Monday, January 19, 2009

Caps beat Isles 2-1 in an afternoon snoozer

Great teams, like the Detroit Red Wings, usually dominate cellar dwelling teams but not these Washington Capitals.  Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled the Caps managed to get two points courtesy of Alex Ovechkin's goals, but they really need to learn how to bring the same effort to every game.  It shouldn't matter where that opponent happens to be in the standings. The coach and the players say the same thing after each lackluster effort against a weaker team, but the message is not getting through and it's an important one.  Playing with a consistent level of effort is how teams advance through the grueling second season in hockey, the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Great players carry their teams on their back, at times, and so it was with the Great 8's heroic efforts today to put the puck into the net.  He was supported by the Russians, Alexander Semin and Sergei Fedorov, on the overtime goal and by Brooks Laich (he worked hard out there today) and Mike Green on his power play goal early in the first.  Ovie got another well deserved first star of the game.

The third star of the game went to Jose Theodore.  He played another strong game stopping 27 of 28 shots and surviving some unbelievable flurries of swirling Islanders and one crazy power play where the Islanders had some good short-handed chances.

The Caps owe thanks to three Islanders, in particular, for this win:
  • Jon Sim, the Capital killer, did not score.
  • Brendan Witt, the former Cap that didn't want to stay for the rebuild, made both those penalties where Ovie scored on the power play. 
  • If Yann Danis, the 3rd string goalie for the Islanders, was just a little bit better the Caps might not have gotten two points.  He was pretty good, even though he hasn't won a game for the Isles yet, and he stonewalled several Caps.  In fact, Fedorov was visibly frustrated when one of his shots didn't get past the young netminder.
The Caps owe thanks to the hockey gods that:
  • Their back-to-back penalties didn't end up with the Islanders scoring two goals.
  • Their inability to clear the defensive zone didn't kill them.
The Caps head to Ottawa for a back-to-back inaugural special against the Senators.

Bring your "A" game Caps (like you did against Boston on Saturday).

Let's go Caps!

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