Thursday, November 20, 2008

Caps hang on to beat Ducks 6-4

The Washington Capitals came out storming last night against the Anaheim Ducks and quickly went up 3-0 on two power play goals (Tomas Fleischmann on a redirect from Mike Green and Mike Green from Michael Nylander) and 1 even strength goal (Nicklas Backstrom from Viktor Kozlov) by 7:13 in the first period. The Caps power play has struggled terribly this season, but scoring on 3 of 8 last night raised their effectiveness to 19.5% and 12th in the league. The Caps ran out backup netminder Jonas Hiller after those 3 goals and faced Jean-Sebastian Giguere for the rest of the game.

Then, the Ducks scored the next two goals to make it 3-2 by the end of the first. Caps came back in the 2nd period early on another power play goal by Alex Ovechkin and added an even strength goal by Matt Bradley to end the 2nd.

Between the goals in the 2nd period, Donald Brashear and George Parros threw down the gloves and went at it. Parros, a 6'5 28-year old enforcer wrapped up Brash's left arm so he got in several good hits but Brashear came back and pounded Parros for a few.

David Steckel added to the Caps goal total about halfway through the 3rd to make it 6-2, but Anaheim didn't give up and scored 27 seconds after Steckel and added another one at the 12:00 mark. The Caps held on though and got the all important two points out of this brutal road trip where they play 4 games in 6 nights.

The highlights:
  • Ovie had a 4 point night with 3 secondary assists on the first 3 goals and his power play goal in the 2nd.
  • Backstrom's goal in the first came from a beautiful dodging around defenders pass by Viktor Kozlov. The top line of Ovie, Backie and Kozlov played well together last night. In fact, Ovie got the first star of the game and Kozlov the third.
  • The Caps focused on getting the puck out of their zone and did it more effectively, particularly, in the first period, than I've seen in a while. In Coach Boudreau's pregame remarks to the press he emphasized that he wanted the Caps to keep the puck out of their zone during the first five minutes of the game. They did and went up 3-0. Gee, really helps to win games when you spend less time in your defense zone!

The lowlights:

  • Mike Green made the play that caused the Duck's first goal. Then, on a typical end-to-end rush by Green with his head down, he got slammed into the end boards by Chris Pronger and left the game with a shoulder injury. Don't know whether or not he'll play tonight, but the injury bug is getting serious for the Caps. It's made more difficult by not having any cap space to bring up guys from Herhsey to fill in. The Caps desperately need cap space which is probably why the Michael Nylander trade rumors are all over various hockey news sources.
  • The defense and netminding, in general, is still a challenge for the Caps. Anytime a team lets in four goals it's not a good night in the defensive zone. I don't see why people continue to praise Jeff Schultz's development. He's young, and I get that he's still developing, but he drives me crazy right now. He was on the ice for 3 of the 4 Anaheim goals and, to be fair, so was Tom Poti. The shocking defensive stat of the night...Milan Jurcina wasn't on the ice for any of Anaheim's goal.
  • Jose Theodore constantly makes me nervous in net. Granted, the defense struggles in front on him, but I'm just not impressed. A quarter of the way into the season and he has yet to establish himself as the #1 netminder for the Caps.
The Caps face the Los Angeles Kings tonight. The Kings are in 13th place in the West so this should be an easier game than last night's. But, it's the Caps and you can never take anything for granted with this team. Plus, I have no idea who is going to play on the blueline if Mike Green can't. Shaone Morrisonn may end up playing but that doesn't make me feel any better about the defense.

Let's go Caps!

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At 8:40 AM, Blogger Chris said...

I have to disagee on Theodore. In the first few games he made me nervous. Now, the Caps D makes me nervous. I'm ot saying he is Luongo, but Theo has been much, much better than his numbers of late. The Caps give up a ridiculously disproportionate number of quality scoring chances for the number of shots they surrender.

Now, is he No.1? I don't know, seeing as Johnny has also looked great. That said, these days, I spend more time worrying about the defensive play of guys like Jurcina, Erskine, Schultz, and evem Green, than I do about Theo.

At 3:23 PM, Blogger Caps Dreamer said...

Hi Chris-

Theo has been the big topic of the day in Caps land. And, no doubt, the Caps D is nothing short of frightening right now. The thought of ShaMo and Schultz playing together tonight definitely scares me more than Theo right now.

Others have said Theo played pretty well last night overall (stats aside) so I guess I wasn't watching closely enough or I was just tired. He still scares me and that's probably because I watch the Avs when I get the opportunity. His career was very up and down in Colorado so I've never been a fan.

Another late one tonight. Let's go Caps!


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