photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images
I don't usually do game notes, but it was too exciting a game to stay silent. A couple of notes on the overtime win over the Blackhawks:
- This was by far Jason Chimera's best game of the season. He was showing off his speed and he had more chances than usual. It wasn't just Chimera though; the Chimera-Laich-Fehr line was the best of the day, generating a ton of scoring chances, and scoring the third Capitals goal. Eric Fehr fed Brooks Laich a great pass in front, and Corey Crawford had no chance to save it.
- Mike Knuble's overtime goal was beautiful; dirty, but beautiful. Knuble's forehand-backhand-forehand dance around Crawford's crease was the best his hands have looked in a long time. Marcus Johansson's pass to Knuble was picture-perfect.
- Speaking of Johansson, he was a force on the ice today. He led the team in shots on net with seven. The penalty he took late in the third period was dumb, as it led to the tying Blackhawks goal, but his pass to Knuble in overtime seemed to make up for it.
- Braden Holtby looked a bit shaky in net today. The Blackhawks' first goal was a soft one through Holtby's five hole, and their second was a bad angle shot that squeaked through seven hole, and bounced off his back into the goal. You can bet that Arturs Irbe will be working with him on situations like the second goal in practice.
- NBC seemed to be crediting everyone but Jason Arnott for Alexander Semin's reawakening. Semin also had a good, hardworking game today. His work ethic for the past seven games since Arnott entered the lineup has been consistently strong. I was in the locker room yesterday after practice, and when Arnott and Semin came in, they were chatting away. It was funny to see Arnott trying to figure out what the heck Semin was saying, but he was talking. Of all the times I've ever previously been in the locker room, I've never heard Semin say a single word. There's no doubt in my mind that Arnott is responsible for Semin's inspired play.
- Who knew that Boyd Gordon had such a cannon on him? I definitely wasn't expecting him to bomb a shot from so far away - and have it go through Crawford's pads. This is why the Caps keep Gordon around; he is essential to the penalty kill.
Overall, the game had all the intensity of a playoff game. Both teams were running on all cylinders and playing their best hockey. Considering that the Caps came away with the win, it speaks favorably to their playoff hopes. With Montreal, Detroit, New Jersey, and Philadelphia coming up, hopefully the Caps can keep up the excitement.