Friday, November 02, 2007

Friday Roundup/Rangers 2, Capitals 0
Gamenight: Flyers @ Caps

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

The Caps were without two 30-goal scorers and their top offensive defenseman. What was the Rangers' excuse this time? Still gellin'? Bad ice at MSG? My money's on "we don't need an excuse, we won the game." Touché.

The defensive battle that seemed destined to happen did, in fact, materialize and the Rangers were able to eke out a 2-0 victory, despite being outplayed for the most part by the visiting Capitals. Some thoughts on the game:
  • Stupid Rule Alert: when two players from the same team commit infractions on the same play, the result is a 5-on-3 power play for the opposing team, but should one player commit two wholly separate fouls on the same play, the result is a double-minor. That makes no sense - the result should be the same, regardless of whether one or multiple players are in the wrong. Don't get me wrong here - I'm not debating the legitimacy of any of the penalties that were called (I'll let you guys do that), just the rule itself.
  • The Caps did indeed come out strong, firing 32 shots towards Henrik Lundqvist in the first period. Unfortunately, 16 were blocked and six missed the net entirely (the Rangers only attempted 11 shots on Olie Kolzig in the first, with seven getting through to him). For the game, the Caps attempted 70 shots (a whopping 30 of which were blocked by Blueshirt skaters) to the Rangers' 45. But it's not necessarily quantity as much as quality of shots that matter. If a shot is going to be blocked, often that's not a shot worth taking - take a step to one side or the other or dish the biscuit. And for the love of Pete(r Bondra), lift the puck every now and again.
  • Nicklas Backstrom's touch pass to spring Matt Pettinger on a mini-breakaway early in the first was gorgeous, and Lundqvist's save on fellow countryman Backstrom in the second period was breathtaking.
  • Also as predicted, it was a hard-hitting affair, with 71 credited hits. By contrast, last night's Sabres/Bruins game had 23 hits through regulation.
  • The first line had great puck possession down low for most of the game. I'm still not sold on Boyd Gordon as a fit on that line (though I do believe that Viktor Kozlov belongs on the wing) because without a playmaker, Alex Ovechkin tries to carry the puck too much rather than working to get open for a pass. But the possession game generated some decent scoring chances, so I guess it'll work in a pinch.
  • Milan Jurcina's hit on Scott Gomez on an offside play in the first was nice. Matt Bradley's hit late in the same period was thunderous.
  • I'd be a lot more comfortable with Kozlov's "float like a butterfly" style of play if he would "sting like a bee" a bit more often.
  • Caps skaters on the ice for the Rangers' first goal: John Erskine, Mike Green, Matt Bradley, Brian Sutherby and Tomas Fleischmann. If the team is healthy, are any of those guys other than Greenie and possibly Flash even in the lineup?
  • Who, exactly, were Ranger fans chanting "A..-hole" at when the puck rolled up Dan Girardi's stick and into his face?
  • I wish the Caps had Nick and not Jeff Schultz.
Next up, the Flyers, who come into town after having also played Thursday night for a battle of two of last year's four worst teams. A season ago, the Caps took all four games from the Flyers, outscoring Philly 20-9. But the Flyers have gotten much better, and fast, and come into the game sitting atop the Atlantic Division. They're scoring goals, preventing 'em, and, of course, bring old friend Daniel Briere (as well as a certain familiar-to-Philly reputation) to town with them.

Unfortunately for the Caps, the schedule doesn't get any easier after Friday night, as they hit the road for Southeast Division bouts at Carolina and Atlanta and then take a quick trip up to Ottawa on Thursday night. In other words, the team needs this one. Bad.

Why The Flyers Will Win:
I would never predict a Flyers win, because that's just asking for trouble. The only way we get a win tonight is if Marty smacks some sense into the guys and we get more than 8 shots on goal in any one period. Also, we have gone one whole game without any suspensions, so look for Rory Fitzpatrick to take out a Cap (I'm thinking Nylander). Watch your backs, Caps! - eager to go psycho
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks (and Beyond):

