The Washington Capitals beat the Avalanche last night in a complete manhandling of a game. The final score doesn’t tell even close to the full story as the Caps only won 4-2 and the last goal came in an empty net. The shot total tells a little bit more of the story as the Capitals outshot the Avalanche with a whopping 47 shots to the Avs dismal 19. The Capitals are the best team in the league so this wasn’t exactly unexpected, but it was still a tough game to watch at times.
The first period ended scoreless, but the Capitals took a lot of shots and hit more than their fair share of posts. This game could’ve easily been lost in the first period if not for some luck on the Avs end.
The second period the Capitals came out strong again and this time they wouldn’t be stopped (by the post). Jay Beagle would start the scoring off 8:50 into the period scoring an unassisted goal. A little over four minutes later while on the power play, Alex Ovechkin scored his league leading 45th goal and his 20th goal on the power play. A minute and a half later another goal would get scored by the Caps, this one coming from Jason Chimera. Those three goals looked like the end for the Avalanche but they continued to fight and actually made it a good game.
Before the period would end, Jarome Iginla would score on the power play, his 20th of the season, with assists from Gabe Landeskog and Carl Soderberg. This would put the game at 3-1 going into the third period.
The Capitals would continue to push the pace of this game in the third, but again were stopped by posts. This allowed the Avs to crawl back into the game. A little over 14 minutes into the third period, captain Landeskog would put the puck into the back of the net bringing the Avs within 1 goal. Blake Comeua and Soderberg would assist on the goal. Both Comeua and Soderberg have proven to be great pickups for the Avs this offesason and despite the Avs not making the playoffs, they have been valuable.
The Capitals would go on to hold off the pressure from the Avs with a man advantage with the goaltender pulled and would eventually score the empty netter to seal the deal. A 4-2 final score is about as close as this game could’ve been with the Caps hitting the post six different times throughout the course of the game. With 47 shots on goal, the Avs need to play better and give up less shots. The Avs defensive method of allowing shots and hoping to block them is not a good scheme and something needs to change next year or the Avalanche will continue to be one of the worst teams in possession numbers and will likely not be able to make a deep run into the playoffs.
The Avalanche are still five points behind the Minnesota Wild who lost last night as well, but the Avs still have a harder schedule ahead of them and things don’t look great for the playoffs. The Avalanche will play the St. Louis Blues tomorrow night and hope to build some momentum for next season.