Saturday, December 23, 2006

That's Two Points, Eh?

I'll admit it - ever since I lived in Canada, that 'eh' at the end of a sentence has just sounded right. I can't explain it.

But enough about me...that's another big road win for the good guys!

I have to say, the first half of the game looked a lot like I thought it would - both teams being very tentative, playing the trap, not taking a lot of chances... Zzzzzzz. These are two banged up teams coming off a two game losing streak with young players on the roster. I figured the whole 60 minutes would be a snoozefest, first team to squeak one by wins.

Enter the Alexes.

After a virtual goaltenders' duel and a solid but boring start to the game, the whole thing was blown wide open halfway through the second as the Caps made the Leafs pay for their parade to the box, netting three goals on three consecutive power plays during the middle frame.

Even better was the fact that all three were truly great plays. Ovechkin's goal, a pretty rebound over Raycroft, was nice in it's own right but nothing compared to the initial work by Semin to get the puck up ice and through all four Leaf defenders. Then came Semin's goal, his blistering shot that we've come to know and love that absolutely froze everything in a blue jersey en route to the top corner of the net. Then, of course, the game-winning goal by Zubrus on a jaw-dropping, backwards skating goal.

It almost makes up for the 17 shots he whiffed on during this game. (Aw, Zubie, you know I love ya...but you'll never win an accurate shot contest.)

Good:
- Alex, Alex, Dainius. Three highlight goals in the books for those guys. Need I say more?
- Power play, 3-6...again, need I say more?
- Solid performance tonight from Olie, who was beaten only twice - once on a penalty shot, a call that I can only guess was bribe-induced, and once 14 seconds later on a power move to the net. And let's face it, both were courtesy of Sundin; the guy's got a future in hockey.
- Schultz had a really good game (falling down on a Sundin breakaway aside) and made some nice defensive plays along the boards, and Nycholat didn't have any glaring mistakes either - as a young d-man callup, that's all you can ask for. The icing on the cake for me, though, was Green's hit on Darcy Tucker towards the end of the game. There is no more beautiful sight than that man flying through the air and landing on his rump.
- The Caps took only 3 minor penaltiesand killed all of them off like pros, including a Zubrus hooking minor late in the third.

Bad:
- The game got a little too interesting down the line there, as the Caps blew a 3 goal lead to let the Leafs back in the game in just a 14 second span.
- Oddly enough with all the young'uns on the blue line, the defenseman who struggled the most in my mind was Pothier. He seemed to be having kind of a rough game, uncharacteristically turning the puck over a few times in his own zone. He did recover well, though, and usually made a good defensive play to redeem himself shortly after.
- Eminger wasn't bad, per se - at least not as bad as he was in the last two games - but he wasn't great, either. I think we can all agree that Erskine needs to heal very quickly.

So a good all-around effort by the Caps gives them two points on the road and a little air between themselves and the Leafs, although they hold steady at 8th in the conference and 3rd in the division. Boston's win tonight leapfrogs them over Toronto (although it comes at a high price, with the B's ending Montreal's 5-game win streak) and things continue to get interesting as we head towards the halfway mark.

The entire NHL is off for Christmas, so the Caps return to action Tuesday night for the much ballyhooed rematch with Buffalo.

Boxing Day may take on a whole new meaning.

6 comments:

Rob said...

wow, first time reading your blog and Im totally blown away. Your description of the Toronto game was word for word what I would have written. only your punctuation was better. You sound like an awesome person to watch a game with. Im going to keep reading this blog.

CapsChick said...

Thanks for the compliments!

And yes, I'm an awesome person to watch a game with (although I have a tendency to talk to the screen a lot...that's not weird, is it?)

Victor said...

Capschick, like Rob, I love reading your wrapups.

CapsChick said...

You guys are far too kind.

But if anyone else out there thinks I'm awesome, please let me know! :)

Victor said...

My guinea pig likes you, too, only hungrier.

CapsChick said...

Oh, good - I've been trying to get that rodent vote in the polls... :)