Chill out guys, I got this. (Screenshot)
In their first game without Alex Ovechkin this season, the Washington Capitals had no trouble dispatching the Philadelphia Flyers inside Wells Fargo Center, beating them by a score of 7-0. The Capitals held on in the first period for a span of about 17 minutes where they were outshot horrifically before rebounding nicely to score four goals in seven minutes on either side of the first intermission. Joel Ward recorded a hat trick while Nicklas Backstrom scored two goals; Troy Brower and Jason Chimera both bagged markers for Adam Oates’ men as well. After the 17 minute mark of the first period, this game wasn’t even close.
The Capitals’ third line, which is probably their second line right now, was excellent for the fourth game in a row, and in this one they all three racked up multiple points. Grabovski, Chimera, and Ward have been aggressive, and according to Adam Vingan of NBC Washington, their trio has now scored nine of the Caps’ last 15 goals at even strength. Chimera now has goals in four consecutive games as he gets some luck back following that snakebit 2012 season. Grabovski is in to double digits in points as he continues to prove how silly Dave Nonis was to buy him out in Toronto, and has really come on strong over the last two weeks following a brief lull in the middle of October. He is very good, and that line has dictated play well for Washington. It was especially big with Ovechkin’s absence on Friday night. Hopefully good things can continue for this unit.
Another player who came up large for his squad tonight was Nicklas Backstrom, who scored two goals and was dynamic all night playing between Eric Fehr and Martin Erat. That line won’t stay together when Ovechkin returns, but it did look very good, and begs the question as to why Eric Fehr won’t see more ice time. That’s not the point of this blurb, though. Backstrom is an elite center in this league and anyone who doesn’t believe that, like some people at major sports networks, they’re kidding themselves.
There’s really not much more to say about this one. The Caps absolutely smoked the Flyers in their own barn. No one played poorly, thought it would have been nice to see the new second line of Brouwer, Brooks Laich, and Marcus Johansson produce at evens. Oh well…
I feel bad having to write about this, but if you watched the game you know about the line brawl. It was stupid, and a very bad thing for Philadelphia to insigate. Ray Emery has no right to do what he did. But that's all I'll say. Garbage like that doesn't deserve our attention.
Overall, this was an encouraging game. The Flyers are awful, and the Caps took it to them despite an awful start in a good way. This many goals is just magnificent, even if it is against a poor team, and to do it against the Flyers is awesome. The home fans were enraged, chanting for owner Ed Snider to axe Paul Holmgren very loudly by the end of the second period. This was a super game, both from a gleeful fan perspective and from a careful analysis perspective. Washington is now only one game below .500 and has a chance to break even with a winnable game against the Panthers on Saturday at Verizon Center.
Follow Harry on Twitter for all your Caps needs this season @HarryHawkings