Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wednesday Roundup/Habs 4, Caps 0

[AP Recap - Game Summary - Super Stats]

When you go to Montreal to play the Canadiens and leave your special teams and discipline at home, you're asking for trouble. The Caps did just that, ran into a brick wall of a goaltender and left the City of Saints with a loss. Some thoughts on the game:
  • John Erskine as a third-pairing defenseman? Acceptable (perhaps). As a first-pairing guy? Not so much. Two delay of game penalties and a tripping call, a minus-one rating and a team-high three giveaways tell some of last night's story, but the bigger picture is more troubling - as we wait for the "pinch" in which Shaone Morrisonn will play, Brian Pothier's head to clear up and Tom Poti's shoulder to get better, the Caps have essentially one-and-a-half of their top-four defensemen healthy. This team needs to bolster its blueline and fast if it wants to stay in the playoff hunt.
  • I love the Habs' logo and would would greatly appreciate it if, in the future, Caps shooters could try not to obstruct my view of that glorious mark on Montreal's goaltender's uniform by firing so many pucks directly into it.
  • Tomas Fleischmann was credited with a team-high three takeaways and no giveaways, which is strange, because it was his pass that set up the 2-on-0 shorthanded break that ended up behind Brent Johnson for Montreal's second goal.
  • Speaking of Johnny, 36 saves on 40 shots against and he probably didn't have a chance on any of the four Habs goals. Start Olie Thursday? Sure. But there should be no hesitation in giving BJ another start real soon.
  • Matt Pettinger managed to get on the scoresheet... with a tripping call.
  • It was a great night in the faceoff circle for the Caps, with Nicklas Backstrom leading the way with 65% of his twenty draws won. No Cap that took more than one draw was below 50% efficient.
  • Milan Jurcina blocked four shots and was second on the team with 24:51 of ice time (four seconds less than Poti had). So much of Juice's game depends on his confidence level, and it's clear that Bruce Boudreau is gaining confidence in the big guy every game (that and he has no real choice in the matter - see bullet number one above).
  • It might be expected that the Caps would be outshot by Montreal. But outhit? That's an indication that the team wasn't on its game. The abundance of odd-man rushes against was another indicator.
  • Mike Komisarek was probably the better Number Eight on the ice last night. What a stud.
So Thursday night now becomes another of those "don't let one loss become two" games against these same Habs. Olie Kolzig is likely to get the start, and if ever there was a time when the team needed their unofficial captain to play the role of stopper, it'll be Thursday. It's the type of game that a competitor like Kolzig plays the game for - let's see what he does with the opportunity.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

"You've got to root for these Caps." Agreed (sidenote: are you sure that's the headshot you want to go with, Monty?).... Vogs on the future of the Caps between the pipes.... Another profile on the dues Gabby paid en route to his stint behind the Caps' bench....

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Glen Metropolit (2G, including the game-winner, +2, 3 SOG, 58% faceoffs won)
  • Ross: Jason Pominville (3 points)
  • Norris: Toni Lydman (2A, +3, hit, 2 BkS)
  • Vezina: Cristobal Huet (35-save shutout win)
  • Richard: Glen Metropolit, Keith Tkachuk, Ryan Malone, Michael Rupp, Peter Mueller (2G each)
  • Calder: Peter Mueller (2G, including the game-winner, +1, 4 SOG)
  • Aiken: Curtis Sanford (3 goals allowed on 12 shots against in just 24:31 of work)


NS said...

fucking UGLY. that is all.

Paul Nichols said...

AMEN, NS. That 2 - 0 breakaway pissed me off so bad I was actually looking for something to break. All I could say is MFSOB!

That was Baboon-Ass-Ugly.

That's the kind of game where the coach needs to walk in the locker room after the game and just kick the living shit out of everyone.

Maybe they're reading the headlines too much?

Unknown said...

Good for Metro. Aside from him and a hilarious holding-the-stick penalty on Nik Antropov, the night was a waste.

Anonymous said...

Up by three goals and Montreal puts their #1 PP unit on the ice with a minute left in the game. Something tells me that won't be forgotten by the Caps come Thursday. As for the game, let's be realistic. The Habs were one of the hottest teams in the league going into last night's game and the Caps were playing without two of their top four defensemen. For all those saying how great Erskine was, I think you saw what he really is in that game. A 6/7 defenseman at best.

Unknown said...

Erskine, especially at his price-point, is a plenty decent 6/7.

