Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

Photo courtesy of AP

There's no better way to ring in the New Year than with a dominant win over the East's best team, and the Caps accomplished that feat with flying colors.

Saturday saw the Caps and the Sens duke it out in a defensively shaky performance that saw fourteen goals scored, seven in the third period alone. But yesterday's game was all about team toughness - both mental and physical.

After falling behind quickly by two, goals which were both results of poor defensive plays, the Caps roared back with four first period markers of their own to take the lead. They weathered a third period Senators storm without two of their big minute guys, Semin and Poti. They scored their first five on three goal of the year. They got goals from all areas of the lineup, including Viktor Kozlov's long awaited fourth tally. And they sweep the home and home series against a team no one thought they could beat.

In the first five minutes the Caps looked outplayed, outclassed, and disinterested. You can't give up two quick goals to guys like McAmmond and Neil who, as important as they may be to the Senators lineup, are not renowned for their scoring. It would not have been strange to see the whole Caps bench slump in despair.

But immediately after the second Sens goal Boudreau tossed out the top line of Ovechkin, Backstrom and Kozlov. They danced around the Ottawa defense, passing and weaving through players to set up the perfect play - Backstrom to Kozlov to the back of the net. Follow that up with a dazzling scoring chance by Pettinger, a quick four on four goal by Nylander that caught Gerber napping, and a quicker and more beautiful goal by Mike Green...and the Caps never looked back.

There were some great things about yesterday. First of all, the crowd was big and loud and draped in red, a rarity that hopefully won't be a rarity much longer if the team keeps this up. The Caps continued to prove that they can come back from a deficit and they did it against a team that had only lost four times when scoring first. They got a balanced attack from the top three lines and a handful of points from the blueline. And they got strong goaltending from Olie, who has really raised his game over the last few nights despite the number of goals allowed.

It's easy to say that Ottawa might have underestimated the Caps the first time they lost. The second win was an old-fashioned shootout that saw neither team playing their strongest defense and the Caps squeaking out an eight goal victory. Three wins in a row and maybe the rest of the league will start to take notice - this Caps team is a punchline no longer.

Of course, that doesn't mean the Ottawa Sun has to try and learn their names, right? Figure out what's wrong with the following quote:

The Senators figured out a way to silence Alex Ovechkin yesterday. Next time, they better come up with a plan to also contain Boyd Gordon.

A 24-year-old who entered the day with 10 goals in 161 NHL games, Gordon had his second and third of the season against an Ottawa team that turned in its second straight abysmal performance.
The information about Boyd Gordon is correct, obviously - 24 years old, 10 goals in 161 NHL games, blah blah blah...and he did have a two-point night. But I doubt Ottawa will look back at this game and think, "Huh...we should have shut down that Gordon kid." Good work, Ottawa Sun. That's almost as good as the moment on the NHL Network last night when Neil Smith talked about "Mike Laich".

...who?

Anyways.

Washington jumps right back into action Thursday night, hitting the road with their first visit to Boston on the season. They'll face a Bruins team that just snapped a six game losing streak and is hungry to get back into the top eight - they need to carry over the confidence from this home and home series to steal two points at the Garden.

That's a two-point night and a Happy New Year indeed!

12 comments:

Victor said...

'Nuff said!

PaV said...

Friggen Caps.. :P

Victor said...

Dang...none of the Sens blogs have updated in weeks!

CapsChick said...

Victor: Nah, I'm just lazy ;) And as for the Sens blogs, they must have known they wouldn't want to talk about these last few games!

Pav: Aw, you're just bitter...poor little fan of the best team in the East!

I really need to take you up on that bet one of these days - although I really do think they like when I don't have faith in them.

Shelby said...

WHEEEE.

Yeah man, that was certainly nice. But wait, Mike Laich? You're kidding, right? Oh my GOSH. That's just sad. Poor Laich.

It was a good game, lots of fun to watch (excluding the first 5) and we definately need to keep it up.

PaV said...

CC - well if/when/how/plan on coming up - I will have to take you out for some SENS humble pie.

BTW - have you and HG decided when that will happen!?

Victor - that's because we do not want to acknowledge these last two games. Seriously.

Victor said...

Pav, honestly, I don't want to rub your face in it or anything (I reserve that for Philly, Flightless Fowl, and slugs fans) but I do like to take a look on it and see what they're saying.

Plus, Sherry at Scarlett Ice does some really nice writing.

PaV said...

Victor - oh feel free to rub it in my face. My team was just sad. Really really really really sad.

Sherry has been in Ottawa the last week, I expect a new post today.

BAH!

Victor said...

Nah, Pav, I couldn't do that. I'm still grateful to the Sens for knocking the slugs out of the playoffs last year. I still remember where I was when Alfie scored that goal...

While Sherry does do some nice writing, I do want to say the very bestest hockey writing is right here.

PaV said...

Victor - I have to say that all thel ladies of HLOG are quite talented. HG, Sherry, CC, Jordi and others have a great sense of the game, weather their team is winning or losing.

And yes, when Alfie scored that goal. I know exactly where I was and what beer I was drinking.

:P

PaV said...

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=226399&hubname=

:-)

Shelby said...

Meh. It had to end eventually. At least my favorite non-Cap got a goal. (Go Chara!)