Winds of Change Bring Caps Success
The Caps managed to break their losing streak last night in a 4-1 win against the San Jose Sharks. Alex Ovechkin, as was probably expected, was key to the victory, scoring two goals in less than half a minute to put the caps up by two early in the second. Mike Knuble, playing on the top line with Ovie once again, recorded primary assists on both goals, with a great tape-to-tape pass for the first.
Change was the theme of the night for Washington; not only was Knuble on the top line, but so was center Brendan Morrison, leaving both Semin and Backstrom on the second line with Brooks Laich. However the trio of Ovechkin, Backstrom and Semin were together for the first goal, as the Swedish center found Semin in space with a great pass on a two-man power play. But it was the new top line that stood out in the game. Although many will feel the Caps will have lost something if Bruce Boudreau continues to separate Backstrom, Semin and Ovechkin, the fact is that it just wasn’t working and this combination has brought success. Knuble’s presence around the front of the net opens up space for Ovechkin, which he can easily take advantage. More minor changes were Boyd Gordon’s replacement due to injury by Keith Aucoin, who was called up from Hershey, and injured defenseman’s replacement by Jeff Schultz.
The more worrying change was in the goaltenders, as Jose Theodore was forced to leave the ice in the first period due to back spasms. The good news is that the injury is not too serious and he should only miss one or two games. Looking on the bright side, Varlamov made fifteen saves and played well to keep the Caps on course for victory. Theodore’s injury may well mean the call-up of rookie Michael Neuvirth who has recently recovered from a hip injury.
After this good win, Coach Boudreau will be inclined to continue with this new-look team for the next game against the Predators, and hope that the good work by the team is continued. If last night is anything to go on, the Caps are out of the worst.