If anyone sees Antropov video, post it? Antropov held a Blues' player's stick, took it away, and then skated through the entire neutral zone with two sticks, trying to get the Blues player to take his stick back. Uh, yeah: Two minutes to big Nik.

Anonymous said...

Nice post.

Anonymous said...

I think the Caps played as badly as the Habs played well. Ugly. Very ugly. Not the Caps team we've been watching, but if the recent past is any indication they'll play better in Game #2.

Anonymous said...

extremely scared that this is going to be their first multigame losing streak, the question is will it stop at two? God damn all-star break

Anonymous said...

I don't like that 3 & 23 pairing, don't like it one bit.

Unknown said...

4-44 (groan)

Anonymous said...

What's this about Poti playing through a shoulder injury?

Anonymous said...

What is the difference between a Shot On Goal and a Scoring Chance? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I blame Kolzig. :)

JP said...

@ Smitty: "Poti's shoulder is bothering him. And that has a lot to do with his lack of goal scoring. His range of movement is definitely limited."

@ Sleepy: "A scoring chance is not an objective thing (like a shot), but rather it is subjective. It is up to the person tracking stats to decide when a scoring chance has taken place. Generally a scoring chance is counted for each time there is a decent chance to score, regardless if there is a shot on net. For example, you go down on a two on one and the inital shot goes wide, someone grabs the rebound and throws it at the net and the goalie covers it. In this case, two scoring chances would (usually) be counted: one for the inital two on one and one for the following shot."

@ Tyler: 34-24-34

Sonia said...

boudreau looked like he was shooting death lasers from his eyes last night. i have never seen him look so angry!

Unknown said...

I'd like to thank JP for leaving "52" out of that link.

Anonymous said...

RE: Scoring chances. It doesn't seem like a relevant stat, then. Or am I missing something? Does anyone take it seriously? Your opinions, por favor.

JP said...

My opinion? It's somewhat useful within a single game, but totalling up scoring chances over the course of a season is probably silly, since it's totally at the whim of whomever is keeping the stat.

For example, if Montreal had 20 scoring chances last night and the Caps had 10, that would tell you a lot about the game. But I'm not sure you could say that the Caps necessarily played better in a game at home in which they had 20 scoring chances than in one on the road in which they had 15.

It's sorta like hits. Dustin Brown currently leads the League by more than 50 hits. Is it because he's banging 33% or more than the rest of the top 10 or is it because LA's scorekeeper might be a little more generous in awarding hits? My bet is the latter (if I had the time, I'd look at his home vs. road hits per game). So hits, over the course of the season, is much less useful in my opinion than it is within a single game (in which you can make a reasonable assessment from the stat as to which team and which players were more physical). That's pretty much how I see "scoring chances."

Does that make sense?

Anonymous said...

Makes PERFECT sense to me now. Many thanks.

Hazardous said...

That 2 on 0 breakaway is the kind of thing that, if I had been a coach, I'd have actually just forfeit the game. Just not show up for the second period.

Honestly, I thought Johnson played well, and he didn't have a chance on any of the goals, so I'd have given him the start thursday also, but what JP said makes a lot of sense also. This is pretty much Kolzig's opportunity to show us he's still got something. If he falls flat tomorrow, it may just be time to hang 'em up. :/

I thought the caps had no opportunity to get back into that game after the 2-0 breakaway, but there was never a chance to get any momentum going, thanks to the "new NHL." The "delay of game" penalty is garbage, if you ask me, but more importantly, the would-be "penalty" if Johnson had played that third goal's puck is the biggest crock of shit I've ever heard of.

If not for the BS "delay of game" rule, Erskine didn't have *that* bad of a night. Bad? Yeah, but everyone had a bad night (except Johnson, honestly). I think people are too ready to bitch and bitch and bitch about him because he basically took Eminger's spot.

He's by no means one of our best, but I don't think he's as bad as the stats want to make him look.

JP said...

I couldn't agree more about the delay of game penalty - why not leave it to the ref's discretion, like just about everything else? If a guy intentionally sends it over the glass, sit him for two. If a puck is rolling and a guy misplays it over the glass, just face the damn puck off in his zone.

And the trapezoid rule is a joke, and as you point out, is a huge contributing factor to how and why MTL scored that one goal. I half think the geniuses in the League offices just wanted to show that they remembered something from eighth grade geometry.

Brian said...

Don't know if you all are getting this on the East Coast, but Comcast here (WA) is having a free preview of Center Ice through Feb 4th.