After dropping the first of the three-game western Canada swing Wednesday in Edmonton, Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz jumbled the lines again, moving Joel Ward down to the fourth line for Saturday night’s tilt in Calgary.
Perhaps the motivation worked, as Ward had two goals to pace the Caps over the Flames 3-1 in the Saddledome.
The Caps (4-1-2) got on the board midway through the first. Calgary turned the puck over trying to kill a penalty and Ward collected the loose puck along the left wing and beat Karri Ramo stick side for a 1-0 lead.
Calgary tied it up late in the period. Troy Brouwer took an unnecessary retaliation roughing penalty and with just 10 seconds remaining in the frame, Dennis Wideman slipped one past Braden Holtby. It was Wideman’s fifth goal in six games.
In the second, the Caps re-took the lead and it was Ward again. Michael Latta took a stretch pass from Brooks Orpik and raced into the zone and behind the net. He centered the puck and Ward kicked it from his skate to his backhand and beat Ramo to go up 2-1. It was Ward’s seventh career multi-goal game.
Nick Backstrom made it a two-goal game just 41 seconds into the third. Karl Alzner sprung the Swedish centerman and Backstrom used a Calgary defenseman as a screen in the middle of the ice and whipped a wrist shot past the screened Ramo and a 3-1 cushion.
Braden Holtby made 20 saves, none bigger than the kick save he made on Paul Byron on a breakaway midway through the third.
The Caps move on to Vancouver to face the Canucks Sunday night at 9:30 pm Eastern.
- Brooks Orpik had a tremendous game on the blueline, registering an assist and 10 hits. He was a physical force all night.
- Alex Ovechkin didn’t factor in the scoring, but played another solid game all around with four hits and a terrific backcheck on what would otherwise have been a short-handed breakaway for Calgary.
- Troy Brouwer had a noticeably tough night. The veteran winger took the bad penalty which led to the only Flames goal of the night, he made a pair of turnovers on consecutive shifts in the third when he stopped skating, and whiffed on a wide open empty net late in the third. Smashed sticks at the bench = 2.
- Caps were 52% in the dot and outshot Calgary 30-21. They were credited with just five giveaways on the road.