That's all I can think of: YAY.
The Caps snap their longest losing streak in almost 30 years and rake the Leafs in the process.
That's a double feel-good moment, if you ask me. In case there were questions as to whether I still had any Leafs-love left in me, the glee with which I watched them stumble and slop through tonight's game should put them to rest for good. It's official, I HATE the Leafs. Tucker, McCabe, Belak, even Sundin...every stinking one of them. So to put a 5 spot up against the Leafs and Raaaaaaycroft just made my night.
It wasn't necessarily a pretty game, but the way the Caps were playing and the way the Leafs were playing, it didn't have to be. There was some nice representation from Hershey out there tonight, with call-ups Giroux and Fleischmann getting goals and recent Hershey grads Beech and Gordon also adding tallies.
But tonight's game was really a showcase for three players:
#1 Alexander Semin - There are nights when he's playing lazy, sloppy hockey, nights when he's virtually invisible both on the ice and on the scoresheet. Kids, this was not one of those nights. Every time he had the puck Semin looked like a man possessed, dangling and stickhandling around every Toronto defenseman and making them look like they were standing still (although it's Toronto, so it is very possible they were simply standing still). He picked up two sick assists and an equally sick goal for an all around jaw-dropping performance tonight.
#2 Brooks Laich - Brooksie's had a bit of an up and down season, but I think its pretty safe to say this was one of his best games as a Cap. He seemed to be everywhere and was rewarded with a ton of ice time, leading all forwards on both teams with over 22 minutes. I guess Hanlon caught on, huh? Definitely not the only good play of the night for Laich, but the one that sticks out was the play he made getting back against a Leafs' shorthanded break - he just put on a burst of speed, got back, and made a terrific defensive play to stop the rush legally.
#3 Olie Kolzig - There had been speculation that Johnny would be in net tonight. Nothing against Johnny, but I'm awfully glad Olie was in there. He didn't have to stand on his head all that often but he had some thrilling saves and was just what the Caps needed him to be - solid. I wanted him to get the shutout, but that does not seem to be in the cards for poor Olie anytime soon...at least not with this defense.
Assorted goodies - Greenie actually had double digits in ice time tonight with just over 12 minutes, dished out 2 hits (including yet another on Tucker), and had no official turnovers; so that's a good night for Mike...Congrats to Giroux on his first NHL goal - not a pretty one, but it counts...Sutherby/Bradley/Brashear line was virtually invisible tonight; guess Hanlon's been studying the John Tortorella playbook...Ovie had a decent but quiet game, although that one crazy sequence where he twisted and turned all the way up the ice looked positively, er, Semin-esque...Pothier, Pothier, Pothier - turnovers, turnovers, turnovers...too many penalties, too many 5-on-3s for both teams...Morrisonn's having another rough stretch; I hope I don't have to start calling him names again...
(Of course the Penguins had to put a bit of a damper on my glee tonight, doubling up on the Habs 6-3...although even I'll admit Crybaby's first goal was pretty nice. Little punk.)
So the Caps' losing streak is officially over, and they did it in decisive fashion. That's two points that will make me happy until...well, until the next losing streak begins. But let's not be negative, not tonight. Plenty of time for that in the coming months, eh?
One more note, and this isn't Caps-related exactly, but congratulations to former Cap Mike Grier, whose wife gave birth to a baby girl earlier today. Best wishes to Mikey and the whole Grier family, including the newest little shorthanded goalscorer :)
Friday, March 16, 2007
That's all I can think of: YAY.