Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post
The Washington Capitals were able to grind out a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in a matinée matchup this Super Bowl Sunday. The Caps were led by outstanding performances from Braden Holtby between the pipes, and offensive prowess from Alex Ovechkin, Dmitri Orlov……….. and Matt Niskanen?
The Capitals once again looked slightly sluggish to start the game, and eventually gave up the game’s first goal at the 18-minute mark of the first. The Caps would go on to score two straight goals in the second period before the Flyers tied the game up seconds into the third period.
Five minutes in, after receiving a typical pass across the ice from Karl Alzner, Matt Niskanen began to skate the puck up the ice looking to enter the offensive zone. With no defenders pressuring Niskanen, he continued to skate into the offensive zone and directly towards the net. After a few nifty stick handles to get through the last two defenders, Nisky was able to bury the puck short side past Flyers’ goaltender Steve Mason for a 3-2 lead, igniting the raucous Verizon Center crowd and the Capitals team en route to the victory. Niskanen was named first star of the game.
With the absence of Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen has really stepped up and emerged as one of the big leaders of this blue line corps. Nisky led all skaters in TOI with almost 25 minutes and shots on goal with 7. With Orpik and Carlson both out with injury for an extended period of time, Niskanen and partner Karl Alzner both stepped up big and ate up a large chunk of the minutes in their absence. The Caps defense has not taken a step back in the absence of Orpik, and Niskanen deserves a lot of credit for stepping up and making a huge impact on the ice.
By Gabe Mead
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