Thursday, April 1, 2010

Capital Night Ends With 50th Win and 112th Point On The Season

Well it was a Two Point Night at Verizon Center tonight and maybe I am a jinx. Tonight's outing by the Capitals was a far better night of team defense against a desperate team. It was also a good hockey game to watch. Because of my back I ended up giving my tickets away and spending a good portion of the day as well as the game trying various standing, sitting and prone positions to see what ones my lower back might find pleasing. A condition that just didn't seem conducive to being part of tonight's sellout crowd at 7th and F. I'm optimistic tomorrow will be more betterer in the back department. In the meantime I do have to be concerned that I was the reason for the three game loosing streak. Oh well I'll live with it, what choice do I have?

In any case tonight's game - the good:

1) Solid Team Defense And Good Transitions Out Of the Caps Zone;

2) The Bradley - Steckel-Chimera Line; some numbers for a third line: Steckel 11 of 14/79% in faceoffs, only guys better were ... Chimera and Brads - each 1 for 1 and 100%. All three +1, All three with 1 point, Bradley with the GWG - his fourth this season - pretty "money" for a guy with 9 goals. BTW it's now official - this is Professor Bradley's best year ever for sure, I mean he and his wife have their first child, and his offensive production numbers now match or exceed his best year ever. It's always cool when nice guys do well, IMHO.

3) Brooks Laich's return and line combinations and offense in general all seemed more balanced - a coincidence - I think not.

4) The Ovechkin - Backstrom - Knuble line played solid hockey all night and the first goal of the night showed me all four of "The Young Guns" are now getting fully refocused, locked and loaded. In fact if not for some good work by Thrashers' goalie Ondrej Pavelec, Alexander Ovechkin could easily have had not one but two goals tonight.

5) Semeyon Varlamov play though not perfect and though at times he didn't look as confident as one might like was very good. His 23 stops on 24 shots for a 0.958 SV% was clearly enough to earn the win. A solid outing that should go a long way in getting the youngster engaged and confident for whatever he is called to do in the post-season.

6) Speaking of Mike Green - another great night by the one "young gun" on the blue line. A solid night all around for the Capitals ice time leader. He led the team in hits with 4, blocked 2 shots, was +1 and had an assist on the night in 24:20 TOI.

Let's be clear, this game was nothing like the first four games against the Thrashers this season. It was an entirely different style game then in the past. The way the Thashers are playing right now is much more like a team then they had been before the "big" trade with NJ. Both guys they picked up from NJ are solid pickups and make them a better team. Since it was pretty clear that Ilya Kovalchuk didn't want to re-sign, at virtually any price, if you had to say one way or the other, based on tonight's game, they did the right thing.

In the end what made tonight even better than the two points, if you are a Capitals fan, is the Caps won it. They didn't back into these two points, they played well and hard and won the game against another team that also played hard and well. It was the type of game the Caps needed to start to get ready for the post season. It was exactly the type of game we as fans needed to keep our perspective and remember just how good this team is.

Next up the Blue Jackets in Columbus on Saturday.


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