Joe Motzko is skating on the fourth line in Hershey, yet was on the first power play unit in D.C. From the penthouse to the outhouse, I suppose.... Really? Don Waddell might be the best head coach the Thrashers can find? Really?... This has nothing to do with hockey, but it's so awesome in its marriage of nostalgia and online originality, that I had to pass it along.... When Brendan Shanahan registered his 1,300th NHL point, not a single fan cheered, despite the game being played at Madison Square Garden.... Chicago rookie Patrick Kane's 16 points (five goals) in twelve October games were the most for a rookie in that month since Teemu Selanne had 20 in 1992 (en route to one of the best rookie years ever). In case you were wondering, AO had 13 points (eight goals) in eleven games in October of '05 and Sidney Crosby had 14 points (2 goals) in eleven games in October of '06.... Finally, cheers go out to ubiquitous FOTR (Friend Of The Rink) Eric McErlain, who has scored himself yet another blogging gig, this time as an expert at The Sporting News.

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Daniel Alfredsson (2G, including the game-winner, 2A, +3)
  • Ross: Daniel Alfredsson (4 points)
  • Norris: Nicklas Lidstrom (2A, +1)
  • Vezina: Henrik Lundqvist (31-save shutout win)
  • Richard: Ilya Kovalchuk (3G)
  • Calder:Dan Ellis (29-save shutout win... and yeah, I know he's too old to win the Calder, but he gets the shoutout here)
  • Aiken: Johan Hedberg (4 goals allowed on 19 shots against in just 32:03 of work... and if NHL scoring rules made any sense, he'd have had the loss, too)

27 comments:

NS said...

ugh. was miserable watching this game. already sick of Kozlov. he had some of the best chances to score and his shots were crap.

nice to see Backstrom taking some shots, though.

no way this team can come close to competing with such a miserable powerplay. Pothier sucks at the point!

melvisdog said...

Why keep Fleischman on the 4th line? He's not any better on the 1st or 2nd, so bench him. We look way too soft and I'm of the opinion that Motzko would be awesome in a 4th line role. He can hit, and can pass. His offensive upside has to be on par with Fleischman who falls down and/or gives up the puck whenever somebody says 'boo!'. Keep Brash on the 3rd and sometimes move Joe up to give him a breather. Motzko got a bad rap trying to be a playmaker and point guy, but in a lesser role, I think he could be awesome.

DMG said...

The powerplay looked pretty decent last night I thought - they have 7 shots during the 4:00 double minor to Tyutin. Obviously none of them made it in and the finishing needs to step it up a notch but it's not like they're still have the kinds of problems they were several games ago, where they just looked lost.

pepper said...

Agreed on Kozlov. He was often in good position and kept missing wide.

Also agree about Flash. Everytime I see 43 near the puck I know he won't come out with it, unless he manages to chip it to a teammate before he's checked.

As for the rule about two players getting penalties versus one getting two separate penalties, I suppose the idea is that if two players commit infractions then the team should be without the services of both for two minutes. But if a player gets multiple penalties and a game misconduct, someone else who didn't commit a foul has to serve one of those penalties, so why not have that be the same result when one player gets penalties for two different acts than, say, a double minor for high-sticking?

NS said...

dmg,

they did register shots, but they were poor ones, from the outside, and by and frustrated Ovechkin most of the time.

not much quality on the PP.

agreed on Fleischman. please bench and/or trade.

Anonymous said...

i don't agree that it's a stupid rule. if two guys commit a penalty you lose two players, if one guy commits two penalties you still only lose that guy but for twice as long.

fire mcphee, btw, enough is enough. look at what JD is doing in St. Louis.

Tyler said...

You put/keep Flash on the fourth line in the hopes that some poor, misguided GM sees something he likes and offers a pick for him.

Focality said...

I'm just not caring anymore. It feels like last season. New sweaters, same team.

Maybe, maybe, maybe. Tell it to NYR.

FAUX RUMORS said...

1) JP, what would you propose doing about that rule(2 simultaneous penalties) to make it more equitable to you?
2) Its rare, but can happen. Can't think of a better way to call it.
3) As for the game, the team came against a goalie who has been lights out amazing this season(Good thing for the Rangers, as they can't score!)
4) Looking forward to seeing a 'spirited' game tonight. The atmosphere at Verizon is always intense when a Pennsylvania team is there to visit

keef said...

"The powerplay looked pretty decent last night I thought - they have 7 shots during the 4:00 double minor to Tyutin."

7? They should have had twice as many with the amount of time they spent with Lundqvist - not to mention the number of clears causing us to repeatedly regroup.

ns: I thought Kozzie was handling himself better on the wing by giving himself some more chances, but yeah...you're not gonna get the puck into the net by floating it.

