Last November, the Leafs played the part of the rude guest when they visited the Verizon Center and hung a 7-1 whooping on the host Capitals. Last night, the Caps returned the favor.
Washington came out guns a-blazin', outshooting the Leafs 13-6 in the first period and scoring four times on starter Vesa Toskala before he made an early exit. The power play clicked, the penalty kill did it's job... really, it was nearly picture perfect.
The other day I intimated that the early rollercoaster Caps have left most of their faithful with entirely different world views on an almost-nightly basis. So how's it looking today? Time to start icing the champagne? Alright, maybe not quite yet.
Some notes on the game:
- For those of you keeping score at home, that's four straight multi-point games for Alex Ovechkin (and is there anything better than the sound of a packed house on the road collectively "ooooh"ing at one of AO's flashy stickhandles?).
- It's easy to overlook the winning goaltending in a game like this, but Olie Kolzig certainly deserves mention, especially for his glove save on the Bates Battaglia mini-breakaway.
- Fantastic (and efficient) night for Matt Bradley, who had his first career three-point night in just 10:35 of ice time. Pro-rate his ice-time to equal Ovechkin's and he would have had two goals, four assists and a plus-six rating last night (easily attainable numbers, I'm sure, if he'd just gotten the playing time).
- What a nice deflection by Andy Wozniewski on AO's second goal. Hey, someone had to step up in Bryan McCabe's absence.
- The Caps got worked in the faceoff circle, winning only 44% of the game's draws.
- Regardless of what you think of his play, you've gotta love Brian Sutherby getting on the board (upping the trade value, baby!).
- Kudos to Ted in yesterday's comments for calling Petty's goal, which came early in what was easily his best game of the year so far.
- According to the CP, "By the time the third period started, at least one third of the Air Canada Centre was empty and one small section could be heard chanting 'Let's Go Raptors!''' Heh.
- It wasn't three seconds after I said, "Alright, no stupid penalties before intermission" before Brian Pothier took his tripping penalty at 19:49 of the first.
- If I had an intern, I'd tell you the last time the Caps had five different guys score their first goal of the year in a game. As it is, I don't have the resources to devote to such research and I have to make my own coffee.
- What I can tell you is that the last time the Caps scored more than three goals against a team from a city that doesn't start with a "T" was February 27, 2007. Since then, they've score four or more against Tampa and Toronto a total of five times.
- Finally, here's today's discussion topic: it has been suggested that the "players only" meeting after Saturday night's loss to St. Louis resulted in the players deciding how they want to play going forward, Glen Hanlon's system be damned. Did you see anything last night that would indicate such a mutiny?
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
If you'd like a side of schadenfreude with your eggs this morning, recall that Leafs Breakfast can be heard here (or, if you're the reading-type, read all about last night's game here and here. Oh, and here).... Monday power rankings are out, with the Caps at 21 and 27.... Nicklas Backstrom has a mentor on the team, but it's probably not who you think.... The Caps are the sixth-cheapest ticket in hockey (the Leafs are the most expensive).... Karl Alzner has been named captain of the Calgary Hitmen.... Finally, check out the kudos for my buddy Greg Wyshynski. If you're not reading him regularly, make sure to drop everything and start doing so here and/or here. Oh, and sorry, ladies - he got married earlier this year.
- Hart: Matt Bradley (G, 2A, +3)
- Ross: Matt Bradley, Michael Nylander (3 points each)
- Norris: Jeff Schultz (First NHL goal, +3, 2 SOG, 2 blocked shots)
- Vezina: Olaf Kolzig (W, 32 saves on 33 shots against)
- Richard: Alexander Ovechkin, Devin Setoguchi (2G each)
- Calder: Devin Setoguchi (2G, including the game-tying and -winning goals in the third period, +2, 5 SOG, all in his first NHL game)
- Aiken: Vesa Toskala (L, 4 goals allowed on 13 shots against in just 13:56 of work)