Saturday, October 28, 2006

Caps Manage a Point

The Caps earned a point on the road tonight and it was one more point than they deserved.

Olie Kolzig was once again a hero, following up his 45 save performance on Wednesday with 42 saves tonight to try to keep the Caps in a game they were well out of from the start. While Olie’s performance two nights ago was backed up by solid play all around, tonight looked like an AHL team against an all-star team.

The Caps looked lost from the first faceoff, running around in a futile attempt to head off the rapid fire passing of the Canucks and taking penalties out of sheer inability to stop the onslaught. They were unable to maintain any sort of offensive zone presence in the first period, mustering only one shot on net in the entire frame. Their only offense came in a quick burst over less than 3 minutes in the middle period, once on the 5-on-3 and once courtesy of Ovie off a pretty pass from Sutherby.

The play improved slightly from that point on, but the Caps were never able to create much of a threat. This is not to take away from the Canucks performance – Vancouver was quick and aggressive, shutting down any passing plays that developed and taking the body. However, I’m used to seeing the Caps rise to the level of the team they play and that simply did not happen tonight.

The Good:
- Olie Olie Olie.
- Goals with the 2-man advantage are always good in my book, since this was an area in which the Caps were downright anemic last year.
- Clarkie getting into a fight at just the right time helped to jumpstart his club enough to pull even with the Canucks – he played very well all night and continues to show why he is such a great captain.
- Sutherby was one of the few Caps who played a fairly strong game, capped off with a beautiful pass through the crease to a waiting Ovechkin to tie the score at 2. He was one of only 2 players with a +1 on the night.
- Hanlon and Ovechkin laughing on the bench during the shootout – Ovie is admittedly in a shootout slump, but Hanlon is smart to not let him take it too seriously. I would have loved to hear that conversation. Pretty funny to see Ovie grinning as he threw his helmet at the coach following his missed shot…

The Bad:
- 8 penalties is still too many, and starting a game with 4 in the first period alone is a good way to wear yourself out quickly.
- Semin’s scoring streak ends at 8 games, as he finishes tonight’s game without a goal or an assist. Still, not bad for Alex 2.0.
- Tonight’s game was a very hard fought, aggressive game with lots of hitting and physical play along the boards. That’s usually not a bad thing…unless you have to fly to Edmonton and play another game the next night.
- The Caps are now 0-4 in overtime and shootouts. Those extra points will start to add up come playoff time – they have to learn how to win in the extra periods.

The Ugly:
- 1-16-2-2 - that’s the shot total by period including overtime. With the exception of the second frame, just abysmal. There is no excuse for getting only 5 shots on net over a 45 minute period – unacceptable.
- Both Alexes had diving penalties - no need to start getting a bad reputation so early in the season.

- Tori Spelling was in attendance for tonight’s game. That should have been taken as a bad omen right there.

No comments: