Saturday, November 04, 2006

It's About Time...

Well, I'll give the Caps this much - they sure know how to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss, and they make it interesting in the process.

I've decided not to discuss anything about last night's game, mostly because I was too bitter after seeing it all take place live to think clearly. After all, I'm sure there was something good about that loss - the first period was very well played and let's see, what else...I think there was a good pass or two somewhere in the last 40 minutes...

What's important is that it's over and they've recovered. Ben Clymer put it perfectly during the intermission report tonight - they have to learn from their mistakes then forget about it. I choose to do the same.

And so I turn my attention to tonight's victory in the city of brotherly love, 8 years in the making. Not to take anything away from the Caps' play tonight, but the Flyers are really struggling. In the one game I saw earlier this season against Atlanta, they didn't look half bad, but tonight I saw why they have only three wins on the year. They're slow and flat, nothing like the scary Philly teams of years past; the one sign of life was during a brief flurry in the third when they cut a four-goal deficit to two.

I was very impressed with the way the Caps played tonight, though. They really jumped on the slow defense and shaky goaltending to get an early lead, then held on to win it. You can't make the playoffs if you can't beat the teams below you. I remember too many games last season where the Caps seemed to play down to their opposition's level, saving their strong performances for the tougher teams. They just need to find that balance where they can approach all teams with the same fire and they'll be on their way to the postseason.

Tonight I focus only on the good, as I'm still giddy with the sounds of Philly boo-birds ringing in my head:
- Reunited and it feels so good: The reunion of the CBS line was a welcome surprise. It's not that I felt Clymer played all that badly on the blue line, but it's obvious how much more comfortable he is up front. Those three just compliment each other so well and they seem to lift the whole team up; after a flat start, I thought the team got it's jump following a particularly good shift by CBS. The icing on the cake? 2 points for each one, including Clymer's first two goals on the season.

- Heeere's Johnny: Despite allowing 3 goals, Johnson again looked very solid in net, making 33 saves on the night. I didn't really think he had much of a shot on any of the Philly markers, so he can hold his head high and celebrate his first win of the season, well-deserved and long overdue.

- Chocolate Sprinkles: Fleischmann was called up from Hershey for tonight's game, and I have to admit I was skeptical at first. I've never been completely sold on him - his play in the AHL has been sparkling but he's never really stuck out to me when playing against the big boys. I was pleasantly surprised with him tonight, though. He made good use of his somewhat limited ice time and got some decent scoring chances, eventually earning an assist on a deflected goal. I'll need to see more from him before I'm sure, but tonight was a good start.

- The Ovie Train Continues: Ovechkin added 2 more goals to bring his season total to 8 goals and 16 points in 13 games. That's ahead of his pace from last year, so I think people can be quiet now about him struggling. Ovie is just fine.

- One negative note - 19 shots through 3 periods is just awful. The Caps have got to start putting some rubber on the net. You won't get a weak goalie in there every night, and obviously your odds of scoring increase when your shots increase. Math is fun.

And there you have it - next up, the (somewhat) mighty Senators of Ottawa...who failed to help us out at all tonight, dropping their third straight to Carolina. Bad little Sens.

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