When you have the powerplay and a 2-1 manpower advantage in your own defensive zone on that powerplay, you simply can't lose the battle for the puck. Dainius Zubrus and Brian Pothier did and Martin St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier made the Caps pay for it. Yes, the Caps had a good road first period and a gutsy all-out effort in the third to finally tie the game with just seconds left. But that play left an awful taste in my mouth.
Other thoughts on the game:
- Brent Johnson was strong in net, though his delay of game penalty for playing the puck outside the trapezoid was a brain cramp that may have caused him to lose focus and surrender a goal on what should have been a relatively-routine save on the ensuing powerplay.
- Boyd Gordon had a team-high (tied with Alex Ovechkin) six shots on goal last night. Six! That's more than 8% of his shot total for the year in one game. If AO took that percentage of his season's shots in one game, it would be 24 shots on goal (and I wouldn't put that past him, would you?).
- Matt Bradley and Eric Fehr had great games. I especially like how tenacious and sneaky Fehr seems to be on the forecheck.
- Despite yielding the shorty referenced above, the powerplay actually showed some signs of life. Maybe the umbrella is the answer (though I'm not sure Jamie Heward at the top of it is a good idea).
- If the team is trying to trade Richard Zednik, they've got to get him more than 12 minutes of ice time and the second-fewest shifts of any skater to showcase him.
- When Marc Denis is flashing leather that would make Ozzie Smith proud, why not try to open him up in the shootout with a deke (and if you do deke and have the goalie down and out, you've got to LIFT THE PUCK)?
- The Lightning really do ride those top two lines, don't they? Last night they had five forwards with under ten minutes of ice time, a strategy that's obviously paying off for them right now, but one wonders if it can succeed come playoff time.
- For my degenerate, gambling readers, while I don't usually endorse betting the over/under on hockey games, the Caps are a pretty good "under" bet these days because a) they've gone to a trapping defense and Vegas hasn't caught on and b) with Olie Kolzig out and BJ in, the assumption is that the floodgates will open. The under has now paid out in four of the Caps' last six games and looks to be a good bet for now, especially with Brian Pothier and John Erskine back in the lineup.
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
- Hockey's Future has a Q&A with Caps prospect (and Chevy Chase,MD native) Stephen Werner.
- What does everyone think of the Ryan Parent trade? That's an awful lot to give up for a guy to center your third-line, no? Then again, the deal should help the powerplay and the Preds were able to hold onto Alex Radulov, their real blue-chipper.
- Finally, I'm headed into surgery later this morning to have two wisdom teeth extracted and some other work done, so I'll be out of pocket for the rest of the day and when I return, I'll be half as wise as before (which really puts me in the hole). I'll look to Chris Clark for inspiration, but am hopeful that no dead people will need to be called into action today. Feel free to use this as an open thread to talk about anything that happens in the Caps/hockey world so that I can just check in here when I get back. Cheers.
- Hart: Joe Sakic (2G, including the 600th of his career, 3A, +1, 3 SOG)
- Ross: Joe Sakic (5 points)
- Norris: Chris Pronger (2G, 2 SOG, 2 hits)
- Vezina: Ryan Miller (W, 27 saves on 28 shots against in 2-1 OT win)
- Richard: Milan Hejduk (3G)
- Calder: Dustin Penner (G)
- Aiken: Michael Leighton (L, 3 saves on 12 shots against in just 14:10 of work)