That worked out well, didn't it? A pair of goals to get the captain off the schneid, and, quite frankly, he could have easily had a couple more. But we'll certainly take it and the 5-3 win, which improves the Caps intra-divisional record to a sparkling 3-0, outscoring their Southeast Division rivals 10-4. Some quick thoughts on the game:
- You can put any game in which Brooks Laich, David Steckel and Chris Clark score in the win column without looking at anything else. Period.
- Say what you want about Brian Pothier, but his willingness to shoot the puck from the point deserves mention, and it led directly to the fourth goal. For the game, Potsy had two assists and was plus-four. Cheers.
- Speaking of that goal, if you ever wondered why the NHL awards a secondary assist (and no, it's not so Sidney Crosby can win scoring titles), look no further than Michael Nylander's pass to Pothier on that second Clark goal. It was breathtaking.
- Y'know, I had a lot of respect for Vinny Lecavalier when he dropped the mittens with Jarome Iginla during the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals. I lost most of that respect tonight when he jumped Shaone Morrisonn.
- By the way, kudos to the refs for calling that sequence perfectly. Vinny deserved each of the four penalties he was given.
- Dare I bring up the 0-for-4 power play that surrendered a shorty? For tonight, I'll lay off it, but don't think that it's going unnoticed, and not only by me.
- Alex Ovechkin attempted 16 shots on goal tonight, with six getting to the goal.
- Does anyone believe that Steve Eminger is 100% healthy? Probably not anyone who has seen Jeff Schultz's play so far this year (despite the plus-three night he managed to put together).
- Steckel's first NHL goal (congrats) came on a beautiful feed from AO. In fact, all four of the Caps goals on Denis came as the result of well-developed plays.
- Olie Kolzig made a big save after the double-minor on which the Caps failed to score, and had a solid if unspectacular game.
- Awesome to see Goat leading "Let's Go Caps" from the owner's box.
- Alex Semin looked very rusty, but did unleash that wicked wrister at one point, and it got on Marc Denis so fast he was lucky it hit him - otherwise it was headed for the back of the net.
- Mike Green looked good, but ended up a team-worst minus-two. He was way out of position on the first goal (set up by a nice pass from Brad Richards).
- If Tomas Fleischmann is only going to get three shifts, would the team be better off dressing John Erskine as a seventh defensmen to use exclusively on the penalty kill?
- Boyd Gordon (12-for-17) and Viktor Kozlov (8-for-11) dominated the faceoff circle. Nylander (3-for-10), not so much.
- Milan Jurcina had a game-high five hits, but his
huggingholding penalty was a bad one.
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
It's great to see Liz back in the blogosphere.... The Caps are the biggest team in the NHL.
- Hart: Jarome Iginla (G, 2A, +2, 8 SOG, 2 takeaways, 0 giveaways, 4-for-4 in the faceoff circle)
- Ross: Alexander Ovechkin, Eric Staal, Jarome Iginla, Alex Tanguay, Bret Hedican (3 points each)
- Norris: Bret Hedican (G, A, +5, 4 SOG, 2 blocked shots)
- Vezina: Cam Ward (W, 19 saves on 21 shots against)
- Richard: Chris Clark, Alex Tanguay, Tomas Holmstrom, Gregory Campbell, Olli Jokinen, Jason Pominville (2G each)
- Calder: David Steckel (G, +2)
- Aiken: Henrik Tallinder (0 points, 0 SOG, -4, 2 giveaways, 1 takeaway, 2 penalties including a Delay of Game on which Carolina scored)