Greg Fiume/Getty Images
With the San Jose Sharks coming into Capital One Arena to play the Washington Capitals tonight, it may bring back memories of past matchups between the Sharks and Caps. Throughout their history, the Capitals have had trouble beating the Sharks. In this piece, NoVa Caps’ Diane Doyle takes a look back at another Caps/Sharks match-up that took place at home on October 15, 2009, back when Capital One Arena was known as the Verizon Center.
The San Jose Sharks visited the Verizon Center for a game on October 15, 2009. Going into that game, the Capitals were on a four-game losing streak. In addition, they had not beaten the San Jose Sharks since February of 1999. To put into perspective how long ago that was, Alex Ovechkin was fourteen-years old, John Carlson had just turned eight-years old, Dmitry Orlov was still shy of his seventh birthday, Bill Clinton was serving his second term as President of the United States, and Pope John Paul II was still Pope. In many ways, the matchup seemed ominous for those rooting for the Caps.
Just 3:55 into the contest, Kent Huskins of the Sharks was penalized for holding, putting the Caps on a power play. With 18 seconds left on Huskins’ penalty, teammate Jed Ortmayer took a tripping penalty, putting two men in the box, albeit for 18 seconds. While the Huskins penalty expired without incident, yet another Shark, Scott Nichol, was called for a penalty at the 6:43 mark, putting the Capitals on a 5-on-3 power play yet again. This time, the Caps took advantage, with left wing Alexander Semin scoring at the 7:21 mark, with assists from Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green. This was Semin’s sixth goal of the season.
Semin’s Goal (Call in Russian)
The Sharks came back to tie at the 14:07 mark, when Benn Ferriero scored with assists by Nichols and Huskins, ironically enough, two of the Sharks players who were penalized during the extended pair of 5-on-3’s earlier that period. The score at the First Intermission was 1-1.
Since then-Caps’ starting goaltender, Jose Theodore, was unable to return to the game due to injury, backup goalie Semyon Varlamov entered the game to start the period. The Sharks got a power play early in the period, but were unable to convert. Once that power play expired, Alex Ovechkin struck twice in quick succession, with the first goal coming at the 2:55 mark and the second one at 3:23.
Both goals were assisted by Mike Knuble and Brendan Morrison, both of whom had played hockey for the Michigan Wolverines NCAA team. These two goals were the sixth and seventh goals of the season for him, putting him back in the team lead in that department after temporarily being displaced by teammate and fellow countryman, Semin, back in the first period. The score was now 3-1 Caps and remained that way through the end of two periods.
Matt Bradley added an extra insurance goal, his second of the year, at the 5:11 mark which increased the Caps’ score to 4-1, and the Caps held the Sharks to their lone goal, with 4-1 ultimately being the final score.
The Capitals broke two losing streaks, their then-current season losing streak of four games and their long losing streak against the San Jose Sharks that extended back to February 1999. One of the keys to the game was the penalties taken by the Sharks during first period that subsequently resulted in the Capitals’ first period power play goal. They took five penalties in all, including two extended 5-on-3’s. While only one goal was scored because of the penalties, the Sharks’ players became more tired. They were unable to push as hard in an attempted comeback when they fell behind.
Period 1 — 07:21 Alexander Semin (6) — Assists by Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green (PPG)
Period 2 — 02:33 Alex Ovechkin (6) — Assists by Mike Knuble, Brendan Morrison
Period 2 — 03:23 Alex Ovechkin (6) — Assists by Mike Knuble, Brendan Morrison
Period 3 – 05:11 Matt Bradley (2) – Assists by Milan Jurcina
Capitals Goaltending Statistics
Jose Theodore 12 saves on 13 shots
Semyon Varlamov 15 saves on 15 shots
Check out NoVa Caps’ Other Retro Recaps: