Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thursday Roundup/Habs 4, Caps 1

[ Recap - Postgame Coverage]

At the end of the first period of last night's 4-1 Caps loss to Montreal - a period in which the Caps outshot their opponents 14-7 and dominated play save for two defensive breakdowns that turned into Canadien goals - I turned to my wife and said, "I hope you liked that effort because that's likely to be as good as it gets tonight." I was more or less spot on, as the undermanned Caps ran out of gas and were able to muster up only a very late 5-on-3 goal to break Cristobal Huet's shutout bid.

A few noteworthy points:
  • The Caps were again dominated in the faceoff circle, losing 57% of the 53 draws and a whopping 78% in the offensive zone. Dainius Zubrus (who has to be in the top ten in the League in being thrown out of faceoffs) and Kris Beech - the Caps' top two centers - combined to go 2-for-10 on offensive zone faceoffs. It's hard enough to score on the Habs when you have to gain the offensive zone first; not being able to take advantage of the opportunity to start in the zone makes life even more difficult. Boyd Gordon, who had an otherwise strong game, was 6-for-17 on draws.
  • Brooks Laich looked good. I don't have any stats to back that up, but he was noticeable in areas other than the penalty kill, which has been rare for him.
  • On the flip side, Mike Green was bad. I don't know if he's hitting some kind of wall, but his last two games have been among his worst this season.
  • The line changes, especially in the second period, were particularly sloppy. At least twice, a Cap forward carried the puck across the blueline and dropped a pass to a teammate who had gone to the bench for a change, leading to a Canadien rush the other way.
  • Olie Kolzig couldn't be faulted for any of the Hab goals (except for the empty-netter, for which Olie was horribly out of position). Saku Koivu's tip-in nail-in-the-coffin was a thing of beauty.
  • Montreal's defense corps is everything the Caps' isn't - experienced, decisive and skilled at the break-out pass.
  • Yesterday I mentioned the Habs' special teams and they were the difference last night as the Habs were 25% effective on the power play and 87.5% effective on the kill.
  • It was a surprisingly large crowd for a mid-week game (during the holidays, no less), announced at 15,609 but didn't seem packed with Montreal fans. Huh. Could it have been the 7:30 start time (a half-hour later than usual)?
  • The Donald absolutely soaked Aaron Downey's melon with haymakers (see video below - h/t to Off Wing). Psst... Aaron... he's left-handed.

After generating little offense against Huet and Les Habitants, it's off to the swamp to face Marty Brodeur and the Devils - that sure ought to cure what ails the team.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Jeff Halpern (Game-winning goal, 2A, 4 blocked shots)
  • Ross: Jeff Halpern, Marian Hossa, Jere Lehtinen, Daniel Sedin, Mattias Ohlund, Wojtek Wolksi (3 points each)
  • Norris: Mattias Ohlund (3A, +1, 2 blocked shots)
  • Vezina: Cristobal Huet (W, 30 saves on 31 shots against)
  • Richard: Kristian Huselius (2G)
  • Calder: Wojtek Wolski (G, 2A, +1, 4 SOG)
  • Aiken: Jose Theodore (L, 5 goals allowed on 22 shots against in 41:52 of work)


Anonymous said...

If by "sure ought to cure what ails the team" you mean another 4-1 loss, then yes, that sure ought to cure what ails the Caps.

JP said...

Sarcasm, dude. Look into it.

JP said...

Check out this amazing stat:

"Sidney Crosby was held without a point for a second consecutive game in the Penguins' loss. Pittsburgh has never won a game in which Crosby played and failed to register a point, going 0-21-1 last season and 0-8-0 this season."

faux rumors said...

1) Yes, on the back line the caps are significantly undermanned, and it showed. This could be the reason for Green's recent poor play.
2) He is still only 21 and not yet ready to be a top 4 defensemen, and without a regular partner its especially difficult
3) That said, the group of forwards are NOT significantly undermanned, yet are playing like it. You can't have a decent team with only a couple of guys scoring regularly.
4) When did Pettinger last score? Is Sutherby a total offensive bust? Klepis seems a step behind the play almost always. Laich has shown some improvement, but other than the top line last night there were little/few scoring chances from anyone else!
5) Is/was Bradley the team MVP/the glue that kept this team together? LOL

Debcapsfan said...

I thought Green had a bad night but Heward was more noticeably atrocious.
The Crosby stat is interesting. Their five game slide would be much more enjoyable if the Caps weren't loosing as well!