Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sorry Caps It's All My Fault; Lightning 1 - Caps 0 (OT)

So tonight was a one (1) point night for the Washington Capitals and in retrospect it's probably all my fault they didn't get two points. You see being superstitious, they won the last two games I've been to those being the 3-0 victory over Montreal and the 3-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Winter Classic. So I should have kept everything the same, but noooooo, I couldn't leave well enough alone. You see for the last two games I wore my brand new shiny John Carlson, Winter Classic Sweater, but tonight thinking that I should return to my "Rock The Red" Federov Red Sweater, that's what I wore to the game. What I failed to realize was that at some point early in December, that d@m* Federov Sweater had become evil, yep downright evil, so evil that it angers the hockey gods. In fact the hockey gods were so angry tonight that after looking down and bestowing three (3) goals on the Capitals in each of their last two games, those same hockey gods looked down and "smote" the Capitals on three occasions making pucks miss relatively empty nets on the three occasions during regulation play where Dwayne Roloson cracked the door open for the Capitals.

So the game ended a 0-0 tie in regulation. Both Washington and Tampa Bay come into the game with an average goals for per game of 3+ with rosters that boast some of the best scoring forwards in the league and at the end of regulation we have a 0-0 goaltender's battle in process. Not at all what I expected to be watching at Verizon Center tonight. But you know it was a very good game to watch. The Capitals have been playing some good defensive hockey of late in fact in their last 7 games they are while they have gone 5-0-2 they have allowed just 11 goals against (an average of 1.57) while scoring 19 goals (an average of 2.71). the problem is that other than the 5-1 victory over the New jersey Devils, they have not scored more than 3 goals in any of those seven games, and the biggest reason for the drop of in production seems to me to be the power play. In those seven games the Capitals have scored just 3 power play goals despite having 54:47 of power play time on 32 power plays during that span - that's a power play that is just 9.375% effective as opposed to their usual 25% since Bruce Boudreau took over behind the bench. Had they scored an average of 25% on the man advantage they would have scored 5 more goals and their average GF/G would be 3.43. While that might sound like a lot the reality is the games would have all likely been much more comfortable wins, including the two overtime losses. Do I think the answer is to "blow up the power play" as I've started to hear some folks discuss - not but I do think that some adjustments and changes need to be made. The Caps need "more" on the power play. More shots on goal, more traffic in front of the net, and more of a sense urgency to start with.

The penalty killing units were great tonight and have been over the last seven games as has the defense, the 5 on 5 scoring could ratchet it up a little but if the power play could only get back on track a huge portion of the current issues would be over come.

Congratulations to 41 year old Dwayne Roloson who got his 26th NHL shutout tonight; the man gets a shutout before he's even able to get his mask repainted after being traded earlier this week to Tampa Bay by the Islanders.

Well next up is the Florida Panthers here in DC on Saturday Evening.


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