Thursday, November 16, 2006

Bruins Bruise Caps in Shootout

Last night’s game was interesting to say the least. There was a pretty good crowd (eventually, because no one ever gets to games on time in DC), although there were a few too many Bruins fans there. Luckily Bruins fans aren’t that obnoxious as a group, and it helped push the attendance over the 10K mark...

Anyways, I don’t think anyone looked at the schedule this year and thought Caps-Bruins would be a clash of the titans, and they were right, although the Caps did pretty much outplay the B’s through the first two periods...I think. It was hard to tell at times with all the whistles and penalties – it got to the point where a penalty was being called every two or three minutes like clockwork, and there was never really much of a flow to the game.

The Bruins came out flying in the third and after being outshot through two periods they managed to even up the shots by the end of the game. Olie made some nice saves to keep it tied and the defense had some good moments as well, but the majority of the third period felt like it was played in the Caps end.

And then came the shootout...

Here’s what I don’t get. Why does this team that has scored the 10th most goals in the league, that has Ovechkin, that has Semin, Zubrus, Pettinger, find it impossible to score during the shootout? It’s absolutely unreal, and it’s something that needs some work if the Caps don’t want to be playing golf in April. How many teams missed the playoffs last year because of blown points due to shootout/overtime losses?


At least they got a point. That’s good, right?


- Olie Kolzig – I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but Olie was really great last night. Boston got on the board early in the game with two goals that I really don’t think Olie could have stopped, but he then made 33 saves to keep the Caps in it and give them a chance to claw their way back.
- Matt Pettinger – He’s back and better than ever. He scored his first shorthanded goal of the season on a beautiful breakaway and now has 4 goals in his last 6 games.
- Special Teams – Penalty killing was good overall, although the Bruins power play hardly looked scary until the last period, and Pettinger’s shortie was enough to take the wind out of Boston’s sails for a little while at least. After a rough start to the evening’s power plays, the Caps actually got a bit of a rhythm going and managed to get a lot of shots on goal, eventually connecting for the tying marker in the second period.

- Penalties – Both teams were consistently being whistled for various infractions, including the ever popular too many men on the ice and my personal favorite, delay of game.
- Turnovers – There were too many times that the Caps just coughed up the puck, whether it was along the boards or an errant cross-ice pass. I think we counted 4 or 5 turnovers by Semin alone in the first period...
- Shootout – Ugh.

- Chara – Every time the Caps played the Senators last year Chara was practically glued to Ovie’s hip, so there was no reason for me to think the same wouldn’t happen with Chara’s new team. Maybe it was just me, but Ovie seemed to have plenty of room out there and I actually had to look for Chara during the first 40 minutes. Strange.

*UPDATE* - I just finished reading Dave Fay's breakdown of last night's game and apparently Zubrus collided with Chara (the big oaf) and left the game midway through the third period. I didn't see it, so I don't know how bad it was. I guess that explains why he didn't take part in the shootout. Poor Zubie - here's hoping it just knocked the wind out of him and he's okay.

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