Tuesday, February 27, 2007

An Anticlimactic End to a Crazy Night

After the Panthers scored their third goal in less than ten minutes to start tonight's game, I turned to my stepmother and said, "they're going to rally, I can feel it."

...I was kidding.

I'm trying to not let shootout losses get me down anymore, so from here on out I've decided to count them as ties and move on. We don't need the points anyways, so who cares?

So we'll call this was a very valiant tie, one deserving of the Caps.

I don't know if it felt this way to anyone else, but it seemed like both the Caps and the fans started this game a little flat, still reeling from the trades of the last two days. Most notably absent was Dainius Zubrus, but it was also strange not seeing Heward and Zednik out there without them being injured. Throw in Clark's continued absence with a sprained shoulder, and this one could have easily been over before the game was a period old.

But the Caps put together a performance that made me proud - they held their heads high, my brave little soldiers, and marched on in honor of their former teammates. They were nipping at Florida's lead all night, spotting them a goal or two before cutting the lead back to one until finally tying it. As empty as the building was, I thought the roof would blow off when Laich tied it up.

Just a couple of thoughts:

- I loved the SOB line :) Sutherby, Ovechkin and Brashear had a fun chemistry when put together and at the very least crashed some bodies into the glass. It's good to see Sutherby getting rewarded for his strong play over the last week and he added another two points to this little hot streak. Glad to see him finally start to turn it on. Meanwhile, Brash had close to ten minutes of ice time, the longest he's had in a while, and put it to good use. He doesn't quite have the finish of Clark, though, I have to say...

- I'll admit I was a little nervous when Cassivi came in to the game in relief of Johnny after the first period. But Freddy looked very sharp tonight and the guys did a good job of letting him see shots and cleaning up rebounds. He allowed just one goal on 18 shots - give him credit for coming in at a tough point in the game and keeping the Caps in it long enough to get the tie.

- A lot of guys looked good - Laich and Sutherby had good games, as did Beech (although he can't finish on a breakaway to save his life). Jurcina, who has been playing the body superbly, made sure that tonight was no exception with a bone-rattling hit that brought the fans to their feet.

- And then there were some who looked bad - You can't really blame Eminger and Muir for being a little rusty, with one out for a few weeks as a healthy scratch and the other with a broken bone. Pettinger seemed to be having a rough game, turning over the puck on one play that led to another Panthers goal and just not being able to finish. And Semin - well, it was a very Semin-like performance; jaw-dropping stickhandling followed by the predictable lazy pass or turnover. Grr.

- Power play was 3 for 5 tonight. 3 FOR 5! That's one way to break out of a PP slump.

- Shots were even at 33 apiece - when is the last time you saw that against the Panthers?

- So these games against Florida - they're supposed to be rivalries, right? Jokinen scored a hat trick and I must have missed the announcement, because I didn't even know it until they announced him as one of the three stars. Where are all the opposition fans? Where were the hats? For the love of god, give us back our archenemies...please.

- And then the shootout...yeah.

So the Caps turn another corner and continue on without good friends Dainius Zubrus, Jamie Heward, and Richard Zednik. We'll miss them and we wish them all the best. The hope now is that the new additions and draft picks will yield some success for us in the future, whenever the future may come.

It was a good game, though, and I was very pleased with the outcome of a game that, to be honest, I wasn't looking forward to.

Oh, and one more thing: Alex Ovechkin is


Victor said...

Forget what I said last week about Johnny stepping it up, 'k?

CapsChick said...

Yeah, Johnny was a little rough...I don't think all 4 goals were his fault, though. And one stumble amongst the great starts he's had is allowed.

Cassivi really stepped up, though. I was impressed.