Caps Lose A Battle But Win The War

March 02, 2013 | Ed Frankovic

Caps Lose A Battle But Win The War

Anyone who has ever played hockey at any competitive level knows that it is a game of emotion and high intensity. It is especially true in the NHL where the difference in the talent level of teams are not that great.

Simply put, in the NHL if you don’t have energy and intensity and your opponent does, you are likely going to get creamed. For evidence of that, just take a look at Wednesday night’s Caps 4-1 loss to the Flyers.

On Saturday afternoon, the Capitals once again came out flat in the first period and were being outshot 13-3. The only reason the game was scoreless was because of goalie Braden Holtby, who was doing a good job of stopping the Winnipeg shots and not allowing rebounds. Caps fans watching the game had to wonder if this contest was going to be a total continuation of the Wednesday night drubbing in Philly.

But then a funny thing happened on the way to the forum, or in this case on the ice. Winnipeg tough guy, Anthony Peluso, got into a bout with Capitals newly acquired forward Aaron Volpatti at the 17:50 mark of the opening frame. Volpatti, who was giving up three inches and 20 pounds, lost the fight fairly handily and the fans at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg were fired up.

Little did they know though, the bout for Washington was just what the Caps needed to awaken them from a nearly four period slumber.

Whether the Caps rallied around their new teammate for standing up for them in a very tough situation or not, it was the shot of adrenaline the club badly needed.

From that point until Mike Ribeiro made it 3-0 with 15:44 left in regulation by banging home the rebound of an Alexander Ovechkin shot, the Caps dominated the Jets on all fronts outshooting them 18-7 and heavily carrying the play. Matt Hendricks, Troy Brouwer, and Ribeiro all scored during that 26 plus minute stretch and it was all Washington needed to gain a key victory.

Had the Caps lost this game, they would have been eight points in back of the Jets and Carolina in the Southesast Division race. Instead they sit six in back of the Canes but just four behind Winnipeg.

So in my book, Volpatti deserves some serious kudos for coming in and making a big difference in his first game wearing a Capitals sweater. The 27 year old Canadian who competed collegiately at Brown University only played 5:24 the entire contest and didn’t register a point, but his fight was the turning point in this hockey game.

Volpatti lost that battle, but his team ended up winning the war and Washington earned a victory that helps them stay in the Southeast Division race.

Notes: Washington is now 8-11-1 and their next game is Tuesday at the Verizon Center against the Boston Bruins…Mike Green missed the game due to his lingering groin injury…Ovechkin had a very good game getting an assist, pumping four shots on net, shelling out two hits, and drawing a key four minute penalty on Mark Stuart with just over five minutes remaining. I don’t expect Mike Milbury or PJ Stock to let you know that, though…Washington won the faceoff battle, 36-28, and the Caps second goal came off of a Nicklas Backstrom offensive zone winning draw.

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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Paul in Crofton Says:

    I heard a sound bite of Mike Millbury’s rant of Ovie after the Flyers game. Does he have something against Ovechkin? Or the Caps, in general? I can never really remember him ever being too complimentary of the team over the years.

  2. Breaklance Says:

    Simply put milbury is a canadien analyst who follows their xenophobia. Ovechkin – Russian – evil foul besmirchment of hockey. Any canadien player – gods gift to hockey. How a guy who managed barely 10 minutes a game, 5 goals a year and struggled to put a shot on goal a game in his career can comment accurately on high scoring forwards is beyond me.

  3. eric s Says:

    this comment is for drew and stoner.i heard drew laugh the other day and say semin was -2 against the caps,like that was normal.but he needs to take off the blinders as well as all other semin bashers.here are semins stats this season 20 points,+14,and 18 penalty minutes,now what are ovies for a comparison 16 points,-5,and 18 penalty minutes.this isnt to bash ovie because i am huge fan of his.this is just to show the haters why the caps are in last place in the conference and the canes are rolling and headed to the playoffs.oh,and hate to beat a dead horse but the boudreau led anaheim ducks are 15-3-2.GMGM needs to go!!!hendricks is playing on the first line???thats not a good sign of things to come.

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