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NHL Anaheim Ducks

Washington Capitals’ Little-Known Players Must Step Up

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

In this brief 2012-2013 season, the Washington Capitals have had the toughest time finding momentum going into the next game. After the ice tilted Toronto Maple Leafs‘ way on Thursday night, their struggles in the first seven games are going to stay in their heads until they add a few more notches in the “win” column.

Against the Maple Leafs, the offense flourished a bit, but the full thing just hasn’t clicked. Alexander Ovechkin had a great five-hole goal from the left point, and the defense played well, but this time it was Michal Neuvirth that let up the weak goals when it counted. The thing holding this team together are the players that have stepped up in unprecedented ways. They may not be household names, but they have done the job and helped Washington keep their heads up through the tough beginning stretch.

Joel Ward has been one of the glues that has kept the Capital offense with hope this year. Netting his fourth goal against Toronto, Ward has been fully effective in the seven games so far. He is healthy after dealing with a sports hernia injury last season and has provided a huge spark. His presence in front of the net has been crucial for a team who needs every possible chance to score.

Speaking of scoring chances, there has been no one better providing them than newly acquired Mike Ribeiro. With his two assists last night, the veteran center has been dynamite. His precise passing has elevated his line to be the highest scoring on the team.

Heading back home to welcome the Philadelphia Flyers, the Capitals need to find their strength and get things going… quick!