Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A 1 Point Night - Caps Come Up "Just Short" In Ottawa

Well first the good news, any time you get points, or even one point on the road is good news. The second is the Caps played pretty solid hockey for the entire first period, didn't take cheap penalties and even though they were out shot, the defense, especially Goalie Brent Johnson held. At the end of the first period the score was tied 0 - 0. Also the statistics show that the Caps time on ice for this game was much more close to the types of line and defense pairing distribution that was much closer to the ice times the Caps played down the stretch last season.

As for my predictions well - not so good. Johnnie had a save percentage of 0.955; however Alex Auld had a save percentage of 0.963. While not making my prediction totally incorrect, surely my sense was that a 0.955 save percentage would have/should have been good enough for a two point night. Also even though the Caps out hit the Sens 27-20, and won 54% of the 63 faceoffs, unfortunately the Senators out shot the Caps 44 - 27. The Caps got solid play out of the "second" line once again; Alexander Semin and Thomas Fleischmann were beasts and Michael Nylander was an excellent pivot for them. Ovechkin had a solid night as did Nicklas Backstrom, however Vicktor Kozlov still didn't look entirely on his game and by the second half of the third period it looked like Coach Boudreau was trying to find a different right wing to fill out the first line. Despite being on the ice for the goal by Thomas Fleischmann that tied the game up Jarkko Ruutu had a solid outing with 13:07 of TOI on 14 shifts and had 2 hits, 2 takeaways and 1 giveaway. Rookie defenseman Nick Foligino played 14 shifts as well and had 12:09 of TOI and was solid taking 2 shot and giving out 2 hits. Segei Federov had an up and down night. Federov took the previously mentioned double minor and gave up the puck to Alfredsson on the play that led to Heatley's goal in regulation; however he was also otherwise very solid and during the last 5 minutes of regulation was the catalyst for the plays that resulted in the two solid scoring chances where the only thing that kept Ovechkin and Semin from scoring the game winner was great saves by Alex Auld. So as far as prognostications, my musings were pretty close to the mark but could have never foreseen just how solid a game that Alex Auld was going to have.
The Senator's owed their victory to Alex Auld who made 3 really big saves that "robbed" Alexander Semin twice in Regulation and Alexander Ovechkin once; and to Mike Fisher whose primary assist on the Heatley goal was a beautiful outlet pass and whose finishing shot after the feed from Daniel Alfredsson in overtime was basically unstoppable. The other thing that didn't happen that needed to happen for the Caps to win was that the Caps failed to shut down Alfredsson and Heatley. Heatley scored the Senators first goal during regulation, a play on which Alfie started and had a secondary assist. Alfredsson also had the primary assist on Mike Fisher's game winner. The aspect of the game the Caps failed to control was the penalties. Yes, they were much better than prior games but they still took five minor penalties, including a double minor on Sergei Federov that he surely regretted, to one minor penalty by the Senators. Fortunately the penalty kill was perfect however, the one Senators goal in regulation came from a breakaway by Dany Heatley after he got a great feed from Mike Fisher right after he exited the penalty box and crashed the net.

Next up, the Carolina Hurricanes who blew a three point lead before finally beating the Maple Leafs in overtime on Thursday Night at the Phone Booth. I'll be there Rockin' the Red in Section 103, I had hoped to have "my usual/best wingman" with me but that might not be the case so we'll see who comes with me.

LETS GO CAPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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