If you're still wondering why Capitals general manager George McPhee signed defenseman John Erskine to a two-year, $3.925 million contract extension earlier this year, games like Tuesday's win over Winnipeg are your answer.

Erskine twice saved goals in the first period by himself. The first was on a Bryan Little shot ripped from the left wing off a nice pass by teammate Andrew Ladd. But a sliding Erskine was there at the near post, a sprawling effort with goalie Braden Holtby unable to get over. Later in the first, a deflection popped off Holtby's shoulder and over him. But millimeters before it crossed the goal line, Erskine swept the puck out of danger.

"Sometimes when you fight and you play physical like that I think people overlook your skill," defenseman Steve Oleksy said. "[Erskine] makes great plays. He's strong on the puck. He's a leader back here on the D-corps for us. He might not wear a letter, but in the locker room everybody knows it, and I think people are starting to see it, too."

- Brian McNally