With the Washington Capitals and Vancouver Canucks tied at 2 at 12:24 of the third period, referee Brad Meier assessed Caps Tom Poti a double minor that changed the game.
Washington's head coach, Bruce Boudreau couldn't beleive what he was seeing as Poti first received a cross-checking minor for hitting Alex Burrows in the shoulders. Then, after dismissing Meier's call with a "take off" waving gesture, Poti was given an additional two minute minor for Unsportsmanlike conduct. On the subsequent power play, Mason Raymond notched his 2nd of the game, and as Brad Meier skated by the Washington bench, all Boudreau could do was clap his hands (at Meiers) and sarcastically say: "Bravo, bravo."
Kesler helps Raymond celebrate the tying goal - (AP Photo / The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)
The Kesler, Raymond and Samuelsson line was assigned the Alex Ovechkin coverage, and performed admirably. Denying time and space, Kesler admitted prior to the game to looking very much forward to the role and responsibility. Afterwards Ovechkin was rather short with reporters and walked away after two minutes and this comment: "I just didn't have the puck." His best chances came in the third, where he registered three shots, one a great shoulder save by Roberto Luongo.
Kesler opened the scoring at 6:39 of the first period, when a Jannik Hansen backhand whack at the blueline took a few fortuitous skips and onto Kesler's stick. He had drawn a penalty while interupted by a hook taking a backhand shot, but a Capital's dragging skate pushed the puck past a sprawled Theodore.
The Capitals fired right back with a nice wrist-shot by Alexander Semin, who took advantage of a broken play to beat Luongo gloveside. Brooks Laich paid the price for the goal, getting drilled by Tanner Glass off his feet into the Canucks bench (pictured below) while passing to Semin.
Chris Clark gave the Capitals the lead heading into the second period, collecting the second shot attempt rebound off Kevin Bieksa for his 4th of the year. But Mason Raymond would score a beautiful goal late in the second period on a 2-on-1 rush, going backhand, then forehand, undressing Theodore to tie it.
"We were trying to capitalize off their mistakes," said Raymond. "We knew if we kept shutting their top lines down, we would be heading back the other way."
Alexander Ovechkin was shadowed all night long; here by Henrik
Sedin, and regularly by Ryan Kesler (AP Photo, Darryl Dyck)
As noted earlier, special teams played a significant role in the game, and the Canucks defense did a great job of boxing Washington out. Alex Burrows and both Ryan's (Kesler and Johnson) made significant plays to help knock pucks out of their end, and to keep them on the perimeter. "Our power play was horrible," coach Boudreau remarked, after failing to register a shot on 3 of 4 power plays. "We didn't generate anything."
Only 19 seconds after Raymond's goal, Kevin Bieksa hauled Alexander Semin down on a partial breakaway. Referee Mike Leggo pointed to center ice to indicate a penalty shot. "I was playing the shot the whole way," explained Canucks captain Luongo. "Took as much net away as possible, and once he went for the shot I went down right away and was able to get a pad on it." The save (picture below) helped Raymonds' goal stand up to be the winner.
Note: Henrik Sedin's assist on Mason's tying goal extended his point streak to 9 games, though twin Daniel had his stopped at 8 games.
Next up: St. Louis Blues (away record, 8-3-3) have been playing better on the road than at home; visit Sunday for game 6 of 8 during Canucks' homestand.