Well that'll help Olie Kolzig's career shootout numbers.
And while I'm still trying to figure out what was the least likely occurrence from Thursday night - the Caps (two wins in their previous 18 shootouts) beating Edmonton (11-2 in shootouts on the season entering last night's game), Kolzig stopping a dozen straight shooters (he was 1-7 in shootouts and had stopped only 15 of 31 attempts since the beginning of last season prior to last night), or Matt Bradley scoring a shootout goal (it was his third career attempt and first success) - I do know this: the Caps are up to 11th place in the Conference and trail Southeast Division-leading Atlanta by only four points (with two games in hand). Baby steps, to be sure, but steps nonetheless.
Some thoughts on the game:
- 20, 22, 22, 23 - the ages of the Caps four goal scorers.
- Whatever Bruce Boudreau said to his team after a crappy first period worked, as the Caps fired 17 shots on goal in the second, four of which beat Oiler netminder Dwayne Roloson.
- The fourth line (Quintin Laing, Dave Steckel and Bradley) had a great shift to start the first period and another very early in the third.
- How is it that not a single one of Edmonton's 12 shootout shooters attempted the move on which all three Red Wings scored against Kolzig just a few weeks back? Gotta be poor scouting/coaching, no?
- Tom Poti's secondary assist on Alex Ovechkin's goal was a fantastic homerun pass to Boyd Gordon. See? Secondary assists aren't all worthless (Ales Hemsky's on Dustin Penner's second period goal was another great example of this).
- Jeff Schultz's primary assist on Robert Nilsson's goal was less impressive.
- Any coach whose team doesn't aggressively pressure the puck when the Caps are on the power play should be fired on the spot for either negligence in game preparation or sheer stupidity.
- Matt Pettinger played with a greater sense of urgency and did some good things out there (he had a team-high four hits), but the fact of that matter is that he has just five points on the season in 42 games and has just two points since October. Welcome to Suckville, Matt. Population: you.
- Mike Green was all over the scoresheet with a goal, three shots, four hits, three giveaways, two takeaways and five blocked shots in 31:13 of ice time. He now has six goals in his last seven games, which is wholly ridiculous for a blueliner.
- If Boudreau had any hair when he came to Washington, he wouldn't have any left by now after coaching Alex Semin for two months (Glen Hanlon must have had an orange rug).
- Tomas Fleischmann continued his solid (but now snake-bitten) play, and Boyd Gordon - the night's first star - had a couple of helpers. Still, I don't see either as long-term solutions on the second line.
- Nicklas Backstrom has now played in 46 games this season, equalling his single-(regular) season high in games played back in Sweden. He's showing no signs of hitting a wall, but he's entering uncharted waters, so it's something to keep in the back of our minds.
- If you blinked, you missed Steve Eminger's shifts.
- I don't care what he did in regulation and overtime, if an NHL goalie goes 12-for-12 in a shootout, he deserves one of the game's three stars.
Oh, and since all three scored last night, you get the yard sign:
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
On this date back in 1999, Peter Bondra became the second player in team history to score 300 goals for the Caps.... "With the parity in the East, they should be pushing for the playoffs and they are not." Huh?... J-God had a pair of goals in OHL action last night.... If you missed Rick Nash's goal from last night, do make sure to check it out. It was effing phenomenal (excuse my French).
- Hart: Rick Nash (2G, including the game-winner with :22 left in the third, +2, 10 SOG)
- Ross: Shawn Horcoff, Ales Hemsky, Niklas Hagman, Rick Nash (3 points each)
- Norris: Dennis Wideman (2A, +2, 3 SOG)
- Vezina: Martin Gerber (W, 36 saves on 37 shots against)
- Richard: Mike Modano, Rick Nash, Shawn Horcoff, Dan Cleary, Antoine Vermette (2 G each)
- Calder: Peter Mueller (G, A, 8 SOG)
- Aiken: Cam Ward (L, 5 goals allowed on 32 shots against)