Thursday, January 01, 2009

Caps win a sloppy 7-4 game against Lightning

The Caps played a sloppy game last night and came away with 2 points against the Tampa Bay Lightning.  Brent Johnson, in net for the Caps, probably wishes he had 1 or 2 of those goals back and I can guarantee you that Mike Smith, the Lightning's goalie, wishes he had several of the Caps goals back, particularly, the one where he was out of the net and Boyd Gordon took advantage of the puck that landed on his stick right in front of the empty net.

The highlights:
  • The Caps got seven goals from seven different players.  That's some nice secondary scoring by the 3rd and 4th line players and the defense.
  • Sean Collins played a stint in the ECHL last year and last night he potted his first NHL goal on a pass from Alex Ovechkin.  It dribbled past Mike Smith.
  • David Steckel got the 2nd goal of the first period off a beautiful pass from Matt Bradley.  The puck landed perfectly on his stick and he shoved into the net.  Bradley was awarded the first star of the game for an overall inspired performance.  Brads scored the 4th goal in the second period.
  • Boyd Gordon is playing great hockey.  His between the legs pass back to Bradley made the 4th goal happen.  And, he also quickly capitalized on Mike Smith's mistake to get the 5th goal of the game in the 3rd period.
  • Chris Clark appears to be back in good form. He's such an agitator out there and he finally scored for the first time since November 2007.  Clarkie got the 2nd star of the game.
  • Mike Green, in addition to, getting his 9th goal of the season from a perfectly placed pass by Ovie, played good defense last night.  He played +2 hockey although he did have 5 giveaways.  Ouch.  Regardless, he stopped a Steve Stamkos goal and twice made great plays knocking pucks off Lightning sticks on players streaking towards Johnson.  The second time was against Adam Hall and the refs awarded him a penalty shot on a bogus call.  Luckily, Johnson made the save.
  • Alex Ovechkin got the 7th goal of the game by using Steve Eminger as a screen.  He had two assists and one goal for the night.
The lowlights:
  • Alex Ovechkin's hit on Jamie Heward had him out motionless on the ice for several minutes.  Apparently, Heward has a concussion and is going to be okay.  I like Heward. After viewing the hit several times, it appears to be an unfortunate accident where Jamie was in an awkward position with his head down when Ovie hit him.  Of course, there are hockey fans all over the place looking for Ovie to be suspended, but I hope that doesn't happen.  The Lightning didn't retaliate against Ovie so they didn't think that hit was that bad either.  
  • After going up 3-0 in the first, the Caps, once again, played a bad second period. The Lightning scored 2 goals within the first 2:37 of the second period.  On the second one, Michael Nylander spun around and lost the puck.  Ryan Malone capitalized on that one.  
  • Apparently, Brent Johnson thought icing was being called and Sean Collins let up on the play that ended with Vincent LeCavalier getting the 3rd Lightning goal from Vaclav Propsal to end the second period at 4-3.  
  • The Caps still need to play with intensity for 60 minutes, but I'm happy with the two points and the 10 wins in 11 games.
The New York Rangers visit the phone booth tomorrow night and I'm looking forward to going to that game. They'll be ready for revenge after the Caps beat them 5-4 at Madison Square Garden. Caps are 4 points ahead of the Rangers in the Eastern conference.  Let's make it 6 points.

Let's go Caps!

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