Monday, October 08, 2007

4 out of 4 points and a whole new team

Wow. The Caps started the season by controlling the puck the entire first period at the Atlanta Thrashers. Nylander scored first while Backstrom got his first NHL point on that goal and then Erskine made a beautiful shot to make it 2-0 in the 1st period. The Caps backed off in the 2nd period as evidenced by Atlanta's lone goal in that period, but in the 3rd period Kozlov scored on a puck via assists from Mike Green and Ovie. That sealed the deal. 2-points down.

Backstrom looked comfortable in his NHL debut, Brent Johnson played solid in goal and the Ovie, Kozlov, Flash line appeared to be everywhere. The Caps had 40 shots to Atlanta's 29. Yes, you read that right. It was so often the reverse last year.

On, Saturday the Caps won again, beating Carolina 2-0 in the home opener and it was a beautiful thing to watch at the VC. The Caps dominated on offense and controlled the puck pretty much the entire game. This time the Caps had 33 shots to Carolina's 22. Half of Carolina's shots came in the 3rd period, they only had 2 in the 1st period. I've been reading a lot that the Caps want to play this kind of puck control offense as it plays to their strengths. Well, the strategy seems to working wonders so far. (I know, it's only 2 games so that's not a forecast). The Carolina coach seems to agree in his quote in this Washington Post article. "I thought Washington was on their toes all night -- offensively, defensively, loose pucks," Carolina Coach Peter Laviolette said. "Every time a puck came up, no question, it was their puck." 4 points down!

Ovie scored a beauty of a goal in the 1st period and Kozlov and Erskine assisted. Ovie's skates are smoking right now. He is everywhere, hitting, shooting and playing much better defense than he did last year (he's +2 with Kozlov so far versus -19 at the end of last season). Milan Jurcina scored the 2nd goal on a power play with Semin and Backstrom assisting. Semin is back and played 16-minutes and change. Mike Green looks great and Tom Poti is a tremendous help already as the power play quarterback and on the blue line. Olie also played inspired hockey and got the shutout. He had a splits save in the 3rd period and looked great in the few times he was tested.

Now, how in the world do I temper my expectations? This team is playing with fire and working together. It's so exciting...

The Caps visit the Islanders at 2:00 today and I'm annoyed that the NHL think people actually get Columbus Day off and can watch the game. I can't but will catch part of it on the radio.

Let's go Caps!

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