There haven't been many games this season where the Caps pulled off a win they probably didn't deserve. They've definitely lost games they should have won, and don't get me wrong, I prefer winning to losing. But there's something about tonight's game that doesn't sit quite right with me.
They scored 6 goals - that was nice. Olie had some big saves - also nice. They just looked sluggish out there, though. So sluggish that at one point I thought Hatcher would actually catch up with the play. (Didn't happen, but he was threatening...)
Maybe I'm being too picky. After all, a win is a win. It's still two points, it's still a third straight victory, it's still a potential bump up the standings. I guess I just felt I deserved to see a better performance against a team that only cracked double digits in wins about a week ago.
But enough whining. On to the good/bad of the evening...
- Very, verrryyy sloooooow. This is a quick, young team that has been off for two days. Exactly what is their excuse for playing such an unenergetic game?
- Olie misses the shutout...again. Not his fault, by the way - a delicious combination of bed officiating and sloppy play by the Caps, and suddenly it's 5-1. And the guys just let him down on that second goal, which was actually a pretty nice play. Poor Olie.
- For the size of the crowd tonight and with the Barra Brava/Army of the Potomac in attendance, the arena was still pretty quiet. The only time I thought the roof would blow off was after the Caps killed off a lengthy 5-on-3 (which incidentally was created by another bad call on that second penalty), and it quieted down as quickly as it started. Seriously, people - it's called cheering on the home team. Look into it.
- Maybe it's just me, but lately within a game the special teams can flip from being awesome to being forehead-slapping bad. Case in point - the Caps get a power play goal, they kill off a 5-on-3...then they go and give up both a power play goal and a shorthanded goal (god I hate when they give up SHGs). That darn schizophrenia strikes again.
- There was a nice combination of pretty goals and garbage goals tonight, which I just love. You need both to be a competitive team - you can't always be waiting for that perfect shot to simply beat today's goaltenders. Goals came from the usual suspects and some unusual ones as well...and offense from all 4 lines, which I don't think we've had in a long time if at all this season:
- Donald Brashear was a beast tonight, plain and simple. You get the sense that he really likes playing against his old team, and he was rewarded with extra ice time for his hard work. And let's just talk about that goal - I saw it four or five times on the jumbotron and I still couldn't tell you how that baby went in the net. I honestly couldn't figure out why they had all stopped skating to celebrate! But good for Donald, getting his first of what I hope will be a long Capitals career. We love you Brash!
- Ben Clymer's fluke trickling goal 15 seconds in was absolutely hilarious. Did anyone notice that he kept shooting from the same place on the ice for the rest of the night?
- And then the pretty goals - Ovie with 2, Semin with 1, and wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles...Sutherby gets a very nice goal that squeaks in short side. I guess he knew I was talking about him recently, and he's trying to help me save face. Thanks, Sutsy!
But let's not forget the real reason for celebrating tonight's win - SWEEP! 4 straight, and that's the season, that's all she wrote, so long, farewell, buh-bye Flyers, history goes poof. It's almost sweet enough to make me stop complaining.
The win tonight, believe it or not, propels the Caps back up to 8th place from 11th. If you haven't noticed, the standings are a little snug right now, so that's going to happen many more times this season...as will the reverse. Stringing a couple of wins together is a good start, though - now bring on the Sunshine State!