I had a horrible nightmare last night. There I was watching a Caps game and during a five-on-three power play, the Caps sent out an extra-man unit that had Joe Motzko manning one of the points.
Much to my dismay, this wasn't a nightmare from which I could wake up, and the Caps' punchless power play let them down yet again, going 0-for-6 in the 5-2 loss to the Isles (the penalty kill was a woeful 2-for-5, which certainly didn't help either). On the night, the Caps had 11:08 of time with the extra man and got all of six shots on Rick DiPietro - barely one shot per two minutes of power-play time.
And while Tom Poti may be a great passer, he had 9:09 of ice time with the extra man against his former team and didn't register a single shot on goal (through six games, he has 12 shots on goal total). I might be wrong, but in order to be an effective power play quarterback, doesn't at least a threat of a shot from the point have to exist?
I can't specifically recall each of the four Caps power-play goals for the season, but do remember that Alex Ovechkin's against the Rangers was on a broken play rush. What that means, then, is that in six games, the power play has "worked" no more than three times total.
First we were told that the problem with the power play was personnel. Then it was chemistry. Then it was a key injury. You know what the next reason in line is, don't you, Glen Hanlon?
Other observations from Thursday night's game:
- The Caps definitely came out with a "shoot first, ask questions later" style, firing more shots (13) in the first period than they had in the entire game (12) last time the two teams met.
- While the Isles first goal was a bit fluky (the "pass" out front was a fanned-on stuff attempt), there's got to be a forward backchecking Sean Bergenheim there (I'm looking at you, Michael Nylander and Tomas Fleischmann).
- The Caps were 7-for-17 (41%) in the faceoff circle in the offensive zone. That's a lot of instant offensive opportunities that never got going (Viktor Kozlov, for example, took eight offensive-zone draws on the night and won only three of them).
- Mike Green has arrived. His end-to-end rushes at the tail-end of each of two second period power plays were gorgeous and among the best scoring chances the Caps had all night (of course, he was also on the ice for both Isles even strength goals... such is life with Greenie).
- Do Ovechkin and Kozlov really have such great chemistry? Ovechkin was stick-handling brilliantly all night, but seemed to be trying to do a lot by himself a la last year.
- There's been a Tomas Fleischmann sighting! He should buy Nicklas Backstrom dinner for taking the hit and making the beautiful pass that set up the goal.
- The aforementioned Mr. Motzko makes Ryan Howard look like a contact hitter. Nice pass on the Ovechkin goal, though.
- I want last year's Chris Clark back. For that matter, why is the vaunted third line scoreless through a half-dozen games?
- Should we start a "Guess The Date" pool for Backstrom's first NHL goal? I'm going with Wednesday against the Bolts.
- Nylander is now a team-worst minus-5.
- It's amazing how one of your blueliners can go from first to last in ice time per game, but such is the story of Brian Pothier.
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
The 2008 NHL Draft Class looks like a winner. Hopefully there'll be good players still around when the Caps pick in the late-teens of the first round.... Caps may have pulled a mild upset in Round 1 of CBS's jersey tourney, but fell in a David vs. Goliath match-up in Round 2.... I wouldn't say that Dainius Zubrus is the most overpaid player in the NHL, but with no goals, two assists, seven shots on goal and a minus-8 rating through seven games, he's certainly a prominent name in the conversation. Put it this way, the Devils are paying him $3.4 million per year, meaning that they've shelled out $290,243.90 so far for those stats.
- Hart: Daymond Langkow (2G, including the game-winner, assist, fight - paging Mr. Howe - +1, 3 SOG)
- Ross: Chris Campoli (4 points)
- Norris: Bryan Berard (Game-winning goal, 2A, +2, 7 SOG, 2 blocked shots)
- Vezina: Martin Biron (38-save shutout win)
- Richard: Bill Guerin (3G)
- Calder: Brian Little (G, +1, 4 SOG)
- Aiken: Martin Brodeur (L, 4 goals allowed on 18 shots against)