Friday, November 30, 2007

Not Enough

Such a strange game.

Could there have been anything else that happened tonight? A penalty shot, three reviewed goals (all going against the Caps), funny bounces, an Ovechkin hat trick where the third goal came against his own team...insane.

It's hard to be too upset - obviously we would have preferred that the Caps get two points they so desperately need right now, but this wasn't for lack of trying this time and that is a huge difference.

Let's focus on the positives, because frankly I thought the Caps played a great game and just fell victim to too many bad bounces going against them and not enough in their favor. Gee, I feel like I've said that before...

- Ovechkin. Does the kid ever have a bad game anymore? He was firing at top speed tonight and was involved in multiple scoring chances for the Caps.

- The power play looked very good, maintaining lots of offensive zone pressure and striking twice. They still need to work on just making the simple play and shooting the puck at the net, but if nothing else they made the Canes penalty killers work for it.

- Am I crazy or did the line of Fleischmann-Backstrom-Semin look very strong all night? Flash impressed me with his hard work, Semin not only looked more like himself but even did some backchecking and drew some penalties, and Backstrom...well, he just continues to elevate his game night after night.

- This isn't necessarily a positive, but I think Seidenberg has become public enemy number one for that whack at Semin's leg. If he is hurt again I swear...

- With injuries to Clark and Gordon, key members of the Caps penalty killing units, it would have been very easy to write off the PK against Carolina's high-flying power play. The Caps did a great job in their absence, though, killing off all four penalties with confidence.

- A big part of that penalty killing was Quentin Laing, who made his Caps debut tonight and logged almost half of his total ice time when the Caps were shorthanded. I was very impressed with how he performed. When core players go down with injury all you ask of AHL callups is that they slide in effortlessly, fill a spot and don't make any huge mistakes. He succeeded...and then some.

- A couple of key numbers:

  • 3 - the number of turnovers the Caps had all game. Tremendous improvement.
  • 6 - shots on goal by Ovechkin
  • 5 - shots on goal by Backstrom, amazingly enough
  • 11 - takeaways by the Caps, who were pouncing on loose pucks all night and generating chances (the Canes? 3.)
  • 21 - blocked shots for the Caps
  • 4 - blocked shots by Laing, the highest on the team
Okay. So the next step for the Caps is to complete the comeback. No more of these last minute goals to make it a one-goal game, no more blowing leads. Closing out games is going to be absolutely essential if they ever want to climb out of the cellar...and I'm pretty sure they do.

Tomorrow the Caps travel to Sunrise, Florida to take on the Panthers and I think what we need to look for iszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

...oh, sorry. Guess the thought of yet another thrilling meeting with Florida just can't keep me awake. Strange.


DMG said...

You had a much more positive take on the game than me, although I did think the Caps played well.

I guess I was just overwhelmed by the bad luck this team has been having. Seriously, who can't catch a break for 20+ games?

Chris & Sarah said...

I gotta know, what was it about last night that caused two of our Russian stars to direct the puck at our own net?