Two games in two nights against a pesky New Jersey Devils team and the Capitals have three points out of a possible four to show for it. Here are a few observations from the second leg of the home-and-home series, a 3-2 shootout loss at Verizon Center on Saturday night:
Oates beats Caps
Adam Oates won countless games for the Caps during his NHL career. But he helped take a point away from Washington Saturday night by looking David Clarkson’s way during the shootout.
“I can’t take credit for that [choice],” New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer said. “Adam Oates was the guy. We were choosing between [Petr] Sykora and Clarky, and Adam picked Clarky and he was right on.”
Clarkson scored the shootout winner in round 4 to wrap up what DeBoer called a “gutsy” win for the Devils.
Matt Hendricks, Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom went for the Caps, and Ovechkin was the only one to beat Johan Hedberg. Zach Parise also scored for the Devils.
And, in case you’re feeling nostalgic, Oates had 363 career points with the Caps. Carry on.
Glass half full?
The Caps lost defenseman Roman Hamrlik in the second period with an undisclosed injury suffered on what coach Bruce Boudreau said was a cross check. Friday night, Mike Green left with a lower-body injury in the first.
So for the second time in two nights the Caps finished with five defensemen – so are they happy to emerge with this result?
“It’s a double-edged sword,” Boudreau said. “Will you take a point? Yes. When you have a 2-0 lead, will you take a point? No.”
The blown lead happened on what the coach called mistakes. More on that Sunday, but it was tough to blame goalie Michal Neuvirth, for sure.
Playing time for $1000, Alex
Some numbers jumped off the sheet Saturday, most notably ice time.
Dennis Wideman: 33:52
John Carlson: 26:50
Cody Eakin: 5:11
Mathieu Perreault: 5:16
For the defensemen, Hamrlik’s injury played a role in big minutes. Wideman seemed surprised when informed that he played so much Saturday - after over 27 minutes Friday.
“Oh really?” he said. “I was starting to get a little tuckered by the end. But when stuff like that happens, when there’s injuries you’ve just got to try to not push it too much, try not to get out of position, try not to get caught too much and conserve where you can.”
Boudreau’s explanation for Eakin and Perreault was that he shortened the bench.
For what it’s worth, the Hershey Bears play a game at 5 p.m. Sunday. Don’t be shocked if Eakin is in Hershey’s lineup after playing a combined 12:18 in two games. The 20-year-old could use ice time for development and does not need to clear waivers to go up and down from the NHL to the American Hockey League