Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Caps survive shootout to get 2 points against Philly

The Caps beat the Flyers in a shootout, a rare enough occurrence over the past 3 years (7-17 record), but they're 2-2 this year.  Jose Theodore saved the day on this one stopping Flyers Simon Gagne, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.  Viktor Kozlov's pretty back and forth with the puck and the shot that went past Marty Biron sealed the win.  

I had a reader wondering if it's difficult for me to give kudos to Theodore since I didn't like him when he played in Colorado and didn't want him on the Caps (not that GMGM had any choice at the time). The answer to that is no.  I want him to be successful because he's a Cap now and if he's solid the Caps have a much better chance at winning when he's in net, particularly, in front of a still developing blue-line.

The Caps still seem to make Marty Biron look like a perennial Vezina winner.  And, they certainly didn't own that game by a long shot.  The Flyers give them trouble for whatever reason and I hate that.

The highlights:
  • 1st star Jose Theodore received a standing ovation for standing on his head and blocking Sbisa Luca's shot.  He survived another intense barrage of shots in the first and survived some strong chances during the Flyers 4 power power plays. It was his best game as a Cap.
  • 2nd star Viktor Kozlov had an assist on the Backstrom goal and was money on the shootout like he frequently is.
  • The Nicklas Backstrom goal off the back of the net swing around pass by Alexander Semin 15 seconds into the power play rocked.  The Caps do better when they lead first.
  • Milan Jurcina looks so much better this season than last.  It's fun to watch him throw his body around.  Last night, I enjoyed watching his 3 hits and 2 takeaways in 21:05 while he chased people down and out muscled them.  Great game Milan.
  • Shaone Morrisonn had one of his better game this season, too.  He played angry and I liked that, particularly, when he pushed Scott Hartnell out of the crease.  He was credited with 3 hits.
  • Karl Alzner continued his smart play, except for one - see below in lowlights, clearing Flyers out of the crease.  He had 1 hit, 1 takeaway but 2 giveaways in 21:59 of play.
  • Chris Clark continue to agitate until Alex Ovechkin almost took his head off trying to hit Jeff Carter.  Ovie, geez, please don't kill your captain. 
  • The Caps are 18-1-1 at home. 
The lowlights:
  • Marty Biron stood on his head under a hailstorm of shots from the line of Eric Fehr, Chris Clark and David Steckel.  Fehr needs to pot one in and soon. 
  • I love Alex Ovechkin and feel privileged to watch him night in and night out, but he's horrible on the shootout and missed again last night.  I'm not sure why Coach Boudreau continues to put him in as a shooter.
  • Michael Nylander couldn't get a Semin rebound over the sliding defenseman Ossi Vaanenen.  Nylander, 3 giveaways, also got an untimely hooking penalty that gave Brandon Coburn the opportunity to tie the score early in the 3rd period and Karl Alzner missed his coverage on that play.
  • Jeff Schultz  played even hockey but had 3 giveaways and seemed incapable, at times, of keeping the puck in the offensive zone.  Although I did see him clear the puck out of the zone on the power play.
A rare visit to the phone booth by the Columbus Blue Jackets is set for Friday.  I'm looking forward to it, but was hoping to see Rick Nash and he's apparently day-to-day.  He kills my EA hockey team so I'd like to see him person.  

Let's go Caps!

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