Sunday, November 12, 2006

Olie Saves

We all knew the Caps would come out tonight at least playing better than they did Thursday night (wouldn’t be hard)…the question was would it be enough to beat a very hot Rangers team, and I am ecstatic to say the answer was yes!

The whole team really came out firing, putting 17 shots on net in the first period and taking a 1-0 lead on a Boyd Gordon goal, his first in 3 years. Brashear finally got someone to drop the gloves early in the 1st but managed to finish off his opponent, Colton Orr, fairly quickly…it wasn’t really an evenly matched fight, but fun nonetheless. The Rangers did wake up to join us for the last two frames, firing 37 shots in the final 40 minutes and unfortunately connecting on one to rob Olie of a shutout he so richly deserved.

But overall I was really impressed with their work tonight – of course they went through their usual issues in the second period but managed to hang on and really finished strong despite allowing a late goal. While the Rangers put lots of shots on net there were more that were blocked or deflected, and the poke check was out in full force tonight.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Caps-Rangers game in DC if I didn’t mention those lovable Rangers’ fans who make the pilgrimage to every matchup between these old friends. I was lucky enough to be seated behind a large group of particularly intelligent NY fans who spent much of the first period trying to figure out where their seats were.

I know it’s difficult, really – row A comes before B, which is followed by C…then we throw in that extra trick of numbering the seats, just to confuse you more.

Verizon Center is a tricky place, I swear.

Anyways, they then spent the rest of the game taking pictures of each other and trying to get a good “Let’s Go Rangers” cheer going – thankfully the majority of our section and those around us were Caps fans that were having none of it, responding with a “Rangers Suck” that got louder each time. An aside, nice work to any of you who were in attendance and joined in the booing of Jagr whenever he touched the puck. I think it really started to get in his head by the end…

Good/Bad time…

- Olie - The man is not human, I swear. He stood on his head and made some miraculous saves to keep a very trigger-happy Rangers squad in check all night long.
- Shaone Morrisonn – Mo did a great job shadowing Jagr and managed to keep him off the scoreboard. It was nice to see him rewarded with the #3 star of the game for his hard work – he’s really starting to come into his own as a d-man.
- First Period Work – For once the Caps didn’t limp into a game, taking charge from the first faceoff and completely controlling the play through the first 20 minutes. They outshot the Rangers 17-5 in the first period, a rarity in itself, and really made New York pay for coming out flat.
- Olie – He was so good I had to put him on here twice. I was really pulling for that shutout down the stretch, but it was still a spectacular performance and proof enough that he deserves to be in the All-Star game.
- Lundqvist – I have to do this, as much as it pains me – the Rangers sophomore goalie really put on a show in his own right and kept them in a game they never deserved to be in, and for that I have to give him credit.

- Outshot Again – After outshooting the Rangers 17-5, the Caps were then only able to muster a pathetic 11 shots during the rest of the game. There were a lot of missed shots and a lot of blown chances with the extra man that will need work.
- Rangers Fans – Nothing the Caps did wrong, just something that had to be said. Blech.

Just a quick note for anyone who had wanted to check out practice tomorrow at the new Ballston digs - practice was originally moved from noon to 11:00 a.m. but has now been cancelled per the ticker on the Caps website.

And that’ll do it until tomorrow – it’s been another 2-point night, Caps Fans! (My little homage to Mr. Ron Weber, Capitals legend…check out his interview with On Frozen Blog, it’s awesome!)

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