So we’ve all seen this movie before — the Washington Capitals get out to a lead with a great start (but the lead doesn’t swell to as big as it should because of missed opportunities), then les Capitals take their collective foot off the gas peddle and the bad guys get back in it.
Then the Caps give up a goal or goals in the third period (typically on the PK) and everyone wonders why they can’t hold the lead. This one looked particularly gloomy because the Canadiens went into lockdown mode after falling behind 2-nil and weren’t yielding any shots on net.
But Eric Fehr, with some help from Alex Ovechkin, proved to be the hero on this night, sending the game into overtime with 11.4 seconds left on his second goal of the night. The Caps won in the skills competition, so Fehr’s game-saver earned the team two points instead of one.
Here are some other thoughts and notes from a pretty wild night at Centre Bell:
* Fehr has dealt with a myriad of injuries in the past few years, but he certainly looks healthy right now. He has five goals and eight points in 10 games since returning from a rib injury and six goals in his past 12 games.
A big key — a bigger role with Alexander Semin and Mike Knuble out of the lineup. He played 17:13 tonight — more than every forward except Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Brendan Morrison and Brooks Laich (the latter three all had at least 73 seconds of PK time to Fehr’s none). Injuries providing a guy who has had to deal with too many fluke ailments with a chance to succeed? Sounds like justice to me.
* Alex Ovechkin was great tonight, and he would have been super-duper great if it weren’t for Jaroslav Spacek and Roman Hamrlik. Ovechkin went deep into the bag of tricks on a couple of plays and fired 18 shots, but eight were blocked and two missed the net.
Spacek had a goal, an assist and SIX blocked shots. Hamrlik had two assists and FIVE blocked shots. Both had fantastic nights, and Ovechkin still had two points — that’s how good No. 8 was.
* Here’s your ice time leaders on the Caps blue line — 1) Mike Green, 2) Brian Pothier and 3) Karl Alzner. If you held a gun to my head and asked me to rank the d-men on this team right now, I’d say 1) Green, 2) Pothier and 3) Alzner.
* David Steckel had another rough night on offense. He missed at least three and maybe four golden chances to score, including whiffing on a second rebound with essentially an empty net in the second period.
Bruce Boudreau said before the game that he’s squeezing the stick too tight, and that’s pretty evident. Problem is, when the guy isn’t producing on offense like this he can’t be on the ice for two goals against. Also, he only took seven draws (4 of 7) so he wasn’t able to add his typical value in that department either.
* Semyon Varlamov didn’t have his best statistical night (21 of 24) but he made some big, big saves when it was 3-2 Montreal and he continues to be pretty great in the shootouts. And the most important stat (10-1-2 record) still looks pretty nice.