Thursday, December 04, 2008

Caps beat the Islanders 5-2

The Caps showed up to play last night and they definitely showed up to shoot with 46 shots on net against Islander netminder Joey MacDonald and one empty netter. The Caps still played sloppy after their second goal for a while and they were called for 9 penalties (the refs were blowing the whistle a lot) so the Islanders managed to tie the game up 2-2 at 13:38 in the 2nd period. But, in this game, the Caps persevered and added 3 more goals in the 3rd to get the win.

The highlights:
  • Alex Ovechkin's first power play goal, a wrist shot, blasted past goalie MacDonald. He left the ice after that and Caps fans were in agony until he returned to the bench. The Caps season would be toast if Ovie got injured for any length of time while Semin is still out. Overall, Ovie had a 3 point night and made an incredibly unselfish play to pass the puck to Nicklas Backstrom on the empty netter goal. For those hockey fans who say Ovie is a selfish puck hog, think again.
  • Rookie Karl Alzer, second star of the game, made the most brilliant play of the night that resulted in the game winning goal by Donald Brashear, third star of the game. Knowing that he wouldn't get the puck past the defenders into the net, he banked the puck off the back wall and it fell at Brashear's feet right in front of the net. Brashear knocked it in for his first goal of the season. It was an ugly goal, but as Brooks Laich says, "...if you want goals, you have to go to the net." The Caps listened to Brooksie last night.
  • In the "going to the net" garbage goal category, Eric Fehr netted the fourth goal of the night tossing a backhander over the goalie during a power play off of a deflection from Brooks Laich and Ovie.
  • Viktor Kozlov got the first star of the night and scored first off of a deflected puck in front of the net via Bryan Helmer and Sami Lepisto. Kozlov played well all night. I've come to appreciate his puck handling skills, his shooting skills and his play along the boards. He's definitely missed when he's out.
  • Brent Johnson played a solid game in net and stopped 27 shots to get his first career win against the New York Islanders.
  • The Eric Fehr, Boyd Gordon and Tomas Fleischmann line looked good last night, buzzing around the net and playing hard against the boards. Gordon seems to have stepped it up a notch from earlier in the season.
  • Sami Lepisto's offense and power play quarterbacking work was much better than his overall defense. He desperately wanted a goal as he kept shooting. 3 of his shots resulted in good scoring chances.
  • Overall though, the Hershey Bear defenders played pretty well last night. Karl Alzner looked much better on defense than in Tuesday's game against Florida and Bryan Helmer played well.

The lowlights:

  • Penalties. I know the refs had their whistles out last night and the Islanders dove a couple of times, but the Caps need to stay out of the penalty box, particularly, with their very young and inexperienced defense playing right now.
  • The 2nd goal of the game. Sami Lepisto batted the puck out of the air and didn't catch it behind the net and then got hung out to dry by his teammates as he couldn't beat back a 4-1 charge by the Islanders that resulted in Trent Hunter's goal. Hey Caps, ever heard of back checking?
  • Michael Nylander continues to drive me crazy. He can't seem to find his playmaking groove that he had before he was injured. I've also said it before, but he doesn't seem to fit with Coach Boudreau's system.
  • David Steckel is struggling in the past couple of games. Not sure what's going on there, but I see him making mistakes more than I see him making good plays.

The weirdlights:

  • A goal cannot be scored off of a referee. The Islanders almost got a go ahead goal that was deflected off a referee and slid past a moving Brent Johnson. Well, it's not allowed. How often do you see that happen?
The Caps go back on the road and the road hasn't been very friendly to them this season so far. First up, Toronto Maple Leafs tomorrow night.
Let's go Caps!

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