Sunday, December 2, 2007

Capitals/Panthers Recap: Caps Win 2-1

Capitals 2, Panthers 1

After the Capitals 4-3 loss to Carolina I wrote that the bad luck that had been plaguing the team for more than twenty games only seemed to be getting worse and wondered when it would finally end.

As the expression goes: "It's always darkest before the dawn".

Luck finally seemed to be on the Capitals side last night, and as a result the team caught a number of breaks during the game:

  • Pothier's goal was the result of a good decision to put the puck on net, but Vokoun really should stop that shot.
  • The Capitals also caught a break on Ovechkin's goal. As talented as Ovechkin is, 95% of the time you score that kind of angle it's more luck than skill.
  • The call on Bryan Allen for holding Ovechkin was weak. Not only did he not hold him, I even thought whether there was intent to hold was questionable.
  • Olli Jokinen had his stick slashed by a Capitals player hard enough to break it, but the Capitals were not called for a penalty.
  • With about three minutes left in regulation Dave Steckel caught Rostislav Olesz with a high stick that was missed by the referees.
I don't mean to imply the Capitals managed to pick up a win when they didn't deserve to. The Caps outshot Florida 43-25 and controlled the play for the majority of the game, while Brent Johnson had a very good night between the pipes, stopping 24 of the Panthers 25 shots. It was nice to finally see the bounces and calls going the Caps way though.

The Capitals now have five days off, days they need to rest after their stretch of playing ten times in sixteen days. The team will also have the chance to fully absorb Bruce Boudreau's system. Obviously the changes he has been able to make so far have paid dividends but there's no doubt the team will welcome to chance to internalize the system more so that they don't have to think about it as much on the ice.

"We got outplayed and outhustled.
-Panthers' goalie Tomas Vokoun
"We have been the stronger team a couple of nights, but it's a matter of getting bounces. Tonight we got them."
-Brent Johnson
"It was a lucky goal. I was trying to shoot the puck to create a rebound for (Viktor) Kozlov, but it was a lucky rebound and went into the net."
-Alexander Ovechkin on his goal

DMG's 3 Stars
(1) Brent Johnson
(24 saves on 25 shots; .960 save %)
(2) Alexander Ovechkin (1 goal, 1 assist, +2)
(3) Brian Pothier (1 goal, +2)

Quick Hits
  • Man, I thought Denis Potvin was going to have a heart attack whining about how Ovechkin's cross-check on Horton should have been a major penalty. Funny how he neglected to mention it was the result of Horton shoving a Caps player in the chest after the play and how he didn't seem to have a problem with both Backstrom and Kozlov being on the receiving end of facewashes that ended being shoves to the head only minutes later.
  • Quintin Laing is winning me over fast. Four blocked shots in the first game and two crucial ones in the closing seconds tonight. In just two days I've gone from wondering who the heck this guy is to wondering why he wasn't with the team sooner. If he keeps this up he should challenge Matt Bradley for ice time.
  • For a smallish 20 year old guy who's game is built on skill Nicklas Backstrom sure isn't shy about digging around in front of the opponent's net.

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