Devils 5 – 2 Capitals
This game was delayed initially by the late arrival of the Caps, then there was the retirement of Brad Voth’s number 26 jersey. This was nicely handled with former players in presence (in town for the Matzka Charity match on Tuesday), and the current team all wearing Voth warm up jerseys and comedy wigs. Which meant face off was pushed back by 45 minutes. The last time we retired a jersey (Stone’s no 10) it was also against the Caps, and that ended 10-0. Was this an omen we lazily wondered?
Initially this delay seemed to have the effect to set both teams off at a frenzied pace, as if they had been stretched back like an elastic band and pinged into action. A slick passing game led to a Caps goal after 3 minutes. The Devils responded with a classy goal from Fournier who slipped past three players and pinged the puck into the top of the net. A few minutes later Richardson shifted the puck patiently out by the blue line and then fired in a shot, which was tipped in by Lord. And by 10 minutes it was 3-1 after continued pressure on a power play, with Mo pushing in by the post.
If we expected the goal frenzy of the previous jersey retirement, we were disappointed. This Caps side are much better, they may lack the grit of Blaze, but there is skill and speed throughout the team, with Staal (yes, one of the seemingly endless supply of hockey playing Staal brothers) impressive and Fullerton in net frustrating the Devils. Confusion in the Caps defence allowed Martin to score in the second period but Johnston pulled one back in a tight period. The third saw the Devils have possession, but only managed an empty net goal from Lord right at the death.
This was the Devils first home win in 4 games, but since last week they have won away at Sheffield and destroyed the Clan up in Glasgow. Doucet has scored three goals on the road and Murdy has continued to impress in net. This was not a blistering performance, but it shook off the home pressure. In February we had a week that saw the league get away from us. This week might be the reverse of that, although it’s still early. But this team looked very different from the one we saw last Saturday .