Good point? I guess. But after scoring twice in the opening frame, the Caps failed to beat Manny Fernandez for the game's final 45-plus minutes and leave Minnesota with a charity point after losing the shootout. It's probably a good thing that the team doesn't have to travel to face the Wild for another three years, as the Caps have only managed to score in two different periods in their four trips to the Twin Cities.
On the plus side, Brent Johnson was very strong in net, the defense in front of him was quite good, allowing only two power-play tallies to the early-season leader in PP proficiency, Alex Semin scored yet again and the team won a very impressive 67% of offensive zone faceoffs and 57% of defensive zone draws (interestingly, they got killed in neutral zone faceoffs, but if you're gonna lose a draw anywhere, it might as well be there). Next up, a Southeast Shootout (foreshadowing) with Atlanta on Saturday night.
The WaPo's recap of Thursday night's game is here, the WTimes' will be on here somewhere if they deem last night's game worthy of coverage.
Thing That Sounds Filthy But Isn't:
- Craig Laughlin, late in the second period of last night's game on Comcast Sports Net: "Semin's been all over the place tonight."
- From the WaPo, "[t]he NHL's general managers voted 29-1 to outlaw mirrored visors, like the one Ovechkin sported to much fanfare last season, Capitals General Manager George McPhee said. At least one goaltender complained the reflective visor gave Ovechkin a competitive advantage. Marketing executives, meantime, complained it obscured Ovechkin's face, thus masking his expressions." First of all, we all know who that goalie is. Second of all, if the League is going to start making rules that target specific players, how about doing something about Michal Handzus's hair?
- Speaking of creepy, it's Friday the 13th. In October. Very scary.
- Hart: Ryan Smyth (3G in 2:01 in the third period, including the game-winner, A, +3, providing me with a legitimate alternative to Sidney Crosby for today's Hart)
- Ross: Ryan Smyth, Sidney Crosby (4 points each)
- Norris: Kim Johnsson (2G, 4 blocked shots)
- Vezina: Miikka Kiprusoff (33-save shutout win at Ottawa)
- Richard: Ryan Smyth, Jonathan Cheechoo, Brian Gionta (3G each)
- Calder: Jordan Staal (first career NHL goal, short-handed no less)
- Aiken: so many good options for tonight, but we'll go with... J.S. Aubin (6 goals against on 30 shots through OT before losing in the shootout after being staked to a 6-3 lead)