Sunday, January 17, 2010

Caps 5 - Flyers 3; A Two Point Afternoon At Verizon Center

This afternoon's Caps-Flyers regular season finale at Verizon Center was an exciting game to watch for sure. The Caps played a full sixty minutes of hockey and it's a good thing they didn't let up because the Flyers came with their A game and played it for all sixty minutes as well.

Lot's of highlights and favorite things about this game but here's my top ten:

1) Brooks Laich had his best game in a couple of months this afternoon. He had two goals and an assist for three points. Laich's first goal of the game at even strength tied the game at 2-2, was a nice, gritty goal from a guy going hard to the net and enabled the Caps to go into the first intermission with the game tied 2-2. Then on the Caps second power play chance of the day, Laich fed the puck to Alexander Semin who had the net wide open and buried his 20th goal of the season at the 7:05 mark of the second period. Those two plays were great but the best was yet to come. At the 4:56 mark of the third period, with the Caps a man down because of a weak roughing call on Tyler Sloan, Laich got in between the Flyers power play team and ended up with a one on one breakaway, solid control of the puck and a step on the defender. Brooks then proceeded to "deke the pants off" Flyers' goaltender Ray Emery for his second goal of the day and 13th goal of the season - unassisted to put the Caps up by a score of 4 -2.

2) Jose Theodore was very, very, very good. He stopped 30 of 33 shots, a Save % of 0.909 and came up with the big ones when he had to do so in order to keep the Capitals in the game. Two of the three goals against him were on the power play and were great plays by the Flyers, and James Van Riemsdyk's even strength goal came off a rebound when both Jeff Schultz and Mike Green also misplayed and were in the wrong place, enabling Van Riemsdyk to get his 11th goal of the season.

3) Alexander Ovechkin - what can you say, sweet penalty shot goal, eh? Ovie had a goal on a even stregnth penalty shot in regulation. He got that goal after getting an assist on the first Caps goal of the game by Mike Knuble, which also was scored at even strength for another two point night by the great eight.

4) Alexander Semin played an excellent game. The only goals Semin was on the ice for today were scroed by the Capitals. He scored a goal on the power play, he got an assist on Brooks Laich's even strength tally and he was on the penalty kill when Laich scored his "shortie." In addition to his two points, Sasha also was +2 for the afternoon.

It was a day of goal milestones that were divisible by 10 for both Alex'es - #30 for Ovie and #20 for Semin.

5) Mike Green had a very good game as well. He led the Caps in ice time with 24:50 TOI, went +/- even, had 1 SOG, 2 hits, 2 takeaways and 2 blocked shots. Additionally he had 3 shot attempts blocked, one a blistering slap shot by Kimmo Timonem that #44 probably wishes he let Ray Emery handle. Most impressive was that in an afternoon when #52 found himself in the company of Chris Pronger and Timonem, "Game Over" was the best all around defenseman in the game.

6)Actually a "low light" but noteworthy nonetheless, horrible officiating - Referee Kelly Sutherland's roughing minor call on Shoane Morrisonn at the 6:08 mark of the third period was about as bogus and unnecessary call, and as large an example of inconsistent officiating, as they come. Sure you might and I emphasize might be able to make a case the prior roughing call on Tyler Sloan at the 3:36 mark was marginally warranted, but the call on Sha-Mo was the result of such incompetent and inconsistent officiating, it was laughable.

7) Actually another low light that is notable. I really hate the way Scott Hartnell plays the game and not just because he doesn't play for the Caps. I hate him because I feel he should be called about 20,000 times more than he is for goaltender interference. I'm probably wrong since he doesn't get a bunch of those call against him, but hey that's my view. Anyway, Hartnell plays on the edge all the time and he's a lot more offensive (no pun intended) to me as a "pest" who crosses the line into a "dirty" player a lot more often than Sean Avery or really anybody else in the league to me. I can't, actually won't, recap all the times i thought Hartnell should have been in the box, it'll just frustrate me ... again. I just hope that the next time Hartnell plays the way he played this afternoon, he gets flattened a few times by solid rock, legal hits.

8) John Carlson - this kid is going to be good. He had 19 shifts and 15:52 TOI and was +2 today. What's notable was he never looked like a "rookie" defenseman today - at least that I noticed.

9) Shoane Morrisonn had a solid afternoon. His "statline": +2, 1 minor penalty taken - a bogus call from my seat, 1 attempt blocked, 3 hits, 1 giveaway, 2 blocked shots.

10) Mike Knuble had another excellent game, he scored the first Caps goal of the day, crashing the net, was +1 and was a thorn in the Flyers collective sides every second of his 14:25 TOI.

Well that's my notables from today's game. Next up the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday evening here at Verizon Center, I'll be Rockin' the Red in Section 103 with Rob - one of my college friends.


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