Tonight’s Washington Capitals comeback win, against the New York Islanders, got the Caps back on track to play inspired hockey. The Caps were down 2-0 when two things happened that are cause for me to declare, the Cap’s season is back on track.
First, there was Travis Hamonic’s goal, a semi-slap shot that wobbled from the blue line over Michal Neuvirth shoulder, and into the net. The puck was deflected down by the glove of the Cap’s John Carlson. You could sense a pit and green feeling in the stomachs of the Caps players. You know, that uneasy feeling right before you get sick? I was sick…nothing had been going right as the Caps played another woeful game against a New York team. Shortly after this sick feeling, Dr. Bruce Boudreau called a time out. Dr. Boudreau admittedly told the players that they stunk and they were getting beat by a bunch of kids. I’m sure Caps fans know that Boudreau, never lacking for creative linguistics, lit the boys up with a few colorful expressions. His time out changed the looks in the Cap’s eyes, it change the attitude on the ice, and the time out will change the season from this point forward. Championship seasons often have a turning point, and Dr. Boudreau delivered the right medicine at the right time.
Second reason? Matt Hendricks took matters into his own hands, literally, after the speech. His brawl with Zenon Konopka lit an additional fire within the team. It was a timely fight. The fight symbolized the fight that the Caps had been missing… resolve, determination, and the willingness to overcome obstacles.
After a tripping call against Brooks Laich, at 6:07 in the second period, Laich gained new life. He played like the power foward that the Cap’s need. Laich picked up a turn over, screamed down the left side, held off Islander Defeseman Travis Hamonic, and fired a shot five-hole – to get the Caps on the score board. In the third period, Laich drove the puck hard to the net, on his back hand, and was strong enough to again hold off the defensive pressure – then shoveled a pass to Mike Knuble who scored the Cap’s second goal (15th of the season).
Neuvirth had 29 saves and was brilliant in net. The Caps could have easily been down 4 or 5-0 early in game. Dr. Boudreau gave some much needed medicine to Alexander Semin. He moved Semin to the top line as the game rolled on. Semin scored the game winner at 5:41 in the third period.
Seems that this game was just what the Dr. ordered!
About the Author
Written by Dennis Patchett
Huge NHL and soccer fan! Love Columbus, Ohio sports! Buckeyes, Crew, Blue Jackets! Also, the Washington Capitals are my new adopted NHL team!