Jason Arnott has been with the Washington Capitals for 13 games, so he’s a newcomer in the Caps’ dressing room. However, in that short time, Arnott has emerged as one of the team’s most important players, as well as one of their spiritual leaders. It really shouldn’t come as any surprise that Arnott is scoring big goals, considering he’s scored the type of goal that most players can only dream of. While Arnott was with New Jersey, he scored the overtime-winning goal to lift the Devils to the Stanley Cup in 2000, so he’s seen and done it all.
That type of leadership is invaluable to a young and relatively inexperienced playoff team like the Capitals, but Arnott’s brought more than just intangibles to the table. In his first two playoff games with Washington, Arnott has been a difference maker, coming up with big offensive plays at key times.
In game one, with the game knotted at one nearing the end of the first overtime session, Rangers’ defenseman Marc Staal tried to clear the puck out of his zone with a soft flip. Arnott, being the six-foot-four monster he is, caught the puck and in one motion, fed Alexander Semin for the game-winning goal.
The following game, the Capitals’ Jason Chimera scored midway through the second period to give the team a one-goal lead on the Rangers. About two minutes afterwards, Arnott struck again, this time with a power play goal. Arnott’s goal demoralized the Rangers, and sent the Verizon Center into a frenzy.
With each game, it’s becoming more and more clear that Arnott has helped the Capitals become a different team, one that isn’t afraid of playing one-goal games. Arnott has the swagger of a Stanley Cup champion, which is exactly why George McPhee dealt for him at the trade deadline.