The Caps started out slow again tonight, failing to get a point in the first, and allowing one to Tampa. That wasn't much of an indicator for the night, though, as they scored two in the second, and four more in the third. The final was 6-3 (the third came on the second of two really bad defensive plays within twenty or so seconds), with the top line scoring a whole bunch.
It didn't look like it'd be dominated by the top line for a while, though. The first was by Poti, finally back from his injury (and thank goodness for that, even if the second of the two defensive miscues I mentioned came from him), with the second by Knuble (with Laich getting the assist). But by the time the carnage had ended, OV had a goal and two assists, Semin had a hat trick along with a pair of assists, and Backster had four assists (including the primary on all three of Semin's tallies).
Backstrom also had a pair of really nice hits on his opposite number in the third period, once slamming him hard into the boards, then knocking him down again on open ice when he came back for revenge. And actually, somebody had a body slam earlier in the game, although I missed who it was. And somehow, that didn't end up being a penalty.
Each team had a power play goal (TB in four chances, Washington in its only chance), and both were really driven by mistakes, not by good offensive play. Semin got his first on the power play where he was left alone in the slot. Twice. He missed the first, but barely squeezed the second shot between Ellis' glove arm and body. The TB one happened where Malone was left alone next to the goal to pick up a rebound and stuff it in.
Neuvy looked very good on the game, coming up with thirty-eight saves, and looking in control from beginning to end. Man, I'm glad this guy's on our team. When Varly comes back, we will have one hell of a goalie tandem. I have to think, though, that Neuvy now has a solid lock on the #1 job at this point. Sucks for Varly, but hopefully it'll keep him very motivated to show that that's a mistake.
The only bad news on the game was that BoGo was hurt in the first period. He hit his foot on the boards trying to contest an icing, and never came back. That led to some really odd line combinations; hopefully, he'll be back very soon.
On the plus side, MarJo was a healthy scratch tonight, so if BoGo is out, MarJo can be put back in.
And congratulations to Stex for winning twenty face-offs. In fact, he and Backstrom had thirty-two of the team's forty faceoff wins. Unsurprisingly, Flash only added three to that total (out of twelve).
The two standings points kept the Caps in the lead overall, keeping them ahead of the Flyers, who administered a serious beat-down on the 'Canes. It also kept the team to one home loss on the season.
So that's it for tonight. Next up, Ryan Miller and the Sabres.