Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images
You know that saying, you can’t win a game in the first period but you can sure lose it? I don’t think that saying applies to the game between the Capitals and the Montreal Canadiens. The Capitals won this game early en route to a 6-1 win.
Just twenty seconds into the game Ovechkin scored the first goal. Twenty-six seconds after that Oshie got the Caps up 2-0. Then two minutes and five seconds later Ovechkin made the score 3-0 and the game was basically over. Ovechkin and the Capitals came out and punched the Canadiens right in the face.
The storylines in this game were Ovechkin getting four goals on the night and rookie Nathan Walker playing in his first NHL game and scoring his first NHL goal. Looking at those stories and the overall score, it was a fun night for Washington Capitals fans.
If you look at the stats, it wasn’t a very good night for the Capitals. But, when you’re up 3-0 less than three minutes into the game, I suppose that will happen. Being up 4-0 after the first and finishing the entire last period 6-1 the possession game won’t look good.
The total shot attempts ended 70-37 in favor of Montreal. 5v5 shot attempts didn’t look much better.
The only thing that bothers me about this game was when the Canadiens took control of the game. We can sit back and say shot attempts will look lopsided because of the score, but looking at that chart the game was within reach when Montreal started to turn on the heat. Pretty much when the score was 4-1 the Habs ran away with this game possession wise.
Montreal had some good chances in there and hit a post as well. They score there and it’s a good game. But, they didn’t, the Capitals score two more times and the third period was basically the Caps trying to defend a 5 goal lead which they did successfully.
Again, Corsi was awful and Chiasson was a team best at 50%. Orlov and Niskanen had rough games all night long, Orlov also turning a puck over in his own zone on the power play led to Montreal’s lone goal.
The Capitals were great on faceoffs all night long. They won a total of 41 of 67 draws to finish the game at 61%. Beagle was great at the dot and one of his faceoff wins led directly to a goal that ended up being Walker’s first career goal.
Something I wanted to point out was the Capitals DZone faceoff%. Washington won 21 of 27 defensive zone faceoffs, that’s 78%. Faceoffs are huge in games and especially in your own zone. If you win that many faceoffs in your own zone you probably won’t allow that many goals.
No one on the Capitals outside of their centermen took more than one faceoff against Montreal. Ovechkin and Vrana were 1-1, Connolly, Burakovsky and Oshie were all 0-1.
I thought Braden Holtby had an awesome night too. When your team wins 6-1 your goalie won’t usually get that much credit but I though Holtby made a couple of nice saves tonight.
Special teams were also pretty good tonight. The Caps scored a power play goal and killed off all their penalties. A couple of issues on special teams though, Washington allowed a shorthanded goal and got pinned in their zone during a kill where Shea Weber hit a post that could have made the game 4-2 at that point. But overall a successful night on special teams.
A tough night for stats. Everything says the Capitals struggled when they obviously didn’t. If you want to look at score adjusted Corsi then the game finished at 45-34 Montreal, but as I said earlier, Montreal started taking over the game when it was still possible to come back and they were within a post of making it a two goal game halfway through the game.
The Capitals in my eyes didn’t sit back they were forced back and that’s one reason the shot attempts looked so bad. Washington did end up sitting back in the third period and that’s why there was a 33 shot attempt difference.
This is one of those games where you throw all the stats out the window. It was a good night, enough said.
By CJ Witt
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