Saturday, January 27, 2007

Fehr Thee Well

Apparently the Caps still remember how to win...I was getting a little worried there.

Last night's game wasn't all that bad, despite the final score, and I feel like the Caps were able to take the little things they did well from last night, repackage them, throw in some new blood (hello, Fehr!) and prove that they're not quite finished yet. They forechecked well, killed penalties effectively, worked the power play, and put up 7 goals against a Carolina team that has played very well lately.

That'll do, pig...that'll do.

There were obviously some stand out performances from certain individuals, and I'll get to them in a minute. But first I think it's important to point out the work of some guys who maybe didn't show up on the scoresheet but whose efforts were key in getting those two points:

- Shaone Morrisonn - He may have been -1 on the night, but I thought Mo had one of his better games in a long time. I love what he brings defensively on a regular basis (excluding that brief period when I was calling him Gonchar...we've since made up) but tonight he was using his size with some very nice checks and throwing in some good positioning with 2 blocked shots for an all around great job.

- Donald Brashear - Brash has really stepped up the forechecking over the past couple of weeks, and although he finished the night with just over 6 minutes of ice time, everytime he was on the ice he made his presence felt. He created turnovers and won battles along the boards with just some very good physical play. Plus you have to love the big grin after Beech scored, and the headlock he gave Olie after the win. Is anyone else getting the feeling that Donald really likes it here? The feeling is mutual, I'm sure.

- Jeff Schultz - After a handful of games with the big boys, Schultzie seems to be finding his comfort level and it definitely showed tonight. He was given a good chunk of time on the penalty kill for his efforts, registering the second highest ice time shorthanded behind only Gordon. The best part? +4 with 3 blocked shots for the big guy...can't ask for a better defensive showing than that.

It's hard to pick out just a few stars tonight - a lot of guys had good games, and with a 7-spot on the board you know there was offensive presence. Ovechkin and Semin continued their one-two punch, combining for 3 goals and 2 assists as they continue to dominate in the offensive zone. Semin in particular had a great game on both ends of the ice (crazy but true) and actually had more takeaways than turnovers.

I love the scoring from the rest of the bench, though. Laich with his 3rd shortie of the season, a truly hard-working effort that puts him in the top 10 in shorthanded goals...Kris Beech cashing in after what can only be described as a jaw-dropping individual effort by Ovechkin to control the puck...Clymer picking up an assist and actually registering a +1...Clark setting a new career high in goals (that I'm guessing will continue to rise before the end of the year)...

And of course, the highlight of the evening - Eric Fehr's first career NHL goal, a beautiful slap shot that proved to be the game-winner.

(Can we keep him? Please? I promise to walk him and feed him and pick up after him...)

3 unassisted goals, 2 power play goals, a shorthanded tally, a career first, a career high, good goaltending, hard wasn't the perfect game, but it was a solid one and an exciting one. So it makes me very happy to say: it's been another 2-point night!!

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