Thursday, March 01, 2007

Drama Queens

I'll give 'em this much - the Caps certainly have a flair for the dramatic.

First they register just three shots on goal in the entire first period...and the first one is a goal.
Then they jump out to a 3-1 lead...only to let Tampa tie it.
Then Tampa takes the lead...and the Caps score with just over 10 seconds left in regulation.
Then they get a power play that carries over into overtime...and don't score.
Then they take two penalties of their own in overtime...and kill them off.
Then they get to the shootout...and NO one scores. For 11 rounds. Except for Nick Tarnasky of all people.

I swear, I needed a valium by the end. But seriously, give the boys credit, all the boys, for putting together a very entertaining game. The Caps may have blown a two goal lead, but they did a good job of taking control in the first place, then staged yet another late comeback to force overtime. It of course went to the shootout, so you know that now means a tie here in the cheap seats.

Yay for ties!

A few nuggets that fell out of my head:
- Matt Bradley is going to need to soak in a tub of ice for the next week after that game. The guy was throwing his body around with a manic passion I've never seen. No wonder he has an eternal black eye.

- Alexander Semin was a hitting machine. Seriously, he almost killed Nolan Pratt. Of course, then Pratt started yelling at him and I think he got scared, because he stopped hitting after that.

- Milan Jurcina is, to put it simply, a beast. He's got that "latch onto a guy and slam him into the boards at full speed" move down pat...and now he does it legally.

- Are you sensing a theme? There was a lot of hitting tonight. A lot. [Edit: Okay, I just checked the stats and I stand corrected. There weren't that many hits, Caps with a slight edge 17-14. But there were some good ones, and that's what stuck out.]

- Johnny looked a little rough at times, but he also made some great saves. He also seemed to be saving the fireworks for the shootout, where he was pretty amazing (with a little help from a goalpost, but still).

- Clymer and Pothier in the shootout: pretty entertaining. Brashear in the shootout: the funniest thing I have ever seen, hands down. Do you get the feeling Hanlon isn't taking the shootout too seriously at this point? Loved the smiles on the bench afterwards, and the ovation from the crowd when he took center ice was great.

- Jiri Novotny was a pleasant surprise, I have to say. He looked a little nervous to start the game and had some shaky moments throughout, but he also made some great passes and picked up his first point as a Cap with an assist on Ovie's goal. And not a Crosby assist, either - a bona fide primary setup, perfectly placed, that Ovie just rifled past Holmqvist.

- The shorthanded goal aside, the Caps power play looked strong towards the end there. Lots of movement, actual passes connecting, and 1.5 goals (I count half of Mo's goal as a PP because it had just expired when he scored). Penalty killing was also very good tonight, and that seems to be an area the Caps have improved on. Gordo continues his excellence in that field but Sutherby is coming along nicely.

- So...I have no idea what the line combos were tonight. From what I saw, I thought Laich did well with Novotny and Fleischmann. Beech held his own with the two Alexes. The CBS line made a brief reappearance. It was fun to watch though. There were times when it seemed like Hanlon had all their names written on dice, then shook them up and whatever names came out were put on the ice. What the hell, right? Not like the points matter anymore.

- 7 of the last 12 games the Caps have played have gone to overtime. And they've won...1.

- Bengt Gustaffson in the house...*sigh* That was awesome.

Another shootout, another tie game. Good job all around by the boys in black. I expect to see the same effort Saturday night when a cavalcade of former Caps comes to town, along with one former Oiler. Should be interesting.

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