Never a doubt, right?
Yesterday we pointed out a handful of early-season observations, a few of which came a little closer to becoming trends last night: the offense is still clicking (especially at five-on-five, where all four Caps goals were scored); the penalty kill is still sucking (allowing all three of Pittsburgh's goals in six chances); Alex Semin is still scoring; and the goalies are still crappy early (Jose Theodore now has a 7.00 first period GAA).
At some point soon, this team is going to need to address it's slow starts, unquestionably a matter of focus. Luckily, they have players and coaches who should be able to fix that problem. A few notes on the game:
- If Tom Poti is out for any significant period of time with his groin pull, it's a huge loss (though the guys at CSN might not notice it for a while - zing!).
- It bears repeating - the Caps positively dominated that game at even strength, out-shooting the Pens 27-16 and out-scoring them four to zippy. In other words, cut out the penalties (or get better on the kill) and we're on to something.
- Tomas Fleischmann? Awesome. [Someone get a screen grab of that - I don't often bring the Flash love, but it was well-deserved on this night, and had he converted on that diving stab at a cross-crease pass, he'd have been a household name by noon today.]
- Sergei Fedorov continues to do it all (including putting up astronomical Corsi's), as he notched another plus-2, mostly from the blueline.
- Evgeni Malkin provided the perfect example of how reputation-based and inconsistent the League's officiating is. Awful.
- Boyd Gordon knew it was in. Mellon Arena knew it was in. Why didn't the guys wearing the stripes?
- I've been a frequent critic of Donald Brashear's, but his absence was notable, to say the least. Matt Bradley as enforcer = epic fail ("A" for effort, though, and it apparently sparked the team).
- Shaone Morrisonn had a horrendous first half of the game - two minors, the third goal off his leg - but got better.
- Y'know that silly in-game "entertainment" at the Verizon Center where two folks out of the stands compete to see who can do a better job calling the play-by-play 20 seconds or so of live action? I'm not sure Al Koken would have a .500 record if he participated on a nightly basis.
- It's a toss-up as to who's having a harder time getting going this year between Nicklas Backstrom and Chris Clark (and at least Clark has an excuse).
- Alex Ovechkin was trying to do too much. Similarly, the power play is way too cute right now. Plant someone in front and bomb away.
- Mike Green's hip check on Malkin was tasty.
- Finally, if Sidney Crosby needed a one-stop shop on his way home from the rink...
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
The Caps dropped nine spots from tenth to 19th in Fox's Power Rankings. Over-react much?... Stack the Pads has plenty on the Caps' AHL goalies.... Braden Holtby's still rollin'.... The Kevin Kaminski era commences in Mississippi.... Finally, catch the rest of my conversation (where we talk goalies, attendance and whatnot... mostly whatnot) with Tapeleg and Tom over at The Rink Podcast.