Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Okay - That Was Painful and Confusing...Caps Drop One To Hurricanes 5 - 2

So in the spirit of this blog it was a no point night. Well actually since where it counted the Caps lost in regulation and the New Jersey Devils won despite Vesa Toskala trying to help we Caps fans with a 50 save effort, tonight was actually a "negative 2 point night." The Caps now trail the Devils by two points, and the Devil have a game in hand on the Capitals. However, unless the Capitals turn things around quickly, that's not even worth talking about. Tonight's game was truly painful to watch, the crowd was light, lighter than it has been for some time. The atmosphere was horribly reminiscent of games BB..."Before Boudreau" - subdued and listless. I'm pretty sure that started with the Caps and bled over to the crowd, which was announced as 17, 903 but there seemed to be more than 900 empty seats. To be clear, this was the first game I've been to since Christmas where there were any empty seats in Section 103 where I sit.

So I'm worried - Tom Poti was pulled from warm-ups - reportedly because he aggravated a groin injury. On nights like this - when the Caps start out shaky and take more than three penalties, the Caps really need Poti. That said, had they played even adequately in front of Michal Neuvirth, this would have been a different game. The Caps gave the 'Canes two short handed goals and a penalty shot goal. The young netminder was "hung out to dry" on several of the Hurricane goals.

I'll start with the good...the following Caps had okay to good games:

Alexander Semin, despite being on the ice for three of the five Hurricanes goals including the second "shortie." - Yes I said second, Semin was also involved in both Caps goals, the first he scored on the power play from his knees and the second, he set up Sergei Federov on an excellent effort. Semin had 3 takeaways but also countered that with 4 giveaways. Perhaps most notable though and why I'm saying he had at least an okay game is he played like he wanted to be there and didn't look sluggish anytime he was on the ice.

Sergei Federov, once again the "old man of the Capitals" spent time both on the forward lines and the blue line in attempts to get the Caps offense "moving." Feds was also on the ice for three of the Hurricanes five goals, including both shorties, but again was on the ice and involved in both Caps goals - he had a goal and secondary assist. He also logged 17:22 TOI, was 47% (9 of 19) in he faceoff circle, 2 hits, 2 takeaways and NO giveaways. Federov was another guy he played all three periods tonight and like Semin that's in part why I'm citing his play as relatively good.

David Steckel, the Ohio State Buckeye was 67% (10 of 15) in the faceoff circle, 3 hits, 5 shots, 1 giveaway but 2 takeaways. Keep it up Dave, sooner or later two or three of those five shots will go in. Thanks for the effort, even during those long twenty minutes when the Caps were down 5-1 and 5-2.

Alexander Ovechkin, while not his best night - those are four goal nights as we all know, Ovechkin spent most of the night wearing a "Joe Corvo" sweater and still managed an assist, 6 shots and 2 hits. He did have 2 giveaways and he was victimized by Matt Cullen's "allie-oop" on Carolina's first shortie. How often do you see Ovechkin on the short end of a highlight reel move - not often that's for sure. So again not his best night, but Ovie on a slow night is still at least "okay."

That's about all I can say without stretching it on the good. The bad, well there's a lot of that to go around, it's in two categories: team "efforts" and individual "accomplishments". In the team efforts category let's start with the ugliest item of them all.

Forty (40) turnovers - twenty eight (28) giveaways by the Caps and victims of twelve (12) takeaways by the Hurricanes.

Next has to be yielding two (2) short handed goals in a single game, if not for a Neuvirth save or two on shorthanded attacks it could have easily been three shorthanded goals.

In the "individual accomplishment" category there's a couple - as you might guess from a game like this.

Peerless' perspective is that Mike Green had a horrible game, he was -3 and on the ice for the 4 goals by the Hurricanes he could be on the ice for. To be sure it wasn't "Game Over's" best outing by a long shot.

That said, from my vantage point is Section 103 it was another totally horrible night (the second in a row) on the blue line by Jeff Schultz. There was a shift in the second period where Schultz got victimized by three different Hurricanes but somehow Michal Neuvirth came up with the needed saves, despite being screened by the 6'6" Schultz twice. I mean comon' if you're going to be a big guy who doesn't hit anybody much at least try to tie them up some other way when they are in the low slot.

One of the best shifts of the night was from Chad LaRose of the Hurricanes on the shift in the second period when he scored. That said it was because somehow after he had made two hits and generated lots of havoc in the Cps zone that apparently Shoanne Morrisonn felt LaRose must be too tired to require any sort of defense on his part and let LaRose just come in and get the puck and put it into the net.

Anyway, the game was no fun to watch if you were a Caps fan. Hopefully, we'll all get out of this funk both fans and Caps and by Thursday's game against the Maple Leafs we'll all have a better day.


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