Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A satisfying 6-3 win in Pittsburgh follows an ugly loss

After an utter debacle of a game in the form of a 5-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers, the Washington Capitals come back to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in Mellon Arena stopping a 3-game losing game.  The only person worth talking about during the Edmonton game was John Erskine who looked highly motivated to be back in the game after missing six weeks due to a concussion. He played even hockey and was credited with 7 hits...and I was worried he might be tentative.  The rest of the team played lackluster hockey and forgot the lesson "crash the net" instead of broadcasting your goals to the goalie before you shoot them from 20 feet out.

The Pittsburgh game was a refreshing change of pace from what the Caps have shown on the ice during this losing streak.  But, I have to go on a mini tangent before talking about the highlights and the lowlights.  Can the media please stop blowing Alexander Semin's comments about Sydney Crosby completely out of context?  Why is it so hard to realize it's Crosby's style of play that Semin doesn't care for as he described liking how Patrick Kane played instead?  The only thing the media coverage accomplished was to have the Pittsburgh fan's boo Semin every time he got the puck so he played harder.  Maybe I should thank the media because I'm a Caps fan, but I'm really tired of this over sensationalism of any news story.

The highlights:
  • They beat Pittsburgh at Mellon Arena.  That's always a highlight.
  • Alex Ovechkin broke his 4 game scoring drought in stellar fashion getting 2 goals and 1 assist.  He jawed early and often with Evgeni Malkin and Sydney Crosby delivering some good hits and also getting hit by Malkin.  Ovie caused Malkin to get an offsides late in the 3rd period.  He also caused Matt Cooke to go off for a retaliation penalty after he pushed Ovie for hitting Crosby against the boards with a clean hit. Ovie gets booed every time he touches the puck in Pittsburgh and I think it fires him up.  He got the first star of the game.
  • The Pittsburgh fans also booed Alexander Semin every time he touched the puck so he played with fire, too.  His goal, a beauty set up by a pass across the front of the net from Sergei Fedorov, went in on the right side of the net past Marc Andre-Fleury.
  • 2nd star of the game went to Nicklas Backstrom who got 3 assists.
  • Tomas Fleischmann netted his 15th goal in an Ovechkin-esque way sliding on his stomach and poking the puck into goal with his stick.  
The lowlights:
  • The Caps power play, 2 for 6, last night looks pathetic a lot lately.  They can't keep the puck in the offensive zone.
  • Odd man rushes - they had way too many of them last night and are lucky Pittsburgh players didn't convert on them more often.
The Caps play the dominating Boston Bruins on Saturday.  Caps did beat them in December which means the Bruins will be stoked to play a good game.

Let's go Caps!

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