So yeah…it’s been a while. Over a decade actually.
Here’s a game recap we managed to dig up from all the way back on Feb. 14, 2001:
Adam Oates scored his second goal of the game with 41 seconds left in overtime as the Washington Capitals extended their unbeaten streak to eight games with a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
The Capitals blew a two-goal lead in the third period, but Oates helped them remain unbeaten on a six-game road trip.
Defenseman Sylvain Cote spotted Oates behind his defender and hit him with a perfect pass at the Canucks’ blue line. Oates moved into the right faceoff circle and fired a slap shot that beat goaltender Dan Cloutier to the stick side.
“It was a great pass by Coco (Cote). It just went over the d-man’s stick,” Oates said. “It gave me lots of time and I made a great shot.”
Oates still remembers that winner.
“You never forget a goal,” Oates said today after the morning skate at Rogers Arena, per the Washington Post. “On Cloutier, overtime, far post. Absolutely. I can’t believe it’s been that long.”
No mention of Coco’s pass though.
The last time the Caps were in Vancouver — on Oct. 29, 2011 — they got beaten 7-4 by the Canucks.
Talk about getting thrown into the fire.
Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.
Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.
Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.
We’ll start to find out tonight.
Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.
— Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.
— Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.
— Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.
— Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.
— Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.
— Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.
Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.
“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly.
So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.
That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”
The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.
“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”
That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.
Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen