Sunday, February 04, 2007

Glass-Shattering Win

For the second time in two days, the Caps found themselves in a tight defensive game. Yesterday's loss to the Penguins was a 1-0 nailbiter that really went down to the wire until an empty net goal finished them off. So after the way that game went, it would appear safe to assume that a 1-1 game that has to go to a shootout would also be pretty darn exciting.

Well, you know what they say when you assume...

It's not really the Capitals' fault. They actually played okay and provided at least a few glimpses of thrilling hockey amidst the mind-numbing "action" (although for the life of me I can't figure out why no one can pass the puck. At least to their own teammate. Black? White? Again, easily confused.) But take the fact that the injury-ridden Isles looked about as stimulating as a piece of dry toast...then throw in a good four or five delays as the arena essentially fell apart at the seams...add the overtime...then the shootout...zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

This game was almost as long as that infamous overtime playoff game back in the '80s, except that game was actually exciting. Luckily I got to watch this one with the help of my trusty fast forward button, but I can only imagine how the poor people watching it live must have felt.

In the end, though, all that really matters is the win. And they did win, if you managed to stay awake long enough to catch it, in a shootout of all things. If anyone's keeping track (and who are we kidding, we all know this stat), that's the first shootout win of the season....and it only took six tries.

Give credit where credit is due, though. Both goalies played extremely well, as would usually be the case in a 1-1 tie. Olie looked great in the shootout, which is good because the Caps only got one goal - a nice backhander from Semin in the first round. The defense again was on the ball, mostly limiting Blake and company to shots from the perimeter and not really giving up too many odd-man breaks. Zednik seemed to have some jump again and, if you listen to Craig Laughlin actually got the lone Caps' goal, although all official sources still credit Matt Pettinger with the marker.

By the way, poor Petty - Locker basically cornered him in between periods and pointed out how the goal should be Zed's. I thought Matt was going to cry for a minute there...luckily he bounced back pretty quickly and seemed to eventually be able to laugh about it.

Sure, it may not have been an edge of your seat type of game even with the tight score. There may not have been a lot of flow to the game. There may not have been any dazzling Ovechkin moves, which if you're keeping track (and again, of course you are) extends his points drought to...GASP...two whole games.

I know. I know. Trade him, he's useless.

But the Caps pick up two points, which in this crazy mixed-up world actually propels them back over the Bruins and Panthers into 12th place and, more importantly for my pride, out of the division basement. I've already acknowledged that the postseason is probably not in the cards for this team, but they're certainly not out of it yet. With today's win they now sit 8 points behind 8th place Carolina with a game in hand, and 9 points separate 6th and 12th place.

Of course, they will need some help down the line.

No, scratch that - the Caps will need a lot of help down the line. For one thing it would be nice if the Penguins stopped winning so know, just for my own personal happiness. A special thanks to Montreal for making that happen for me today, by the way.

For another, they have played more games than each of the three teams holding spots 9 through 11. It's an uphill battle for sure, but as we've seen so many times already this season, anything can happen at any given moment.

We may have already counted them out, but I don't think the Caps are ready to concede defeat just yet.

All I can say is...stay tuned.


Tyler said...

As you said, it wasn't an offensive game, but it was exciting to see some defense from both of these teams... who have traditionally not been great in that department!

I like your blog, despite your choice of teams. :)

CapsChick said... I sense a Penguins fan in my midst? ;) Thanks for the compliment! Keep reading, I'll save you from the dark side soon enough. Because you too can have an intense inferiority complex and a deep-seeded yet irrational hatred of Sidney Crosby!

The game on Saturday was exciting - of course, the wrong team won...just putting that out there. Rematch next Sunday - Let's Go Caps!