Sunday, January 13, 2008

Flyers Fly Away with Win

Early in the game it looked like things were well under control. The crowd was raucous, the Caps seemed to have some jump and Semin had scored with just over three minutes in to give the team an early 1-0 lead. They even drew a penalty - things were going right.

And then Backstrom took an ill-timed penalty 8 seconds into the man-advantage, negating the power play and shifting the momentum in a very strange way. From then on it seemed like the Caps were back on their heels, letting Philly dictate the play for most of the afternoon. Even a second Flyers penalty soon after Backstrom's minor did little to get the Caps.

There were good moments. There were periods of sustained attack and pressure, nice plays, and the usual 110% from Ovechkin, who had a goal and an assist to cap off a strong game. The Caps came back from a 4-1 deficit to make it close and kept pulling within one before ultimately being beaten by an empty-netter. Green and Morrisonn were strong on the blue line, both finishing +2 and Green picking up a goal and an assist in 25+ minutes of ice time.

Plus Briere didn't score - always a plus.

But the Caps were never able to fully recover and found themselves playing catch-up most of the game despite taking an early lead. It didn't help that first Kolzig and then Johnson coming in relief were both incapable of corraling rebounds, but there were other issues for sure. Semin had some dazzling moves but kept trying to pass when he should shoot and vice versa, a continuing problem in his game (especially when getting back after injuries). The power play was powerless and even gave up a shorthanded goal. The defense let the Flyers get in close and at least twice they whacked in a rebound from behind the Caps' goaltender.

Both Clark and Poti made their return to the lineup and it was, as expected, a shaky game for each of them - good things mixed with bad things. For Poti, it was the little things like clearing out the rebounds and getting shots on net that seemed off, and he finished a disappointing -3. Clark's timing appeared to be off and he played under nine minutes, although he did pick up an assist and throw a hit that drew a cheer from the crowd - we missed him, that's for sure.

It just looked like a rusty game all around for the Caps. They got away from their systems, their way of playing, and let the Flyers play however they wanted. They would sustain pressure only to turn over the puck; they would block shots and angle the Flyers to the outside only to allow a scramble in front of the net.

In terms of points, it was a big day for a lot of people; eleven different Flyers and nine Caps registered at least a point.

...and did I mention that Briere was not among them? It's the little things. Literally.

A little rust is not a complete surprise, although a surprise would have been nice. One game in seven days isn't a great schedule but now things will pick up again, and the Caps need to shake it off to get ready for the final game with the Senators on Tuesday. The important thing is to not let one loss become two become three, etc.
It ends here - on to the next game.

Photo courtesy of AP


Nadine said...

Yeah, no points for Tiny!Briere. That just makes me insanely happy.

Chris said...

Semin's dazzling moves are completely useless next to his giveaways and lazy defensive play. I am at least happy to see that the team did not fold down 4-1. I'll be there Tuesday.

CapsChick said...

Nadine: I'm hoping the win also makes you insanely happy ;) But yes, I was giddy when I saw that the little troll stayed off the scoresheet. At least as giddy as I can be after losing, you know?

Chris: I...don't know what Semin's issue is. I love him and will continue to defend him but I had the urge to throw something hard and blunt at his head after he made 52345098 gorgeous moves to get open in the slot and then tried to pass the puck, resulting in a turnover. He drives me crazy.

We have a bad case of giveawayitis on this team for sure, and it's not just Semin - even Ovie and Green do it, no one should be above criticism and Boudreau needs to nip it in the bud. Now.