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Holtby shuts out Wild, Washington reclaims 8th place

Mar 25, 2012, 8:02 PM EDT

Alexander Ovechkin AP

After losing four of their previous five games, the Washington Capitals desperately needed a win to avoid falling out of the playoff picture. Alex Ovechkin stepped up to extend his goal scoring streak to five games and third-string goaltender Braden Holtby saved 28 shots to earn his third career shutout to lead Washington to a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild.

We were halfway through the game before Jason Chimera finally found the back of the net to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead. Alexander Semin picked up an assist on the play to extend his point streak to three games. That allowed him to hit the 30-assist milestone, but with his contract set to expire this summer, this has still been a disappointing campaign for the 2002 first rounder.

Holtby provided the Capitals with an insight to the future of their organization. Holtby and Michal Neuvirth could fight for the starting job next season if they don’t re-sign or replace Tomas Vokoun.

Ovechkin also seems to be heating up at the right time. He has nine goals and 10 points in his last seven games. If he can continue to play at this level then the Capitals might be able to squeeze into the playoffs.

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As it is, Washington and Buffalo are now tied for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference in terms of points, but the Capitals have an edge seeing as they have a clear lead in the tiebreaker department. This victory sets the stage for their critical contest against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.

  1. ravenscaps48 - Mar 25, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    I think Neuvy’s days as starter in Washington are limited… Ride Koun and Holtby through the atretch run

  2. wheresdapuck - Mar 26, 2012 at 5:47 AM

    Caps need get a new contract with Semin – he is just too talented to be playing for somebody else. Could you imagine if the Pens had Semin on their second or third line…

    Need to pick up at least two gritty forwards in the off-season that can play in front of the net and scrap it out. I like Knuble, but it is probably time for him to retire.

    • rockthered1286 - Mar 26, 2012 at 8:51 AM

      The problem with Semin is a total lack of effort. He’s becoming the Randy Moss on the NHL in the sense that he has so much potential and at times doesn’t give any effort to even skate hard. Point in case, during yesterdays game after Semin put a puck on Chimmy’s stick for the goal, the announcer said it’s the first effort he’s seen out of Semin all afternoon who at times didn’t even appear to be skating hard. And that’s 100% typical for Semin. He declares wanting to a be a #1 on an NHL team but plays with zero effort or heart at times and that won’t fly. There’s a reason we keep upping 1 yr deals with him, and a reason offers aren’t flying in.

      Knuble is done after this season though and we do need some more grinders. I love Laich and Chimmy for their relentless effort, but I need an offensive mindset for the whole team like that (obviously Ovi is in there already as well).

    • ravenscaps48 - Mar 26, 2012 at 9:49 AM

      The only way we bring him back is if he takes a paycut to stay… Can’t afford to pay 7 Million Dollars for a guy who goes on mad streaks and gives about a 60% effort every game. Knock his price down to about 4.5-5 Million, and that’ll be fine. If not? Over to the KHL he goes

      • ravenscaps48 - Mar 26, 2012 at 9:56 AM

        As far as an Offensive Mindset, there’s practically NOTHING in the Free Agent Class this year. Aside from Zach Parise and P.A. Parenteau, there’s really nothing to be had. Trades at the Draft might be the only way to bolster this team

      • govtminion - Mar 26, 2012 at 10:22 AM

        Good news then- they have a few spare picks after fleecing Colorado last summer (though I admit Varlamov has been pretty good for them the past several weeks). So if McPhee wants to try to do some trading, he has assets to use.

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