Monday, December 17, 2007

So Close...

This game was supposed to be a layup for the Wings. A slam dunk. An easy two points. Well, no one told the Caps that.

There was a general sense among Caps fans that if the boys could just avoid being completely embarrassed, it would be okay. Not only did they not get embarrassed, they were right in there all night - trading goals and matching saves until all that remained was the shootout, the Caps' nemesis.

The Caps had plenty of opportunities to pack it in, and the team we watched during the dark days earlier this season would definitely have done just that. They didn't. The Wings took an early lead...the Caps tied it up with a huge Ovechkin tally. They then jumped into the lead themselves off a fluky Schultz goal...and then saw Detroit tie it up.

The one that could have been the backbreaker, though, came in the third period. Holmstrom tipped a Datsyuk shot into the net with just over five minutes left in the game to take a 3-2 lead, and it looked like the Caps were done.

Enter Alexander Semin, who took advantage of a delay of game penalty to rifle one past Hasek and bring the game even at three. Overtime reared its ugly head and the Caps got a few lucky bounces (Olie has got to close those legs faster) and a few unlucky ones (Ovechkin in close on Hasek...oy).

And then we get my very favorite way to decide a game: the shootout. You know, it's almost not fair to have to face Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Hudler one-on-one; Detroit has an embarrassment of young talent on their team and that was that, game over, despite Semin's goal which was gorgeous and Kozlov's shot off the crossbar which was...painful.

Olie really had a good night, especially in regulation, and faced down 27 of 30 shots including 9 from Zetterberg. Alexander Semin continues to look like he's almost 100% and showed it with not only a game-tying goal to force overtime but a simply beautiful shootout goal - he also had no turnovers, no penalties, and 5 shots (7 attempted). And the whole team really hung together in another solid effort on the road.

Favorite stat of the night: Four turnovers for the Caps. In the entire game.

Weird stat of the night: Only one non-goalie Cap failed to register at least a shot on goal - Viktor Kozlov.

Major credit goes to the Caps for not listening to the naysayers and really making it a contest worth watching. I think we all know that while they are better than their record shows, they're also not quite at Detroit's level - and that's okay.

For now a point feels like two.


Biff said...

Holmstrom's second goal was especially painful to watch, as I could tell from the moment Datsyuk crossed the blue line exactly what was going to happen. I was screaming "Somebody cover Holmstrom!!!" at my television. Sadly, Niklas Backstrom cannot hear me through the TV.

Anonymous said...

I feel like Green is slowly growing on me like some ridiculous blueline weed.

Also, big slow goalies may have big slow five holes, but at least your big slow five hole stays in the crease. I swear, I'm going to knock Conklin out and drape him creatively.

george said...

oh my God.

that is all i am capable of saying at this moment. i am also fairly certain i blacked out while talking to Gordie Howe.

more later when recover my entire vocabulary.

(hmm. case in point.)

(and the Caps gained one ;) - plus some nice compliments from a tough crowd. sorry you couldn't have been there. everyone should see a game in this town. Go HOCKEY!!!)

Steph said...

Teka you leave Conks alone! (Although oh my god I can relate - by now every time Hasek so much as gets a skate outside the blue I want to kill him.)

Great game though! I'm so glad your boys came out and fought so hard, it made it awesome to watch - now why can't they come around more than once every THREE YEARS?

PaV said...

CC - it was a hard loss. But the good news is that Semin managed to put one in the net. The monkey is off his back. Hopefully that will get him going.

Olie looked sharp, can't really fault him on any of the goals. I was really hoping that Hasek would get his ass handed to him, but again his team bailed him out. The Caps deserved a better fate than last night. Bah.

DMG said...

I can't speak for any other Caps fans, but I was expecting at least a tie. The Caps are playing well and the Wings aren't this good. I thought it was time for them to come to earth.

Still, I'll take the tie