Postgame Notebook: Capitals 3, Blue Jackets 1
After suffering through an 0-2-1 start to the 2011 NHL pre-season, the Capitals took advantage of their first taste of home cooking on Monday night. Washington downed the Columbus Blue Jackets by a 3-1 count.
For the third consecutive contest, the Caps came out strong in the first. This time, they maintained their high level of play for the full 60 minutes to raise their pre-season mark to 1-2-1. Washington allowed just 12 shots on goal in the game’s final 40 minutes, 11 of them at even strength.
With goals from Dennis Wideman
(on the power play) and Cody Eakin
(at even strength), Washington had all the offense it would require in the game’s first 15 minutes.
Wideman’s goal came on a wrister from the left point at 9:48 of the first. Eakin’s strike was a one-timer from the slot created off a terrific backhand feed from Chris Bourque behind the Columbus cage.
delivered the death blow with a power-play marker midway through the middle frame. He converted a great pass from veteran blueliner Roman Hamrlik
. Bourque assisted on all three Washington goals.
Eakin, Perreault and Bourque are three of the six forwards still jostling for the final three opening night roster spots.
“They all played pretty good,” says Caps coach Bruce Boudreau. “The energy they showed was really uplifting. They played really well together.”
All four Caps lines created offensive chances consistently and maintained steady offensive zone possession throughout most of the evening.
“They had some firepower, like we were talking about this morning,” says veteran Columbus netminder Curtis Sanford, whose good work between the pipes made the game a bit closer than it could have been. “It’s always good to test yourself against some of the best players and obviously our guys did that tonight.”
got the win in goal, making 22 stops on the night. Half of those came in the first period, when the 23-year-old netminder was particularly brilliant. He turned aside shots in bunches and from in tight during that first frame, holding the Jackets at bay until his teammates could build a lead.
Powering Up –
The Caps went 0-for-9 with the extra man in their first three pre-season contests. Tonight, they struck twice with the extra man in five power play opportunities.
Spreading the Shots –
Fourteen of the 18 skaters – and 11 of the 12 forwards – the Caps dressed for Monday’s game had at least one shot on goal in the contest.
Helping Hands –
Bourque’s three assists were the most by a Caps skater in the pre-season since Alex Ovechkin
bagged a trio of helpers in an Oct. 1, 2010 game against the Jackets at Verizon Center.
You’ll Get Nothing And Like It –
The Jackets were 0-for-3 on the power play for the night, and the visitors couldn’t even manage a shot on goal during the 4:55 in which they enjoyed the man-advantage.
You Again –
Eakin’s first career pre-season goal came last Sept. 22 against the Blue Jackets in Columbus.
By The Numbers –
Wideman paced the Caps with 22:38 in ice time. He led the team with 5:44 in power play ice time, earning 103 seconds more than the closest player (Bourque) to him in that category … Jeff Schultz
led the Caps with 19:27 in even-strength ice time … Ovechkin, Eakin and Matt Hendricks
tied for the team lead with four shots on goal each … Each of Washington’s top three forward lines generated eight shots on goal during the game. The fourth line chipped in with five shots of its own … Making his debut in a Capitals’ sweater, Troy Brouwer
led the way for Washington with five hits.