The Caps entered Wednesday night's game with Buffalo (in Rochester) allowing the most shots on goal per game (40.6) in the NHL. They'd been outshot in each of the team's nine games so far this season and were only taking 23.6 shots per game themselves, also worst in the League. In addition, the Caps were the NHL's most penalized team and its second worst penalty killers and had yet to win a road game this year. Add to those bleak statistics the facts that on Wednesday morning Buffalo was leading the League in shots per game at better than 35 and was the least penalized team in the League and it certainly looked like a recipe for disaster for D.C.
But on any given Wednesday in the NHL any team can beat any team. That's why they play the games. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while. Pick your cliche - the bottom line is that the Caps left Rochester with their first road win of the year, outshooting the Sabres 28-17 and, more importantly, outscoring them 3-2. For perhaps the first time this year, the Caps put together 60 solid minutes in which they out-worked, out-hustled and out-skated an opponent that from all appearances thought that all it had to do for two standings points against Washington was to show up.
The game wasn't even really as close as the score, as the Caps failed to convert several scoring opportunities on odd-man rushes and Buffalo's second goal was the result of a lucky bounce that set up a pretty shot. Next up for the Caps is a trip to Tampa for a Friday night engagement with the defending Cup champs, who will be looking to avenge an earlier loss at MCI Center.
In other Caps news, the team has filed a complaint in District Court against Alexander Semin and others, presumably alleging breach of contract and seeking damages. I would love to see the complaint, so if anyone has a link to it, please share.
Elsewhere around the NHL:
- Devils' Franchise Martin Brodeur left last night's loss with an apparent knee injury. Obviously, if the injury is anything serious, the already-struggling Devs will be in a world of trouble. Update: Brodeur is now listed as day-to-day.
- The Canucks signed former Caps blueliner Jason Doig, who had been with them through training camp. I can't imagine that Doig will have any value to an NHL team with referees enforcing the rules as rigidly as they have been thus far this season, but perhaps we'll see.
- Todd Bertuzzi and the Canucks visits Colorado Thursday night for the first time since "the incident." Don't expect much to happen outside of a hard-fought hockey game.
- Hart: Marco Sturm (Game-tying goal with :20 left, game-winning assist in OT)
- Ross: Brad Richards, Jere Lehtinen (3 points each)
- Norris: Steve Eminger (2A, +2)
- Vezina: J.S. Giguere (W, 25 saves on 26 shots against)
- Richard: Dave Andreychuk, Matt Cullen (2G each)
- Calder: Petr Sykora (G, A)
A hard-hitting, physical presence on the blue line, Doig also has also played for the Winnipeg-Phoenix franchise and with the New York Rangers.
Excuse me while I swallow my own vomit. The only thing that Doig ever hit was the penalty box door that was shutting behind him while he tripped, hooked, and held his was into getting the other team a power play point. I hope Vancouver calls him up and plays him every night.
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