Last night the Capitals met the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, Florida and came away with a convincing 2 point win against a Southeast Division foe. Congratulations, boys, job well done. Of course you all just need to turn around and do the same thing tonight back here in DC. Will tonight's game be deja vu all over again? Well, probably night but before we get to that and why let's celebrate the good and recap last night's two point win.
What went right, well a lot of things the two biggest wre and are obvious: 1) Jose Theodore had a great night and was on his game, he also got help from his defense the couple of times he needed it; 2) the Caps as a whole figured out Tomas Vokoun and the Floridsa netminder didn't get that much help, if any, from his blue liners when he needed it. The game summary report makes this pretty clear. Key statistics: Goalie matchup results: Theodore's SV% on the night: 0.966 (28 of 29), Vokoun's SV% 0.840 (21 of 25). Capitals shooting percentage on the night: 16.0% (4 of 25): goal scorers: Brendan Morrison (2 goals, 1 of which was an empty netter); Brian Pothier (1); and Tyler Sloan (1). The Caps figured out the key to beating Vokoun is an interesting mix of combining their speed with some patience - patience to take the space the Panthers gave them while still shooting quickly and making the Florida netminder, who IMO is one of the league's best, move. I've been down on Capital's Captain Chirs Clark alot this year, but his primary assist on Tyler Sloan's goal, the first of the evening and Sloan's second of the season, was truly a thing of beauty. I could watch that play at least 50 or 100 times before I got tired of it - it truly looks like Clark is running a clinic as he turns and makes the perfect pass right on to the tape of Sloan's stick. Brendan Morrison's first goal of the night was another good one, scored because of a great combinations: work, grit, and skill. Pothier's goal was a one-timer that you could also watch repeatedly, both the set-up passes from Fleischmann to Backstrom, and even more so from Backstrom to Pothier. The shot by Brian Pothier for his first goal of the season was "Ovechkin-esque" in that he got everything on it. The fact it came on a power play while both Ovie and Mike Green were out made it even sweeter. The not so great were the fact the Capitals three (actually two and a misconduct) came in the third period, fortunately during the five minute boarding major to Shoane (vice the NHLN mispronunciation "Shane") Morrisonn, the Caps responded and limited the Panthers to just one shot on goal. Why Florida waited until after that penalty was over to pull Vokoun at the 18:47 mark of the period, I'll probably wonder for sometime, but I'd rather be lucky than good most of the time. In any case the game was then iced when Brendan Morrison got his sixth (6) goal of the season on an empty netter that he had to work for. One other item of note is the statistics sheet will show that Alexander Semin had a relatively uneventful nigh 19:14 TOI, 1 SOG, 2 A/B, 2 MS and 1 TK. What it doesn't show is he spent most of those 19:14 with multiple Panthers on him whenever he was near the play, never got frustrated and tried to find both solid passing lanes and shooting lanes that's why he had no giveaways, 0 PIM, and only 5 shot attempts. In other words he played very solid and smart hockey. I'm predicting that tonight he does the same but watches some tape today and figures out how to put the biscuit in the basket at least once if not twice tonight.
Predictions are hard because we don't really know who will man the blueline tonight, I'll write more about what I thought and think of the Shoane Morrisonn penalty call and alleged possible suspension after I see if he is indeed suspended as Coach Boudreau mentioned was a possibility. In any case just because something is hard doesn't mean I won't do it - my predictions for today/tonight:
1) Final score Caps 4 - Panthers 2;
2) Semin has at least a two point night;
3) Backstrom has at least a two point night;
4) Knuble scores a goal;
5) Somebody we don't expect, probably Erskine scores a goal;
and 6) Shoane Morrisonn is indeed, wrongly, suspended for two games... more on that later...
I'll be watching from the comfort of my den here in Bristow -
LETS GO CAPS!!!