We have the lead! We have the lead!
Honestly, I didn’t expect more than a one-goal margin at best after a single period. So, I’m very excited. But now onto onto more professional thoughts.
First off, great work by Troy Brouwer. Brouwer has been one of the guys who has looked sharp from the opening face-off against Tampa Bay, and it’s great to see him getting on the stat sheet.
I wrote in my pre-game writeup that the Caps needed to crash the net early and often, and though they may have ignored the first half of that, they certainly did it often. At some point if you take enough close shots, a rebound or a redirect opportunity is going to manifest itself, and that’s what happened for Matt Hendricks on the second goal. This attack needs to keep firing in the second period, as the Capitals of all teams know from recent seasons that a two-goal lead is never enough until the final horn. Getting a third goal can allow them to take a little off and focus more on defense.
Moving to the other side of the ice, Michael Neuvirth looks like he brought his A-game tonight. He’s 9 for 9 in save opportunities thus far, making a few flashy saves including that hard wrister at the end of the period. If the Caps continue to be very aggressive, they could tire quickly in the third period, so Neuvirth will need to keep it up.
Improvements need to be made in the discipline department as the Caps take the ice for the second period. It seems like opposing teams have almost been guaranteed an early power play in almost every period of hockey the Capitals have played this year, and the first period of this game was no different. Though Washington did a good job drawing a few penalties of their own, they must discipline themselves enough to keep five men on the ice more consistently. This will also be crucial to keep their first two lines fresh for the third period.