Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Recap/Preview Double Feature

Lots of stuff to cover, so little time...

First of all, last night's game. Aside from a blunder by Nicklas Backstrom and a BIGGER blunder by referee Bill McCreary, the Caps had a solid game and did a good job of mounting a comeback - twice - and snatching two points from the Blue Jackets. Naturally it helps when the starting goaltender gets taken out with an injury, but you can't say the Caps weren't buzzing before and after LeClaire got hurt, or that Norrena was necessarily to blame for the other goals.

Ovechkin was again a force to be reckoned with, as is becoming the usual - his two tallies give him 45 on the year, if anyone is keeping track. And you know we all are. Eric Fehr had a solid game as well and if that line meshes as it looks like it will that trio could become very potent. Semin's goal was very pretty and that new line of Semin-Kozlov-Fleischmann actually had some really entertaining shifts.

The real story tonight, though, wasn't Ovechkin or Semin or Brent Johnson (who was good when he had to be but not extensively challenged). It was Tom Poti.

Forget the goal and the assist on the game-winning goal; before all that Poti was having a stunningly good defensive game. In reality it shouldn't be that surprising - in the last few weeks Poti has stepped up his game and become a much more solid defenseman, which is what the Caps need him to be. But tonight he really was fantastic, blocking shots, playing in near-perfect position...and yes, getting a goal and an assist. We like those.

Quote of the night, courtesy of Shaone Morrisonn:

It was a great hip check by Billy [McCreary] there. I don't know what he was doing in the middle, but everybody makes mistakes. Thank God we got the win, or I probably would have fought him.
Okay, so two points in overtime, again. An overtime winner and a multi-goal game for Ovechkin, again. It's a nice pattern, but a regulation win with more secondary scoring (read: anyone but Ovie) would be good, especially with a long stretch of Eastern Conference teams coming up. Which brings us to...

Who: Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Where: Wachovia Center
When: Wednesday, February 6, 7:00 pm

Broadcast Info: CSN+, 3WT Radio; CSN-P; NHL Network (US)

Media Notes:
Caps' Site
Washington Post
Washington Times

I'm not sure why, but Atlantic Division teams like to torture us with special pre-game ceremonies that are particularly obnoxious this season. First it was the Devils honoring former Cap Scott Stevens back in December, a game the Caps lost 3-2. Fun times.

Now it's the Flyers with Ron Hextall, a goalie who spent the better part of his career torturing the Caps - which included scoring the first playoff goal for a goaltender against us. And if you think the timing is accidental, you don't know the Flyers organization very well.

But on to the game itself.

The Caps and Flyers come into this one off of matching one-goal wins, but with the division title in sight once more and the momentum of an overtime come from behind victory fueling them, the Caps could actually be the favorite in this one. Considering they've also already won at Wachovia Center this year, as well, it's not like the threat of a scary Philly crowd is going to stop them.

One thing to watch for is special teams (but isn't it always?). The Flyers have one of the best power plays in the league thanks to a recent hot streak and the Caps PK units will need to be at their best. Better yet, the whole team needs to avoid the dumb penalties - Erskine, Semin, I'm looking at you guys.

By the way, with a win tonight the Caps take over first place in the Southeast Division. Now everyone take a look at the standings...and remember where we were two months ago. It's quite the roller coaster ride being a Caps fan, isn't it?


Dan, Jr. said...

Poti was quite exceptional last night. Starting to be more consistant lately?

There was no usual 1st period hooking penalty by Semin last night. As a matter of fact, he wasn't called for anything in the whole game. Holy Crap! That's got to be a first.

Kim said...

Poti also played a little goalie last night, so he should have a goal, an assist, and a save (or two).

Nice to see the second line score.

Chris & Sarah said...

As long as the Flyers don't pull what they've pulled on he Pens, suckering them into taking stupid retaliatory penalties, I think we should be OK.

But having said that, I miss the Brash dust-ups this year. He seems to be a little more mellow this season, taking the leadership role more to heart, which all in all is a good thing, but I still miss seeing him in a good dust-up.