Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tuesday Roundup/Caps 7, Leafs 1

[AP Recap - Game Summary - Super Stats - WashingtonCaps.com Postgame]

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?
Next up, a return engagement with the Broadway Blueshirts in Manhattan and a chance to get back to .500.

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.

Daily Awards
  • 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)



1) Nice win no doubt, and hopefully the boys won't let their sudden offensive success go to their heads.
2) Geez the Leafs are a Jekyll and Hyde team. Looking very good on the road last week, and like an AHL team last night.

ted said...

Thanks for the call out JP. Unfortunately, I was completely wrong on the score counter though. The Caps have a history of making average goalies look stellar, but tonight they tore up both minders. Kudos to the team for making my eat my words!

As for the team meeting...
I heard Locker talk about the team meeting, but I don't know if it is a mutiny or not. I just hope they can keep skating, shooting, passing the way they did last night.

Tyler said...

Not to be a downer, but it's hard to tell how good the Caps were last night because the Leafs were so bad. The penalties part of the scoresheet tells it all: The Leafs took five tripping calls and a hooking penalty. Lazy, late penalties all.

And Pothier kept making the same mistakes. I know JP disagrees with me, but I think Potsie should get the press box for a few games when Poti's back.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget a key stat:

Gordon was on the ice for the FIRST goal from an opponent ALL year long... whether it was PP, PK, or ES.

Damn good if you ask me.

Joe said...

I didn't see anything different in the system but the execution was much better. I think the meeting was more about achieving potential rather than revolting against the coaching. Like that old saying about bringing a horse to water. Lets hope they got a good taste of how it feels and want more of it.

Tyler said...

Joe: Are you guessing or do you have a mole?

Paul Maurice is lucky to have a job today. He over-rode Toskala, starting him for the fourth time in six nights. And then the rest of the team failed to show up too. Heck, JFJ is lucky to have a job. Ever.

Focality said...

With all the scoring I expected Backstrom to net his first.

I agree with tyler. It was difficult to tell just how well the Caps system is doing when its comparison is Toronto's poor play.

If anything, the Caps showed the Leafs that taking too many penalties, giving up the puck/turnovers,not battling in the corners, etc. leads to failure.

The Caps did a good job of puck possession and PK. Nylander's self-cycling almost burned him once in the Caps' zone. But, it was good to see the Caps win big despite their injuries to key players. Guys stepped up, and Kolzig didn't let anything through the five hole for once, and his rebound control was top notch.

After a few more games we'll see if the "come to Jesus" meeting in St. Lo really made a difference, or maybe it was the inspiration the team got from their visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

keef said...

"Nylander's self-cycling almost burned him once in the Caps' zone."

I was fearing the exact same thing. It's gonna come back to bite him at some point...too much circling.

I was hoping Nicklas' first goal was coming but I hope that it happens at home so he can feel some crowd love as Steckel did.

They definitely felt a bit like the team we watched during the first two games...some interesting lines and players thrown into the mix with the injuries resulted in some unexpected positives.

I'm still in the Schultz camp that wants him gone, but am I now not the only one in that Poti camp? :)

Joe said...

Tyler: I usually just guess, but the players seem, to me, more upset with themselves than anything else.

Tyler said...

I think we'll learn something useful @ NYR. That ice surface is awful and takes some skill away. That puts a premium on net-crashing, desire and the like... so let's see how Thursday goes.

sonia said...

if my calculations are correct, toskala's GA for last night is approximately 17.23.

kb said...

Sonia, Toskala's GAA sounds really bad, but at least his SV% was a respectable .692%

Tyler said...

Toskala's a good netminder. But he should not have been playing his fourth game in six nights (and in three cities). That is an example of a coach putting his G in position to fail.

kb said...

Perhaps Maurice was just looking to protect the more fragile Raycroft from the home boo birds.

I loved his explanation from the post game, "Clearly there's still difficulty in accepting to play a simple game"

Daniel said...

I like how the Caps attacked the net last night, instead of cycling for 30 seconds and settling for a low-chance shot from outside the slot and below the faceoff dots. However, the last two games have been pretty bad for defensive breakouts and breaking into the offensive zone under control... it seems that once they get in a zone (offensive or defensive), they're fine, but anytime they need to move it's a crapshoot.

Random stuff: Pettinger was excellent last night - I'm still waiting for Flash to do something - was it just me, or did Brashear look ok on the PP?


DMG said...

Anyone else think it's funny the Caps blow out the opposition in a game where they're outshot and lose most of the faceoffs?

DMG said...

Tyler - say what you want about Pothier but he's leading Caps D-men in points and the team in +/-

Tyler said...

That says more about Olie than about Potsie.

Ogre said...

Please, please explain what Pothier leading the d-men in points has to do with Olie.