NEW YORK | John Carlson was born in Massachusetts and is a Boston sports fan, but he played for the New Jersey Rockets and has family still in the New York City area. That’s usually evident when the Washington Capitals face the Devils or Rangers.
But Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, Carlson said he only had his father and a few youth hockey teammates in attendance. That didn’t stop the 22-year-old from scoring his first goal in 22 games in the Caps’ convincing victory.
“It doesn’t matter where I score,” Carlson said. “Obviously, this is a good building, and I like playing here. It’s nice to score.”
Even Carlson’s recent goals came in garbage time, with the Caps facing a big deficit. It was his first meaningful goal since Feb. 1.
No surprise, Carlson’s best all-around game in a much longer time came while paired with Karl Alzner. Dale Hunter reunited “Carlzner” for the game vs. the Florida Panthers on Thursday as a “feel” thing, and it worked.
“I think Johnny’s been very aggressive,” said Hunter, who coached Carlson with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League in 2008-09. “You give him a break from playing against the top lines, he came back against Florida and tonight, again, doing a heck of a job.”