Saturday, October 24, 2009

Another Not Very Pretty Two Point Night for The Capitals ...

The Capitals escaped from the Nassau County Veterans Coliseum tonight with two points. To be fair it wasn't too ugly a game but it wasn't pretty either - kinda like the picture i posted in it's honor. There were only three things that made the game a little ugly for the Capitals:

1) Faceoffs - the Capitals only won 30% of the faceoffs and there were a lot of them - 66 to be exact with the Capitals winning 20 and loosing 46 for the evening.

2) The powerplay was again toothless going 0-4 and once again gave up a short handed goal, a goal which for a long portion of the evening looked like it would be enough to get the Islanders their first regulation win of the season.

3) The Capitals were out played a lot of the time during the game, thankfully Jose Theodore, was solid in his return to the lineup.

During the first period the Caps were out shot by the Islanders 10 - 5; though the Caps did out shoot the Isles 10-4 in the second period, it sure didn't feel that way and at the second intermission the Islanders were still leading 1-0 on Radek Marinek's first period shorthanded tally. The the Islanders went up 2-0 on a nice tip-in by Jeff Tambellini at 3:44 of the third period, after the Islanders started the third period with an energy level that seemed to be directed at dispelling their own third period let down demons this season.

The reason I say the game wasn't very pretty vice being an "ugly" win is that the Caps, though clearly oft frustrated by the defensive style of play the Islanders played tonight, played their own disciplined game and stuck to the game plan. Ultimately things started to come into focus for the Capitals. First at the 6:02 mark Mike Green scored his second goal of the season - it was a nice slap shot and a goal scorer's goal. Then at the 13:08 mark an unlikely line combo and trio combined to tie the game at 2-2 when Kieth Aucoin scored his first goal of the season on a wrap around off an Islanders' skate assisted by Alexander Ovechkin and Jeff Schultz. The game picked up considerably and both teams had a couple more chances however the goaltenders - Jose Theodre and Dwayne Roloson rose to the occassion to ensure that each team came away from the game with at least a point. Then in overtime Brooks Laich got a tip in goal off a beautiful setup from Mike Green and Shoane Morrisonn. So lots to work on given the Islanders are currently 27th in the league overall standings. But, hey what's new - the Caps go to Uniondale and need Overtime to get two points, that was the story last year as well.

Also not sure if it's just my mood tonight or what but am I the only guy around who hates listening to Locker and Kokin call a game - like tonight when they talked about everything but the game which was in play for long periods of time during the second period....Oh and big news from HNIC (Hockey Night In Canada) surprisingly Don Cherry once again called out Alexander Ovechkin - since I haven't said it lately - I think Cherry is a joke and schmuck.

Next up the Flyers, Tuesday evening at Verizon Center. To be sure the Capitals will have to raise their level of play from where it's been the past couple of games. However, the Caps are now 6-2-2 since the season opener and have won their last 4 games. That's 0.700 hockey to start the season, and with a little luck Tuesday evening will see Alexander Semin's return to the lineup, and it seems that Mike Green is finding his game, and we're starting to see at least a little secondary scoring. Now if they can just settle down in the faceoff circle and get their power play at least halfway back on track, we'll be ready for the Flyers. The Flyers beat the Panthers 5-1 in Philly tonight and there will be some controversy surrounding the Mike Richards hit on David Booth from that game; they also face the San Jose Sharks tomorrow evening at home before having a day off between that game and coming to DC to take the Caps on at Verizon Center.

One last thing to note since I recently mused on the Jose Theodore vs. Christobel Huet discussion that dates back to the summer of 2008 - Huet blanked the Nashville Predators tonight at Chicago's United Center for his first shutout of the season. Chicago fans got their first real display of why Caps fans fell in love with him and why the Blackhawks are paying him $5.625M this year. He was pretty spectacular a couple of times during the third period which I watched on NHL Center Ice.

Well until the next time I get the urge to muse...


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