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Latest Joel Ward Items
Mike Ribeiro knew the situation. So when he had time, space and saw Alex Ovechkin with an open look at the net, he knew exactly where the pass was going.
The NHL season is one-third over already. Through the first portion of the schedule, the Capitals built up some pretty convincing evidence that they were not a good team. In fact, most signs pointed to them being a bad team.
After a bumpy ride during his first four full NHL seasons, Eric Fehr was a healthy scratch for the Washington Capitals, then a fourth-liner. When given the opportunity with more minutes and an increased role, Fehr took advantage, scoring three goals in the past three games.
Mike Ribeiro has been playing the game the right way so far this season, even amid the Washington Capitals' inconsistency. He's far and away the team's leading scorer with 17 points, making the offense go even as consistent production from Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom has been lacking.
Mathieu Perreault wanted to show what he could do after four games as a healthy scratch. Eric Fehr wanted to show what he could do with some more playing time. Joel Ward wanted to show what he could do with more responsibility.
Aggressive forechecking resulted in goals. They stayed out of the penalty box, for the most part. Defenders deftly navigated the Panthers' forecheck. And goalie Braden Holtby jumpstarted the offense with a superb pass that resulted in a goal.
Simply put, the Caps have lost a lot early under new coach Adam Oates. They've played poorly and lost and played well and lost.
Erskine expressed remorse Monday about giving Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds a concussion on Friday night, though the Washington Capitals defenseman did not agree with NHL vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan's assertion that he delivered a "reckless elbow" to the head.
After a handful of penalties here and more than a few power-play goals by opponents there, it didn't take long for the Washington Capitals to realize they had to stay out of the box to win games. When they did that Sunday, the first victory of the season followed.