Tyler said...

Has a team EVER had 14 shots on a four-minute power play?

sonia said...

hard hitting game? maybe for the rangers...i didn't see nearly enough hitting from the caps, it was driving me crazy throughout the game!

as far as the a-hole chant- girardi was down for quite a while before the refs blew the whistle. even i was siding with the rangers fans on that one.

sonia said...

also, this was another game where the caps weren't credited for all their shots on goal...there was at least one occasion where the caps had four quick shots in a row and only got one credited to them.

DMG said...

I agree tyler - 14 shots on in 4 minutes is basically impossible. I;m willing to concede most weren't great shots, but 7 in four minutes is pretty good, just like getting 3 or 4 on a two minute power play would be good.

I agree with what's being said about Fleischmann. He dominates in the AHL because of his skill but the doesn't have the toughness or ability without the puck to be a decent player at the NHL level right now. He would be only productive if he never had to do anything but wait for people to make great plays and get him the puck in a good scoring opportunity and having someone like that one you team isn't going to help much.

Anyone else think the Caps should bench Flash and call up Clymer? He'd probably be just as productive but much tougher and much better in his own end.

DMG said...

Focality,

I don't think it's fair to say this is the same type of team with different sweaters. The team from the last couple years rarely won more faceoffs, got more shots and chances and controlled the play. How often did we see the Caps have periods like their first in New York? And to be doing it with the kinds of injuries they've had already?

I think the Capitals deserve to be over .500 and I dont think it would be inaccurate to say they've lost 3-5 games where they were the better team and have won 1 game where they were the worse team. It shouldn't be too long before Semin, Clark and Poti are back and it shouldn't be too long until things start breaking the Caps way some of the time. What the team needs to do is try to weather the storm and stay within striking distance of a playoff spot until that happens

Roger Padre said...

We have to cut the crap and get right down to business. Nylander and Ovechkin MUST play on the same line. Nylander has shown himself to be one of the best puck control artists in the NHL, if not the best. The combination of Nylander and Ovechkin would be murderous on opponents, no matter who the right wing was. We can't get any worse than shut out! If Ovie gets set up nicely 15 times a game at least one or two will go in.

See The Deuce detailed comments on 3 Grumpy Caps Fans

keef said...

I think they should have had 22 shots. :)

My point was that when the PP happened, they were in a hole and needed to shoot as much as they could - which they didn't. A few dumb turnovers caused them to lose time on that attack. At this point, I'm happy relying on deflections for their scores.

Anonymous said...

hmm have you guys noticed malkin has more points than ovechkin in the same number of games and crosby is ahead by 4

NS said...

Malkin and Crosby's figures are irrelevant in this discussion, you friggin douche bag.

Tyler said...

Touchy touchy.

Anonymous said...

to the guy with the offending remark; i think you're just afraid not only because crosby has surpassed ovechkin as a star in this league (see: last year) but that malkin will now be surpassing ovechkin as well.

dont be jealous!

GO PENS GO!

NS said...

first off, i have nothing against the Pens and enjoy watching both Crosby and Malkin.

In fact, I wish we had Malkin. This thread has no space for a pissing match.

P.S. You're still a douche bag.

Anonymous said...

malkin cant touch ovechkin, and any real penguins fan with an ounce of sense would take ovy for shrek jr. in the blink of an eye

Anonymous said...

no i will NOT take ovechkin over malkin. malkin will pass AO this season.

jmf said...

Can someone please tell me what the plus in CSN+ stands for? I'm thinking it has something to do with "Not HD"

I hope for Malkin's sake that he keeps his head up anytime he is on the ice with Mr. Ovechkin - that goes for Crysby too.

jmf said...

OK JP, what do we need to do? This team is sinking fast - do we need a trade? Fire a coach? Do you know of other teams that have had significant improvement after such an event at the beginning of a season (not just Caps teams, but any NHL team)?

Don't tell me its all about injuries - we have 3 guys that are hurt - if we cant squeak out wins against decent teams with injuries, we're all crazy to think this is a playoff team.

Anonymous said...

that will never happen idiot sorry, think with your head not your heart. like i said, malkin cant touch ovechkin, thats why he went #2 and ovy went first, get over it.