WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Washington Capitals didn’t start off well in Tuesday’s eventual 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames, but they went on to right the ship — giving Spencer Carbery his first win as an NHL head coach.
As goalie Darcy Kuemper battled an offensive onslaught from the Flames in the first period, Calgary took a quick two-goal lead while mightily leading the shots on goal battle.
“They threw the kitchen sink at us in the first period,” Carbery said. “Puck-wise, everything was coming to our cage and we were reeling there for a bit, so it was a huge response. We needed that. We had a good conversation about it in between the first and second period, and we’re able to get back to our game for longer stretches and get the game tied up.”
Matthew Phillips was a key factor in the Capitals’ comeback as the 25-year-old winger tallied the team’s first goal of the season — also the first of his career. Phillips then tallied an assist on Connor McMichael’s game-tying goal.
“He’s been great the last month and a half, since he’s been here,” Carbery said. “Played his way onto this team, was great in the preseason, was great in practice … tonight, to see the smile on his face, coming back in to play his former team and score his first NHL goal, assist as well … essentially, he’s our offense tonight with getting that game tied up.”
Also key to the turnaround was the play of Kuemper, who ended the night with 38 saves.
“He was massive tonight,” Carbery said. “It’s not an easy situation because obviously they had a game plan and we knew a little bit … but for them, like the shot volume that was coming at our net early in that game, and for Darcy to be there — yeah, they’re long distance shots, but they’re still there’s chaos all around you and it’s going back low to high, shot, low to high, shot. So he was huge for us today.”