Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Caps 4 - Bruins 1, for Eleventh Win In Row, But It's Not June Yet...

It was another two point night for the Capitals at TD Garden in Boston tonight. The Caps came out slow and got some big saves from goaltender Jose Theodore, who continued to play very well throughout the evening. Over the course of the game Theo stopped 41 of 42 shots he faced (SV% = 0.976), including stopping a penalty shot and the requisite number of truly amazing saves required to earn the first star of the evening. Tom Poti had two primary assists, was +4, and had 21:11 TOI on 24 shifts including anchoring a penalty killing unit for 6:28 for the second star of the game. The game's third star went to David Kreji of the Bruins who scored their only goal and drew a penalty shot which was stopped by Theodore in the second period.

Boston played a solid game but throughout the first period Jose Theodore kept the Caps in it, limiting Boston's excellent power play unit to just one goal despite giving them four chances on the power play. BTW - Alexander Semin, you continue to be one of my favorite Caps and I love to watch you skate, shot, pass and score. The assist on Brooks Laich's goal in the third period - the one that ended up being the game winner - that I could enjoy watching over and over. The three minor penalties you took during this game....meh, not so much. This game ended up being a team effort in the second and third period though. The Caps scored four unanswered goals, four goals by four different players. Eight different Caps skaters had a hand in those goals as well. In response to a power play goal by Bruins Center David Kreji at 6:58 of the first period the Caps answered with one goal in the second period and three in the third. The Caps goals were scored by: Mike Knuble, Brooks Laich, Boyd Gordon and an empty netter by Alexander Ovechkin.

However, this game wasn't an easy one. In fact, Boston took it to the Caps in several areas all night long. Boston won 53% of the 77 face offs; the Bruins also out shot the Caps 42 to 26, and out hit the Caps 23 - 19. After a sluggish first period, the Caps came out for the second period with more starch in their shirts and tied the game up while Theo continued to duel and keep pace with Tim Thomas. Then in the third period, the Caps came out and seem determined to close the game out, which they did starting with getting the "go-ahead" goal from Brooks "if you want goals go to the net" Laich at the 5:04 mark of the third stanza. Laich's tally was followed shortly thereafter, in fact 2:47 later, by Boyd Gordon's "insurance goal" to give the Caps a two goal lead. The Caps held that two goal lead until the 19:28 mark of the period when, with Tim Thomas on the bench, Alex Ovechkin brought the puck past center ice and put a backhander into the empty net from the Bruins' side of the neutral zone. Ovechkin's empty netter was his 36th goal of the season and leaves him one goal behind both Sidney Crosby and Patrick Marleau in the Rocket Richard race, and one point behind Henrik Sedin with 77 points for the overall scoring lead.

One could easily continue with well deserved superlatives for the overall team and the various individuals on the Capitals team. However, it's only February 2nd and in the end this was just another in Conference 2 point regular season win. So while we Caps fans and the Caps should savor "the streak," we all should keep in mind there's at least 26 more regular season games and 16 playoff games to be played and won before this season's ultimate goal is obtained. I don't want to be a killjoy or naysayer, because I believe, but there's still a lot of ice hockey to be played. And, the reason they make you play the games, is ... anything can happen. Now, I hope everybody steps back and celebrates winning a franchise record 11 games in a row. Then, tomorrow, everybody laces up their skates, has a good practice and focuses on the next game & opponent - the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden on Thursday. So, Congratulations guys and ...


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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