed the penalty superbly, but was victimized for the game-winner just 25 seconds later.
Hawks captain Jonathan Toews moved through the neutral zone and into the attack zone with possession and relative ease. He dished to Saad on his left wing, and the 18-year-old, 2011 draftee found some room glove side/short side on Vokoun for the game-winner with just 3:21 left.
The Caps earned a power play in the game’s final half-minute and were able to set up Ovechkin for a one-timer with just seconds remaining, but Crawford made the save.
Hendricks and Ward wore the alternate captain’s “A” for Washington.
Held Out –
Caps center Marcus Johansson
skated just 9:38 on the night and had one shift spanning 32 seconds in the third period. He was removed from the game for what the team said were precautionary reasons; the 20-year-old center was suffering the effects of an unspecified illness.
By The Numbers –
Ovechkin led the Caps with five shots on goal … The Caps outhit the Hawks 26-21. Hendricks led the way with five, while D.J. King registered four in just 9:46 of work … Mike Green
paced the Caps with 24:55 in ice time. He was a plus-2 on the evening.