Monday, May 11, 2009

Wow, I Guess I Can Breathe Now - Another Awesome Game, This One Ends Caps 5 - Pens 4 in OT

Wow, I Guess I Can Breathe Now -
Another Awesome Game, This One Ends Caps 5 - Pens 4 in OT

Wow! Finally, the streak of playoff overtime losses is broken. Now it's back to Verizon Center here in DC for ANOTHER game 7. Guess I better hyperventilate so I have a lot of oxygen in my system when I still holding my breath at 7 PM on Wednesday.

What can you say about tonight, it had everything though the Caps did have to dodge a bit of a bullet with a slow start again. The two goals in 29 seconds in the third period to take the lead 4-3 was pretty cool if you are a Caps fan, especially considering both goals were the result of some pretty intense play and the Caps fourth goal was Viktor Kozlov's second of the night. The Caps got solid contributions from pretty much everyone in Red, White and Blue tonight though Chris Clarke and Jay Beagle's skates barely touched the ice (each had four shifts and less than three minutes ice time). The rest of the team all contributed, Boyd Gordon didn't get the ice time he had the prior games this series skating only 18 shifts for 11:10 TOI, however he won 7 of 8 faceoffs including the critical last one in regulation. Everyone else had 20 or more shifts; the Caps also four even strength goals to the Penguins two; and by the end of the night the Caps had won 58% of the faceoffs. Four Capitals scored the five goals none of them with a last name of Ovechkin; though "The Great Eight" was clearly a factor in this game on the scoreboard he had 3 assists (2 primary and 1 secondary) was +3, and won the one faceoff he he took. Additionally, OV made 2 hits, had 5 SOG, had one attempt blocked and one missed shot. Kozlov had two goals, and was +2 on the night. Nicklas Backstrom had one point - a primary assist - and he was + 2 on the night. Alexander Semin may have played his best game of the playoffs, he had a goal on the powerplay, using his wicked fast release and deadly accurate wrist shot, a secondary assist, drew a penalty, and never lost his cool, despite several clearly frustrating situations. Mike Green played a solid game and perhaps to answer all the recent questions led the team, along with Steckel, Morrison, Jurcina, and Bradley, with four (4) hits. Dave Steckel was the Capitals Player of the Game - he scored the game winner in OT, making amends for a slashing penalty he took early in the third period, during which the Pens took a 3-2 lead. He also cleared out any "demons" from his psyche, missing the OT game winner during a scoring chance he had on Saturday evening. The other Caps goal scorer was Tomas Fleischmann who netted a power play goal to put the Caps up 2-1 in the second period.

The Caps finally found a way to win on a night when both Crosby and Malkin had solid outings and the Pens outshot them 42 - 24. The win was a result of excellent goalkeeping by Simeon Varlamov and good team play. The Penguins had a broader distribution of ice time then the Capitals did but the Caps managed to keep up, if not accelerate the pace of play on a "wet track."

No predictions or analysis right now in anticipation of Wednesday night other than to predict another great, Nail-biting game.

I can't wait - I'll be rocking the read in Section 103 - it'll be game 7 - as we all know that means anything can happen.


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