The Caps face off at home against the St. Louis Blues in an odd sort of “new coaches battle.” For Caps coach Dale Hunter going up against the reinvigorated Blues and coach Ken Hitchcock provides them with a curious way to start their new life with a new bench boss.
With the Caps struggling to reclaim their identity, having to do it in their first game under Hunter against a team that will come after them and defend to the death will make life difficult. Hunter is noted from his time coaching the London Knights for relying heavily upon his offensive stars to push the game. If Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, and Nicklas Backstrom want to impress the new boss tonight, they’ll have their work cut out for them. Lord knows there’s no more excuses for Ovechkin now.
Making matters more difficult will be how well the Blues goalies have both played of late. While Brian Elliott has been getting league-wide accolades, old nemesis Jaroslav Halak has been lights out since Hitchcock’s arrival in town as well. Just what the Caps want to have happen, find their old pace and ability to push the game only to have Halak there to stand on his head. Talk about reliving a nightmare.
Then again, it could prove to be rather “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” like in that they’ve got to beat that evil ex-boyfriend to be able to get through things. That might be exaggerating the point though. For now, Hunter has to be prepared for his team to have an uphill battle against a team that plays their tails off, defends very well, and has stellar goaltending of late to top it all off.
Having a tough task right off the bat might prove to be the best thing for the Caps to kick off the Dale Hunter era.
With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.
Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.
Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut
“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”
Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.
Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.
DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.
Blashill says DeKeyser has a bruise, not a break. Will know more tomorrow, but probably day-to-day