If a game is played and it's not televised, did it really happen?
Since only a few thousand folks saw the game live (thanks to commentor Dan, Jr. for letting us know that Comcast Sportsnet will be showing a replay of the game at 11:30 this morning, and it may be "On Demand" earlier), and because it's damn-near impossible to tell from Steve Kolbe's call who's playing well and who's stinkin' the place up, here are a few quick thoughts based largely on the stats:
- Brent Johnson's 29 saves on 31 shots against would suggest he deserved better than the result he got.
- Tom Poti made a surprise return to the lineup and logged a team-high 25:12 of ice time.
- The Caps came out strong, outshooting the Thrashers 16-6 in the first, but when they had nothing to show for it (and were 0-for-3 on the power play), you knew what was going to happen. They were outshot 25-16 the rest of the way, got only one more power play, and had to kill six penalties of their own.
- To that end, the penalty killers sounded great, doing their job all six times they were called on, and 1-for-4 on the power play is a perfectly acceptable percentage.
- Of course, the discipline simply wasn't there in the second half of the game, as the Caps took six different minor penalties in the game's last 33 minutes, and every one was a hook or a hold. Inexcusable.
- There's been a Steve Eminger sighting! Retire the milk carton! Or not - apparently it wasa flat-footed Eminger who was responsible for the Ilya Kovalchuk goal.
- The Caps won only 21 of the game's 49 faceoffs, an uncharacteristically low percentage (43%). Nicklas Backstrom (0-for-3), Viktor Kozlov (1-for-4) and Michael Nylander (6-for-16) had a combined winning percentage of 30%. Ouch.
- Chris Bourque's NHL debut was nothing to write home about - 11:58 of ice time, two shots on goal, two hits, one penalty - though he did have one great chance, according to our buddy The Falconer (who was at the game and ran into CBo's dad in the elevator!).
- Alex Ovechkin produced one of his worst stat lines of the season - two shots on goal, eight attempted/blocked/missed shots, three giveaways and only one hit.
- Hopefully Milan Jurcina's healthy scratch gets him motivated to start playing like he did during the second half of last season.
- Ondrej Pavelec was the latest in the line of goalies who the Caps made look like the second coming of Ken Dryden. Too bad Tampa's only on the schedule eight times.
- Every point helps. Even this one.
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
Wanna see "Steve Eminger" and "Macarena" in the same sentence? Click here.... On this date in 1981 the Caps retired Yvon Labre's #7. Labre had 12 goals and 84 assists in 334 games for the Caps. On a totally unrelated note, has a team ever unretired a number?... Weekly power rankings with the Caps at 26th, 28th and 29th.
- Hart: Ondrej Pavelec (W, 31 saves on 32 shots against)
- Ross: seven players tied with 2 points apiece
- Norris: Paul Mara (G, A, +2, 2 blocked shots)
- Vezina: Ondrej Pavelec (W, 31 saves on 32 shots against)
- Richard: 14 players tied with 1 goal apiece
- Calder: Ondrej Pavelec (W, 31 saves on 32 shots against)
- Aiken: Vesa Toskala (L, 4 goals allowed on 13 shots against in just 28:08 of work)