Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Caps/Thrashers Recap: Caps Downed 2-1 in OT

Capitals 1, Thrashers 2 (OT)

As far as I could tell lines and defense pairings were:



Jurcina and Erskine were scratched.

Although it was a little unclear. I'm pretty sure of the first two lines and the third was announced as the starting lineup so I compiled the fourth by process of elimination, though I didn't see Laich at center much.

Despite again outplaying their opponent for the majority of the game the Capitals fell 2-1 to the Thrashers Tuesday night at Philips Arena in Atlanta.

For all the problems the Caps have had this season they have consistently come out and been the better team in the first period and did so again against Atlanta, outshooting the Thrashers 16-6 in the opening frame. However, as has been the case all too often this year, they had nothing to show for it after the first period and went into the intermission tied 0-0. The Caps never really regained their stride after that point, beating rookie Ondrej Pavelec only once, although the didn't play poorly. The top two lines controlled the play well and produced a number of chances - more than I would have expected. The third line contained the Thrashers' top line of Kovalchuk/Holik/Hossa for the most part, the lone exception being Kovalchuk's beautiful goal. Hate to admit it but it was pretty - an inside-out move on Eminger and then top shelf over Brent Johnson's glove.

The story of the game really was penalties:

Penalty Summary
1st Period
Atlanta hooking - 2 min 2:49, P. Dupuis
Atlanta hooking - 2 min 11:28, K. Klee
Atlanta holding - 2 min 18:20, T. Enstrom

2nd Period
Washington hooking - 2 min 7:36, C. Bourque
Washington holding - 2 min 12:13, B. Pothier
Washington hooking - 2 min 14:22, B. Gordon
Washington holding - 2 min 17:41, S. Morrisonn

3rd Period
Atlanta boarding - 2 min 3:40, B. Holik
Washington hooking - 2 min 13:00, M. Nylander
Washington hooking - 2 min 18:14, M. Pettinger

OT Period

The only call on Atlanta after the first period was on an obvious hit from behind by Holik on Ovechkin. I understand that in the NHL these days it's possible to get called for a hook or hold the average person will miss, especially from the 400 level seats, so I'm not saying that most of what was called on the Caps were not penalties. But I am saying that after the first the refs missed several plays that should have been penalties for the Thrashers. It seemed pretty obvious they were making up for that first period.

I thought Chris Bourque looked pretty good. He is short, but he is definitely strong and wasn't getting pushed around by anyone and looked a pretty good skater to boot. He looked like he was playing with confidence, even playing in his first NHL game and on Ovechkin's line. Maybe it's inferring too much but he seemed to me like he was used to playing with having something to prove, which wouldn't be a shocker with him being Ray Bourque's son, a collegiate player and standing only 5'7''. At the same time he seemed to have enough faith in his skills to know that he can prove himself just by playing his game.

So the Caps pick up a point and now sit in the cellar in the Eastern Conference (yet simultaneously only five points away from the fifth spot).

Quick Hits
  • I can see why the Thrashers made Holik the captain. Not only can he hit the other team's start player from behind when he's defenseless three feet from the boards but he can also stand on top of the puck and halt play altogether as well as anyone in the business.
  • The Caps PK was 6-6; their powerplay was 1-4.
  • From missing the whole season to being on the top D pairing? How does this team feel about Eminger? And if they're going to let him play those kinds of minutes when he dresses why dress Schultz (who doesn't hit and looks lost in his own end) and Erskine (who hits, but has no offensive upside and isn't a good skater)?
  • Actually Shultz didn't look all that bad and I thought played especially well on the PK.
  • Dave Steckel played center on the second powerplay unit.
  • First Brian Sutherby gets bumped from the lineup by the emergence of Dave Steckel; now it's by a kid playing his first NHL game - Suts has got to be getting frustrated.

Obnoxious Things About Going to a Game at Philips Area:
  • The way the color of the Thrashers' jerseys seems awful similar to that of the Philips corporate logo.
  • The Thrashers opening video is eerily reminiscent of the Franz Ferdinand video for "Take Me Out". I like the band, I like the video, I like the song. But to use that and pre-Lenin Soviet propaganda style graphics in the opening video? That's supposed to get fans pumped up? It's just weird, especially for a team promoting the idea of 'BlueLand' and that on game day 'A city becomes a nation'.
  • Guy who decided to yell "Thrashers!" through a bullhorn, while on the escalator above the Philips Arena main concourse.
  • Ushers who describe your seat as being "at the top bottom up".
  • Being surrounded by 15,000 people who like Ilya Kovalchuk.
  • Redneck fans yelling stereotypical redneck things including, but not limited to, "YEEAAAAAH!!" and "WHOOOOOOO".
  • Having such things yelled at improper times (again) including, but not limited to, during the National Anthem.
  • Having to hear the phrase "GO DAWGS!!!" yelled at a hockey game.
  • Having the people behind you mimic the National Anthem singer by singing in falsetto.
  • Having the people behind you decide maybe mimicking the National Anthem is inappropriate and instead try to sing it, with little success, either in melody or words. To be fair, I'm pretty sure they were Brazilian.
  • People who decide to sit on their duffs for an entire intermission and then decide that right as the puck is being dropped is the perfect time to take pictures of themselves at the game.
  • Being seated in front of someone who yells "WHOOAAA!" every time any of the following happen: a shot is attempted, players make contact with one another, the Thrashers attempt a pass in the other team's zone.
  • Being surrounded by 15,000 people who like Eric Boulton.
  • The legitimately scary guy wearing a red (?) Thrashers jersey standing up and screaming for the the Thrashers to nail the puck carrier every time a Caps player touched the puck. Scary because it wasn't a 'get in a good hard shot and steal the puck' kind of yelling but rather a 'I'm obviously trying-to-live vicariously and get out-my pent-up rage about the fact I hate my life' way.
  • People cheering every time an opposing player goes down. Even if it's because the Thrashers tripped/held them and there's going to be a powerplay for the visiting team.
  • Drunk girl after the on the MARTA train (MARTA:Atlanta::Metro:D.C.) using her bullhorn on the train.
  • The clapping rhythm people use before the "Let's Go Thrashers!" chant. They used the same one in D.C. that we use for "Let's Go Capitals!" - dunh-dunh-duh-nuh-nuh. That's too many syllables. Thrashers has two syllables and Capitals has three (I hope you understand what I'm getting at here....). What are people supposed to chant? Let's Go Thra-aaa-shers!"?
Cool Things About Going to Hockey Game at Philips Arena

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