Caps Coach Dale Hunter said he expects the NHL to review Jets defenseman Mark Stuart’s high hit on Marcus Johansson in the first period of Friday’s costly 3-2 loss in Winnipeg.
“It was a high hit and the league will review it,” Hunter said.
Stuart appeared to use his forearm to drive Johansson’s head into the end boards behind the Winnipeg net. The hit, which knocked Johansson’s helmet off, also appeared to be a step late.
“Apparently Mark Stuart can hit guys in the head,” Brooks Laich said. “He did it to [Troy] Brouwer. He did it to Marcus.”
If Stuart is disciplined, expect something to be announced before Winnipeg hosts Carolina on Sunday.
A few more notes and quotes from tonight’s game that didn’t fit into my recap:
●Alex Ovechkin’s response to the capacity crowd here chanting, “Cros-by’s bet-ter” in the third period?
“I hear it,” the Caps captain said. “It's the fans. It's always nice when they talk about you and then get the chants. I love it. It's great for the league, it's great for us. Everybody thinks who’s better, who’s not. For me, it’s nice atmosphere and I love that kind of stuff.”
Ovechkin finished with five shots on goal and five hits but no points.
●One of the biggest reasons the Caps were in position to win late was the penalty kill, which went 5 for 5.
Late in the second period, the visitors were down two men for 1:39 after Brooks Laich joined Mike Knuble in the penalty box. On that kill, Jay Beagle blocked two shots and Karl Alzner blocked another. Tomas Vokoun also made a great save on Blake Wheeler.
“They sacrificed their body,” Hunter said. “When you got guys shooting one-timers at 100 miles per hour, it’s going to hurt. They sacrificed for the team to kill it off.”
●Asked whether the Caps and Jets are developing a good rivalry, Laich said: “We definitely don’t like them. They’re right behind us [in the standings] and we’ll see them in a week.”
I'll check in again from Chicago tomorrow afternoon.
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