[NHL.com Preview - WashingtonCaps.com Preview - Official Gameday Thread]
Follow all that up there? It can get confusing on these back-to-backs. I thought I'd go with a bulleted list of my thoughts on last night's game so as not to have to come up with creative transitions (it's a lazy, rainy Saturday in the nation's capital - sorry). If you want a more coherent recap of the game, read the NHL.com Recap above (the game ended too late for the WaPo's or the WTimes to give a crap about it, though they do have an article on the new Ballston practice facility). Anyway, away we go:
- Olie Kolzig stole a point for the Caps last night. I know that after the Avs game I said that the Caps needed to keep the shots under 48 per game -
good job "limiting" Vancouver to 44.
- The Caps were outshot 16-1 in the first period and 15-2 in the third. Maybe they were afraid of Roberto Luongo after all.
- Congrats to Alexander Ovechkin on the first Sidney Crosby Hat Trick of his career. Please let it also be the last. To both our Alexes - when you take a diving penalty you embarass yourself, your team and the game. Last night's dives were freebies - one more and it's a reputation. Cut it out.
- The Jakub Klepis experiment is over. Just over five minutes of ice time and another bad obstruction penalty (this time holding, which at leasts shows that he's not one-dimensional in his penalty-committing) later, it's clear that he's overmatched in the NHL right now.
- On the "good penalty" side of things, Chris Clark got the Caps' first fighting major of the season when he danced with Kevin Bieksa. Maybe it's a coincidence that after the bout, a Caps team that was being just about as thoroughly dominated as a team imagineable turned the tables and scored twice in the next four minutes to even the score. More likely, the captain provided the spark the team needed (of course, the two Vancouver penalties that followed helped quite a bit as well).
- It's odd that the Caps' two best players both seem to struggle in the shootout. On a night when Olie's 42 saves and Ovechkin's goal and an assist got the Caps to overtime, they both failed the team in the shootout, with Olie allowing two shots by and Ovie failing to score.
- Three points in two tough road games is fantastic. If they can get a point out of Edmonton tonight, this road trip is bordering on unbelievable before they even get to Calgary.
- Hart: Pascal Leclaire (38-save shutout win)
- Ross: Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom, Tomas Holstrom, Sergei Zubov, Mike Modano, Alexander Ovechkin (2 points each)
- Norris: Nicklas Lidstrom (2G, including game-winner, +3)
- Vezina: Pascal Leclaire (38-save shutout win)
- Richard: Nicklas Lidstrom, Mike Modano (2G each)
- Calder: Jiri Hudler (G, +1)
- Aiken: Marty Turco (L, 4 goals allowed on 33 shots against, "throwing the stick" penalty that led to Detroit's winning goal)