Sunday, January 13, 2008

Caps Fall to 1-1 on Homestand

Capitals 4, Flyers 6

As has happened far too regularly this season, the Capitals were felled by questionable defensive play and sub-par goaltending and as a result lost a game where they should have had one point and could have had two. The Flyers, playing for the second time in two days and third time in four days, should have been outgunned by the Capitals (who were playing their only game in a seven day stretch), and if they game had stayed close they probably would have been. But by allowing Philadelphia to get out to a three goal lead and hence play a more conservative style the Capitals diminished their ability to use each team's scheduling situation to their advantage.

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Where does the blame fall? I think jointly on the shoulders of the defense corps and Olaf Kolzig. While Olie had a bad game, I don't think it's by any means inexcusable - he's 37 years old and was playing his 11th straight because of Brent Johnson's injury. Still, Olie should have done a better job controlling rebounds and staying with the puck (not surprisingly Olie's lack of lateral movement played a role as well).

The defense corps was especially poor at clearing the front of the net during during yesterday's game and a lot of it has to do with mobility. With Milan Jurcina, Jeff Schultz and John Erskine all in the lineup the Capitals' defense is simply too slow to not get caught out of position on a regular basis. The numbers tell the story as well: Mike Green and Shaone Morrisonn were paired together and were each a +2; all the other Capitals defensemen were worse.

The loss puts the Capitals in a tough spot. The team was hoping to get eight points or more on their current homestand and this loss puts them at 1-1 after two, so to meet their goal the Caps would have to win their remaining three games. It might sound like a tall order but: the Capitals haven't lost two in a row under Bruce Boudreau, face Ottawa (a team they've beaten all three times the two teams have met this season) next and then face Florida and Edmonton. In other words, if the Capitals can build off this loss and come out strong on Tuesday against the Senators they still have a very good chance of picking up their desired eight points.

Quick Hits

  • Tom Poti was -3 in this return to the lineup - perhaps he wasn't ready?
  • The Capitals has 32 shots on goals and 40 shots that were either blocked or missed the net (19 blocked; 21 misses). For comparison, the Flyers had 32 on net and 19 blocked or miss the net (11 blocked, 8 misses).
  • Boyd Gordon blocked three shots; Quintin Laing only one.
  • Milan Jurcina had zero hits - not acceptable for a 6'4'', 235 pound, poor-skating defenseman.
  • Daniel Briere was -2, had one shot and no points and lost 11 of his 13 faceoffs.

1 comment:

Dan, Jr. said...

Kolzig is starting to show his age. Usually does a great job. But, you're right. Sometimes he doesn't move laterally as quickly as he used to. Mind you, if the defence closed the passing lanes better, he wouldn't have to worry about that aspect so much. Meanwhile, the Caps seem to try to pass too much sometimes. They also don't seem to win very many games when they get so much time off.