Two-Men Troubles –
Washington’s struggles with the two-man advantage this season have been well documented; the Caps have managed just one goal with the two-man advantage in 2007-08. On Sunday, the only goal the Caps surrendered in the 60 minutes of regulation came on a 5-on-3 power play advantage at the start of the third period.
Near the end of the lengthy two-man advantage that bridged the end of the second and beginning of the third periods, Caps goaltender Brent Johnson moved to his right to make two quick and stellar stops on New Jersey’s Brian Gionta. Johnson covered up to get the Caps a face-off to his right with just five seconds remaining.
The Devils’ Patrik Elias decisioned the Caps’ Boyd Gordon on the draw, winning the puck cleanly back to Paul Martin at the left point. Martin pushed the disc across to Jamie Langenbrunner who teed it up from the high slot and fired a shot high to Johnson’s stick side with the precision of a hired assassin. Langenbrunner's goal came with just one second remaining on New Jersey's two-man advantage.
It was the sixth 3-on-5 goal surrendered by Washington this season and the seventh 5-on-3 tally for the Devils.Five Spot – Alexander Semin
’s third period goal gives him a five-game goal-scoring streak, and 19 goals on the season. The streak matches the longest of his NHL career, a five-game run from Jan. 4-13, 2007. Semin has 13 goals in his last 22 games. After scoring just two goals in his first 16 games this season, Semin now has 17 goals in his last 28 contests.No Balance –
Johnson faced just 10 New Jersey shots on goal in the game’s first 40 minutes. He then faced down 17 shots in the next 11:24. Over the game’s final 12:46, Johnson saw only two shots, including John Madden’s game-winner at 4:10 of overtime.Great Eight – Alex Ovechkin
is without a goal in five straight games for the first time in exactly a year (Feb. 15-24, 2007), but he has assisted on each of Washington’s last four goals. With his assist on Semin’s goal against the Devils, Ovechkin pulled back into a tie with Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin for the league scoring lead at 82 points.
Ovechkin twice went six games without scoring a goal during his rookie season of 2005-06, the longest he has gone without a goal in his NHL career.
Block That Shot –
Caps forward Quintin Laing blocked three shots in Sunday’s game, giving him 43 blocked shots in 34 games on the season. Laing is now tied for 20th among all NHL forwards in blocked shots. Every player ahead of Laing on that list has played in at least 59 games this season. Laing and the Blues’ Ryan Johnson (78 blocked shots in 60 games) are the only two forwards in the circuit with more blocked shots than games played.Scouts Huddle –
Washington’s pro scouting staff (Brian MacLellan, Larry Carriere and Jason Fitzsimmons), director of amateur scouting (Ross Mahoney) and director of scouting operations (Kris Wagner) arrived in town on Sunday to prepare for Tuesday’s 3 p.m. NHL trade deadline
. For the next 40-plus hours, the group will confer and contemplate possible trades and adjustments to Washington’s roster. Home Hardship –
The Caps are now 1-2-2 in their five home games in the month of February. Washington has scored just seven goals in those five games, three of them in their lone win, a 3-2 overtime victory over the Rangers on Feb. 10.
Back-to-Back Brookbank Brother Beatings –
Brashear dropped the gloves with Carolina’s Wade Brookbank at 11:47 of the first period in Saturday’s game, and clearly won that decision. A day later against New Jersey, the veteran left wing kept the beatings in the family when he administered a thorough thumping to New Jersey’s Sheldon Brookbank, Wade’s brother. Sunday’s Brookbank beatdown came at 7:38 of the first frame.
Brashear’s first period major penalty for fighting was the 193rd of his NHL career, tops among all active players. No one else is even close; Colorado’s Ian Laperriere is second with just 155.
Brashear’s bout with New Jersey’s Brookbank on Sunday was the Caps’ fourth fight in the team’s last 19 games, and the first in that span that did not come against the Hurricanes.
Brashear’s tilts in games on consecutive days are his first since he went with Buffalo’s Andrew Peters and Montreal’s Aaron Downey, respectively, on Dec. 26 and 27, 2006.A New King –
For the first time this season, the Ottawa Senators do not occupy the top spot in the Eastern Conference standings. With its overtime win in Washington, the Devils have pushed the Sens down to the second spot. New Jersey’s 79 points are the most among Eastern Conference clubs, but the Devils have played one more game than the Senators.Heavy Duty Marty –
New Jersey netminder Martin Brodeur made his 58th start of the season here in the District on Sunday. It was also Brodeur’s 22nd start in succession.
The last time New Jersey back-up goaltender Kevin Weekes got a start was on Jan. 5 in Boston in the second of back-to-back games for the Devils. Since that date, the Devils have had three sets of back-to-back games (including this weekend) with Brodeur getting the start in both ends.
With 949 career games played in goal, Brodeur trails only Patrick Roy (1,029), Terry Sawchuk (971) and Eddie Belfour (963) on the league’s all-time list. Brodeur should surpass Belfour later this season, If he keeps playing games at or near his current rate, he will be atop the list by the end of the 2008-09 season.
Brodeur’s win over Washington on Sunday was his 32nd career triumph over the Caps, the most of any active NHL netminder. He has more than twice as many wins over Washington as the second-place goaltender on that list, Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo (15).Devil in the Details –
New Jersey has allowed only 39 first period goals this season, tied for second fewest in the NHL. The Devils entered Sunday’s game having committed the fewest stick penalties (35), the third fewest penalties (302) and the third fewest minor penalties (268) in the NHL.
Prior to Sunday’s game, the Devils had allowed and average of just 27 shots on goal per game. The Caps had 28 shots on Brodeur in the first 40 minutes and finished with 38.
Down on the Farm –
Bears goaltender Daren Machesney made 33 saves, Chris Bourque
had three assists and newcomer Danny Syvret had two helpers as the Hershey Bears edged Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 3-2 in a key East Division contest at Giant Center today.
Sasha Pokulok netted his first goal of the season, Kyle Wilson tallied his 19th and Jay Beagle
bagged his 14th to pace the Hershey attack. Beagle’s game-winner came with just 20 seconds remaining in regulation.
The win puts Hershey in sole possession of second place in the East Division, 10 points behind Philadelphia, two ahead of Albany and three ahead of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Sunday’s game is Hershey’s last at home until it hosts Manitoba on Mar. 15. The Bears start a nine-game road trip against the Moose in Manitoba on Wednesday.
Steve Pinizzotto scored twice and Grant McNeil added a third tally as the South Carolina Stingrays took a 4-3 shootout decision over the Florida Everblades on Sunday at North Charleston Coliseum.
Davis Parley made 27 saves in regulation and snuffed out four of five Florida shootout bids to help the Rays to victory. Rory Rawlyk and Pierre-Luc O’Brien scored for South Carolina in the shootout. The Rays rallied from a 3-0 deficit to send the game to overtime and earn a pair of points.
With 71 points the Stingrays are tied with Gwinnett for second in the ECHL’s South Division.