Seems like it was just a few weeks ago we were lamenting the struggles of the Washington Capitals and how it appeared they were setting themselves and their fans up for more failure in the postseason.
Funny how things change as the Caps won their seventh straight game tonight beating Carolina 2-1 and once again it was captain Alex Ovechkin leading the charge for the team. Ovechkin’s goal 47 seconds into the third period tied the game at 1-1, providing the equalizer for Tuomo Ruutu’s goal late in the second period.
The momentum the Caps gained from Ovechkin’s 28th goal of the season carried them through the rest of the period and ultimately paid off when Matt Hendricks put home a rebound from a Jason Arnott shot at 7:24 of the third to provide the difference maker.
Rookie Braden Holtby was strong all night in goal for the Caps stopping 40 of 41 Hurricanes shots. For the 21 year-old, he’s helping make life pleasantly difficult for coach Bruce Boudreau in goal as the team has Michal Neuvirth healthy and playing for them as well and Semyon Varlamov struggling with injury and out of the lineup. Holtby’s play is proving to be an inspiration for the team and his quirky play is helping rally the fans as well.
The win moves Washington ahead of Tampa Bay in the Southeast Division by four points as the Lightning lost to Ottawa tonight. The Caps win coupled with the Bruins loss to the Islanders puts the Caps in second in the Eastern Conference by three points and just two points behind the Flyers for the top spot overall.
Carolina with the loss fails to gain ground on the Rangers and Sabres who are tied for seventh place in the East.