Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday Roundup/Caps 4, Sens 1

[AP Recap - Game Summary - Super Stats]

And that, my friends, is why they play the games.

On most nights in the NHL, it's awfully difficult to win without a good effort and a bit of luck. The Caps got more than a little of each last night in Ottawa and snapped their four-game skid in a big way. Some notes on the game:
  • The Caps narrowly avoided giving up a goal on the opponent's first shot of the game for the fifth time this sesaon when Olie Kolzig made a great stop on Chris Kelly a mere eight seconds in.
  • Christoph Schubert is no Anton Volchenkov.
  • Count with me the Caps who had their best game of the season last night: Viktor Kozlov, Tomas Fleischmann, Nicklas Backstrom, Olie Kolzig... am I missing anyone?
  • The penalty kill was five-for-five including a damn-near heroic effort on a minute-plus of three-on-five time in the second (great use of the timeout during that kill, by the way - Olie was gassed).
  • Further to that last point, despite winning only four of fourteen draws, David Steckel is fully deserving of a man-crush - he blocked five shots last night and utilizes his ridiculously long reach sublimely.
  • Alex Ovechkin had 10 shots on goal (and another five that didn't make it on goal) and two brilliant defensive plays on the backcheck to go along with his goal and assist. "Slump" over?
  • Is it possible that Milan Jurcina actually stinks? I don't think so, but it bears watching. He had a bad giveaway in the first, looked bad on the Daniel Alfredsson goal, and was crushed along the boards a few times by Mike Fisher. He needs to play with more confidence. Jeff Schultz, on the other hand...
  • AO's goal last night was his 10th of the season and was scored in the team's 16th game. In his each of his first two years in the League, he reached double digits on November 6, in game number 14.
  • Flash's six shots on goal were a career high. Backstrom's one goal was also a career high.
  • The Caps are now 2-0-0 in the province of Ontario, outscoring their opponents 11-2. Perhaps they should be the team that moves to Hamilton.
  • It was a bad night in the dot, as the Caps won only 21 of 52 (40%) of the game's faceoffs.
  • Did Chris Bourque skate a shift once the Caps took the lead? He did have one nice hit in the 5:33 of ice time he did get.
  • The Sens rang the iron behind Kolzig on at least two occasions, and misfired on several others (Ottawa was credited with 21 missed shots, three times as many as the Caps). But the Caps were due a break or two, weren't they?
  • I'll resist the urge to type "If Viktor Kozlov could put forth that kind of effort every night..." Oops.
So a road trip that began miserably in Carolina ends triumphantly in Kanata and, for those of you keeping score at home, the Caps earned three of a possible six points in three tough buildings. Next up, a Saturday date with Vinny and the Bolts (who got their first road win of the season last night in Raleigh). Confidence has to be brimming up and down the lineup right now - let's just hope it carries over for the next sixty minutes of game time.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

Forbes has updated its valuations of the NHL's 30 teams and the Caps are in just about the same place on that list as they are in the standings, but I wouldn't worry about that too much. As I wrote when Forbes compiled the same list last year, the most valuable franchises are those whose owners also own the arenas in which the team plays, co-habitating NBA franchises, etc. Since the Caps are renters and Ted Leonsis et. al. don't yet own the Wiz, it's not surprising that they'd be way down the list. Some day, however, Lincoln Holdings will own the building and the 'Zards, and the Caps will skyrocket up the list.... Boyd Gordon is underrated everywhere but on this blog.... The City Paper has the heart-warming tale of former Cap "Classy" Joe Murphy and his legal woes.... Finally, Nick Backstrom wasn't the only NHLer to get rid of the goose egg in the G column last night - Dainius Zubrus potted his first and second goals of the year in Jersey's win over the Flyers. At this pace, he may get to ten yet!

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Viktor Kozlov (G, 2A, +2, 4 SOG, 2 hits, 2 takeaways, 0 giveaways, 67% faceoffs won)
  • Ross: Viktor Kozlov, Vaclav Prospal, Steven Reinprecht, Ed Jovanovski (3 points each)
  • Norris: Ed Jovanovksi (Game-winning goal, 2A, +1)
  • Vezina: Johan Holmqvist (W, 40 saves on 41 shots against)
  • Richard: Dainius Zubrus, Shane O'Brien, Steven Reinprecht (2G each)
  • Calder: Carey Price (W, 28 saves on 29 shots against)
  • Aiken: Marty Turco (L, 5 goals allowed on 31 shots against)


NS said...

the sky is falling

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of Kozlov's performance last night has to do with his move to wing. He just seems more natural there and has a bit more freedom to be creative and work the boards. And what can you say about Backstrom? That kid is going to be great.

Anonymous said...

I saw #55 out there with a few minutes left and I screamed
And Steckel, I am sure glad you finally stuckel.

Anonymous said...

Nice quote about Juice. In fact, he might actually stink. Of course, last year I suggested that Mike Green wasn't good enough to stop the killer rush from "Mites on Ice" during the first intermission, and will happily admit that I was dead wrong.

NS said...

what really surprised me was that this was a FUN game to watch. Flash looked more comfortable out there firing away.

Please keep Kozlov on RW, forever.

Anonymous said...

Would someone post the lines from last night's game? I wasn't able to listen ... and the last time that happened the Caps were in Toronto. Maybe I will just wait until the morning to read the recap here :)

Anonymous said...

Would someone post the lines from last night's game? I didn't get a chance to listen.


DMG said...

Great point about the 3 points on the road trip. Given that the team lost 5-0 in the first game and did lose in the second game it could be overlooked. But 3 points out of 3 games in 4 days, all on the road, against good opponents is solid.

JP said...

@ Anon: I keep the current line combos updated and linked under the "Quick Links" header in the sidebar. They're current.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see Gordo getting some props. He sure deserves it.

Chris said...

Excellent post. You raised a lot of the same things I noted in my running diary, which I kept as I watched the replay this morning thinking I would be doing a lot of whining and crying. Glad I was wrong.

Anonymous said...

Kozlov is one of the most consistent players on this team.

b.orr has it right. He belongs on the wing, not at center. Hanlon took WAAAAAAY too long to make that move.