Photo: Getty Images
With the Capitals set to host the Metropolitan Division rival New Jersey Devils on Friday night, NoVa Caps takes a look back at a contest between the two teams just under nine years ago on Opening Night in 2010, in this latest Retro Recap.
Both the Capitals and the Devils had lost their season openers, with the Caps having lost to the Atlanta Thrashers and the Devils having lost to the Dallas Stars in overtime. As a result, both teams were looking to win and avoid starting off the season with two consecutive losses. Prior to the 2010-11 season, the Devils had made the playoffs in 13 consecutive seasons, but had lost in the first-round of the playoffs the previous three years. The Devils had a star-studded lineup that included Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrick Elias, Jason Arnott, and Jason Langenbrunner, and still had future Hall-of-Famer Martin Brodeur, in goal. Due to salary cap constraints, they started the season with 11 forwards and seven defensemen and two other players on Long-term Injured Reserve.
The Caps, meanwhile, had won the President’s Trophy the previous season but had been upset in the first-round of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Montreal Canadiens so they were also hoping to improve their playoff performance.
Jason Arnott scored for the Devils less than two minutes into the contest, getting assists from Langenbrunner and Elias. Less than a minute later, defenseman John Carlson countered with a goal of his own to tie the game. Carlson was playing in his first full season with the Caps, although he had played with the Caps for most of the second half of the previous season.
The Caps fell behind 2-1 later in the period when Henrik Tallinder scored a shorthanded goal on a Capitals power play, getting assists from former Capitals forward Dainius Zubrus and Travis Zajac. The first period ended with the Caps still down 2-1 to the Devils.
The second period was much better for the Capitals. Tomas Fleischmann scored the game-tying goal about two minutes into the period, on assists from Alexander Semin and Carlson. The Caps pulled ahead with five and a half minutes left to go on Alex Ovechkin’s first goal of the season, with assists coming from Mike Knuble and Carlson. Jason Chimera added another goal with a minute and a half left in the period, on an assist from Fleischmann. Ovechkin was given a penalty shot less than a minute later and converted. With four unanswered goals, the Caps led 5-2 after two periods.
Brooks Laich added a shorthanded goal three minutes into the third period, while the Capitals were killing a “too many men” penalty. Eric Fehr added the Caps’ seventh goal on a power play with nearly half of the third period left to go. The final score was 7-2 in favor of the Caps.
The third period was much more notable for dropped gloves and fisticuffs than for actual hockey play. Jason Chimera and David Clarkson had a fight four minutes into the period. With less than five minutes in the game, then-Caps defenseman, Mike Green dropped the gloves with Kovalchuk.
Four seconds later, first-year Capital Matt Hendricks tangled with Rod Pelley of the Devils, which, likewise, ended their night on the ice. At the same time, Matt Bradley got into a fight with David Clarkson.
Six seconds later, Pierre LeTourneau-LeBlond tried to pick a fight with Marcus Johansson, who was not at all interested in engaging in a fight. John Carlson stuck up for Johansson, went after LeTourneau-LeBlond, and earned roughing and game misconduct penalties. LeTourneau-LeBlond ended up receiving slashing, instigating, fighting, and a game misconduct, actions which earned him a suspension.
By Diane Doyle