Sunday, February 03, 2008

Sunday Roundup/Thrashers 2, Caps 0

[AP Recap - Game Summary - Super Stats - Postgame]

As we were discussing on Friday (while everyone else was busy handing out post-season hardware), the Caps' lack of secondary scoring has become quite worrisome. After last night's whitewash at the hands of Atlanta, the Caps have now been shutout in two of their last three games, don't have a goal from anyone other than Alex Ovechkin or Viktor Kozlov in three games, don't have an even strength goal from someone other than those two in 250:37 of game time (and just one in 350:51), and the power play is now 1-for-13 in the last five games. Are we now beyond "worrisome" and at "critical"?

Some thoughts on last night's game:
  • One could pour 4,000 Slurpees across an elementary school blacktop and it would probably provide as good a playing surface as the one at Verizon Center last night thanks to an afternoon Hoyas game (as if you needed another reason to hate Georgetown basketball - hey, I'm a Syracuse alum). Olie Kolzig called the ice "garbage," but noted that the Thrashers "were playing on the same ice so we can't make any excuses there." True enough, but when one team is trying to play an up-tempo skilled game and the other is trying to play a deliberate, plodding style that would make Jacques Lemaire upchuck, it's fair to note.
  • If there's a player in the world playing in any league at any level who has committed more penalties while his team is on the power play this season than Alex Semin has, I'd be shocked.
  • Speaking of Semin, his diving penalty was Grade A, um, equine feces.
  • Ovechkin had seven shots on goal, six attempted/blocked shots and four misses. As to that last grouping, I had already started cheering aloud when Ovie's shot sailed high and wide of a gaping net in the first. While it was far from Tikkanen-esque, AO hits that 99 times out of 100.
  • Kari Lehtonen was awesome. Kolzig was very good. Nicklas Backstrom's backcheck on Todd White was somewhere at the other end of the spectrum.
  • Atlanta outhit the Caps 30-23. That's absolutely inexcusable, considering that the Thrash had played 65+ minutes of hockey the night before and the Caps were fresh.
Games like last night's show what can happen when you let teams hang around. The Caps should have won that game relatively easily. They didn't. Next up, C'bus on Tuesday.

Elsewhere Beyond the Rinks:

This has nothing to do with hockey, but everything to do with funny (h/t Dunzy).

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Mike Knuble (3G, including the game-winner, +2, 3 SOG, 2 TkA)
  • Ross: Mike Knuble, Evgeni Malkin (3 points each)
  • Norris: Jay Bouwmeester (G, A, 6 BkS)
  • Vezina: Kari Lehtonen (36-save shutout win)
  • Richard: Mike Knuble (3G)
  • Calder: T.J. Hensick (2G, +2, 3 SOG, 80% faceoffs won)
  • Aiken: Jason LaBarbera (L, 5 goals allowed on 24 shots against in 39:09 of work)


Anonymous said...

AO missed that open net because the puck bounced up on the crappy ice at the last second.

DMG said...

I think partially too because he rushed the shot, not realizing how much time and what a precarious position Lehtonen was in.

I know what the Capitals have done thus far is pretty amazing and that they still have two games in hand Atlanta and Carolina...but I still feel like they're breaking my heart because whenever they've had a chance to jump ahead or into a playoff spot something like this happens.

Tyler said...

That was a MADDENING game to watch. That is all.

b.orr4 said...

A couple of points:
-You're right about the bad ice hurting the Caps much than Atlanta.
-If Ovie makes that shot in the first, it's game over and we could be looking at a 3-4 goal win for the Caps.
-If you're blasting Semin for diving, I disagree. While he does dive a ton, what he did there did not deserve a penalty. It was just a crap call by the ref who was looking for a way to not give the Caps a PP. Semin got that call just on reputation.
-Yeah, Atlanta outhit the Caps but don't you think it had a tad bit to do with the fact that the Caps spent virtually the entire game in the Thrashers end? Defense is always going to do more hitting than offense and Atlanta played 55 of the 60 minutes without the puck.
-Did I mention how sick and tired I am of Abe Pollin screwing this team over. First he schedules a basketball game to end less than five hours before the start of the Caps game and then he keeps it so warm you could wear shorts and still be sweating. How Ted and the league can all ow this to continue is beyond me.

JP said...

@b.orr4: I was calling the call crap, not Semin's fall. Someone should've clothslined that ref and seen if he could stay on his skates.

god effing damnit said...

as soon as erskine missed the wrap around, and to a further extent when ovechkin missed the empty net, i knew for a fact we were going to lose. it seems like every game this year in which we dominate the first period only to finish it 0-0 or even down 1 in some cases, were doomed to lose. in my opinion, had either of those chances gone in, we would have won 6-2, but the pendulem swung the other way, as fucking always.

Tyler said...

The ice was so bad last night that you could see puddles, big oval patches where the ice was lower in the middle, ruts that had to be an inch wide, and so on. If it had been much worse they couldn't have played. As it was everyone was falling all over the place, especially skill guys who depend on their skating for their games: 52, 28, etc.

NS said...

i wonder how many more groin injuries it will take for Leonsis to put pressure to improve the swimming pool conditions at VC?

Anonymous said...

We lost because of a hot goalie. Atlanta is a lot like the Caps in that you never know who's gonna show up.

If we don't make some trades (yes, plural) before the deadline you can count on another no playoff season.

We should be able to get someone decent for Semin. He's not earning his money. I've never seen a pro hockey player lose an edge as many times as this kid does. At the beginning of the season he was hurt, but his play lately has just plain sucked. He's weak on the puck; you never know what's going to happen with the puck on his stick; all the teams know how to make him turn it over; he's a diver; takes STUPID fucking penalties.

The only thing he hasn't done yet this year is glove the puck and throw it toward the net, but there's plenty of season left.

DMG said...

until Leonsis owns the building, the amount we can fault him is limited.

Trades? Really? Since Boudreau took over this team has been the best in Eastern Conference (at least as of last night) and they play in the weakest division, where they are 3 points out of first with 2 games in hand.
Could the team improve? no doubt, especially if they pick up another offensively minded center to play with Semin and Flash, but I think this team looks headed to the playoffs as is.

Hazardous said...

I think if that "dive" hadn't been called (as it shouldn't have), the complexion of that game could've changed significantly. Other than that, no gripes but the obvious. I closed my center ice feed, muttering "season over." Hopefully they'll prove me wrong, but I think this was a pretty do or die moment for our season. I know it's still technically possible to hit the playoffs at this point in time, but it just seems that as soon as the points REALLY matter, we fall short for various reasons.

DMG said...


given that the Caps are 3 back with 2 games in hand, and are the only team in the SE with a winning record since Boudreau took over, and have one of the top 2-4 records in the entire league since that point, I like their playoff chances.

Chris said...

Very frustrating game. It may have been the first nail in the coffin for the playoffs but, all-around, I thought it was one of the better games the Caps played all season. Very frustrating.