Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tuesday Roundup/Caps 3, Devils 2

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

Monday night at Verizon Center the Caps started strong and held on to win against a tired Devils team that seemed to catch its second wind in the third period. Some thoughts on the game:
  • The Caps did have a confidence carry-over from Saturday night's win, and it showed itself most notably in the hit totals, where they held a 31-22 edge. Milan Jurcina led the way with six hits, and every skater in the lineup other than Alex Semin, Tomas Fleischmann and Joe Motzko registered at least one hit.
  • The Donald Brashear - Viktor Kozlov - Semin line doesn't do much for me. Kozlov had a particularly rough night (though he led the team with four shots on goal) and Semin a particularly bad penalty early, but the trio has no chemistry and even less defensive conscience - they got caught out against the Devils top line in the first and it quickly resulted in a 1-0 deficit.
  • Speaking of that goal, entering the game, the Devils were 11-2-1 when scoring first and the Caps were 1-12-2 when giving up the game's first goal, so you'll forgive me for turning off the game at that point and watching The Hills. Just kidding.
  • If Nicklas Backstrom is so patient and poised with the puck now, imagine what he'll be like down the road (insert "wearing a Wings jersey" joke here).
  • The second period was about as good a period as the Caps have played all year.
  • Jeff Schultz broke the season goals-scored tie between himself and Semin with his third of the year, but something tells me Sasha will catch and pass him real soon - he's finally starting to look very close to 100% healthy.
  • As for Schultz, these past two games were the first in which he registered shots on goal in consecutive games. It's also the first time in his career he's had shots in goal in back-to-back affairs.
  • Congrats to Quintin Laing, whose first NHL goal gives him more goals than front teeth.
  • Olie Kolzig looked shaky in the third period. His rebound control was poor, most notably on the Mike Mottau no-goal (which was a huge break for the Caps) and his coverage on the David Clarkson wrap-around goal was obviously not good enough. Olie's been decent enough this year so far, but he's going to need to steal some games if this team is going to make a run at the playoffs.
  • Alexander Ovechkin is such an absolute joy to watch. Some nights he's on a mission to score goals. Other nights, it looks like he'd rather run over anyone wearing the opposition's colors. Tonight was more the latter (he only had one shot on goal, in fact), and AO ended the night with five hits. But let's not forget his brilliant play at the blueline on the Schultz goal. Or his backchecking.
  • Shaone Morrisonn had four giveaways on the night after only 15 in the first 29 games of the season. The Caps as a team had 20 giveaways - way too high a total.
  • Every Cap who took a faceoff won better than 50% of his draws or was one win under 50%. Not bad.
  • Memo to Mike Green: play the whistle, don't let up because you think there's an icing call coming your way.
  • Here's your Game Pic O' The Night.
All in all, it was a great win for the Caps and one to build on for Wednesday night when Jaromir Jagr and the Rangers come to town. After all, the eight spot in the East is only eight points away...

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

Check out a nice story about former Cap Trent Whitfield.... On this date in 1981, Dennis Maruk racked up a pair of goals and four helpers in an 11-2 romp over the Leafs for his second six point game of the week. Damn.... Finally, this isn't hockey-related, but there certainly are some friggin' weird people out there.

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Sergei Zubov (G, 3A, +2, 6 SOG, 2 blocked shots)
  • Ross: Sergei Zubov (4 points)
  • Norris: Sergei Zubov (G, 3A, +2, 6 SOG, 2 blocked shots)
  • Vezina: Alex Auld (W, 43 saves on 44 shots against)
  • Richard: Chad Kilger, Corey Perry (2G each)
  • Calder: Milan Lucic (2A, +2, 4 SOG, 3 hits)
  • Aiken: Johan Holmqvist (L, 4 goals allowed on 22 shots against in 34:41 of work)


NS said...

loving that 8-19-18 line. Ovie and Backstrom, BFF? i hope so.

i think that second line would work better if they put a more skilled checker on the wing with Kozlov and Semin (i.e. someone who can handle a pass in stride without falling over or losing the puck). I wonder if BB will go with 28-92-25 when Nyles gets back.

Even if they lost last night, I would still be somewhat pleased, as the game/team was fun to watch.

Pretty amusing watching Ovie basically superman dive into his checks. Give than man his own logo.

(MS Paint, sweet)

Rage said...

Holy crap that M&M link is funny.

Oly_for_Olie said...

Only caught the third period on NHL.com. For those who watched the game, does Laing look at comfortable skating with Steckel as he sounds on the radio?

p-word said...

I cant really comment on their defensive prowess, mostly because i didnt notice, but as far as the brashear kozlov semin line having no chemistry, I think youre way off base there. They produced many scoring chances and cycled the puck effectively. Plus, semin has had his best two games of the season by far while paired with these two, especially saturday night. While these arent my ideal lines, and i realize that semins improved play is in large part due to getting healthy, there is no reason to disrupt that line, or any for that matter, until healthy bodies return to the lineup. On a related note, i never thought i would be sad to see Laing sent back down, but the way hes playing we might see him in the lineup until gordon gets back, meaning flash would be sitting probably when nylander returns(hopefully soon).

Focality said...

NHL on the Fly thinks the Mottau no-goal should have been a goal, probably because Sutter was crying like a punk about it. Of course, these are the same guys who believe Toronto can do no wrong and their win over Tampa Bay last night is a sign the Leafs will win the Cup this year.

Call me mean, but I liked it when one of the refs got nailed in the corner. Nobody went to him while he was down (no linesmen or second ref) and he got up slowly. Good hit by the Devils, that one!

Ovie looked happy hitting people. Laing does look comfortable playing with Steckel. Backstrom is really something. I hope he sticks around for a while.

They won these last two games without Nyles and Clark, some AHL callups, and plenty of guts. More positives than negatives at this point. I liked the number of hits. I hope BB stays on them to maintain this level of play.

Anonymous said...


Ovechkin has been a SOLID +8 this month.

Backstrom needs to be AO's center for the rest of the season (and/or career). They seem to work well together.

It also seems the true perfect fit for Ovechkin's line will always be the guy that is willing to dig for pucks in corners and can keep up speed wise with Ovechkin for odd man breaks, as well as be responsible defensively. Scoring ability isnt the most important factor because the goals will come as long as the player has decent hands and can put in some juicy rebounds off of AO's shots. Pettinger works well so far, but his passing/chemistry looked a bit off on a few plays as he ran into AO and Backstrom a couple of times last night.

kb said...

While I still don't get the increased ice time for Brashear, he was at the center of a nice piece of coaching by Boudreau late in the game.

From the opening face off, Brashear and Clarkson were yapping at one another. Donnie had a wicked check on Davey in the 2nd. And Clarkson had taken runs at several Caps players throughout the game.

With about 6 minutes to go in the and the Devils down one, Clarkson goes out for a face off in the Caps' end. He skates by Brashear and immediately starts agitating. Boudreau, with the last line change, pulls Brashear from the ice.

No scrap. No mo for the Devils. Caps hold on and win.

CaptnClark said...

Good news; the Caps looked good against NJ.

Bad news; I noticed the M&M freak, while funny, lives only a couple hours away from me, ugh. I hope I dont run into him when the Caps visit the Bolts in a few days.