Monday, January 21, 2008

Resiliant Caps Win in Shootout, 6-5

Capitals 6, Penguins 5 (SO)

It took "the gimmick" to do it but at the end of the night the Capitals had won their fourth in a row and snapped a seven game losing skid against the Penguins.

It was an ugly game for the Caps, but imagine this: Your team has just had a goal waived off and to boot it's because a penalty was assessed. The other team has gone on the powerplay and scored to take the lead. Your goalie has stopped eight shots and let five get by him for the game.

Now that's a discouraging hockey scenario if ever there was one.

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Well, imagine this: Your team is battling in overtime and one of your top two defensemen is called for a phantom slashing penalty and only 53 seconds later your team is again whistled for an infraction, sending you down two men for 1:07 against a skilled team with nothing to lose.

Now that's a discouraging hockey scenario if ever there was one. And yet, as they have done ever since Bruce Boudreau took over behind the bench, the Capitals remained focused and resilient and battled back behind another four assist night from Nicklas Backstrom, another two goals from Viktor Kozlov and a two-goals, eleven-shot performance from Alexander Ovechkin.

While it's nice to pick up two, especially against the Pens, as a Caps fan you'd have to look at this game and say the Capitals were somewhat fortunate to get one point, let alone two. The red, white and blue had a lot of major miscues: far too many penalties, far too many blown coverages in their own end and far too many pucks getting by Olaf Kolzig that simply shouldn't have. But then that's the advantage of having a resilient team...and a line that will combine for three goals and eight points:

DMG's 3 Stars (1) Alexander Ovechkin - 2 goals, 1 assist, 11 shots, +1, shootout goal
(2) Nicklas Backstrom - 4 assists, +1
(3) Viktor Kozlov - 2 goals, +1


"To me, [the Capitals] are the most exciting team in the National Hockey League to watch play"
-Keith Jones

Quick Hits
  • If Ovechkin connects on his run at Evgeni Malkin it immediately becomes the front runner for hit of the year.
  • I don't know if anyone watched the Versus post-game show but Mike Green wasn't even on the list of guys who were overlooked for the all-star game. Talk about being overlooked...
  • In a 4-on-3 situation, if you're going to play one defenseman, why the hell would it be John Erskine? That's the question I was asking myself approximately two seconds before Erskine was whistled for hauling down Malkin.
  • Nice job by Tom Poti to keep his cool against Jarko Ruutu and put the Caps on the powerplay to start the second.
  • I'd still taken Donald Brashear over Jordan Staal in the event those two bodies collide again.
  • Tough night for Ty Conklin. Come of the bench cold and you stop 15 of 16 shots only to lose to a goalie who only stopped two-third of the shot against him.
  • Tough first sixty-five for Alex Semin. A great move is stopped by Ty Conklin and backhand at a wide-open net hits a Penguins' defender in front. And then there were the penalties...
  • Was anyone else shocked to see that Semin was at only 25% success in the shootout coming into this game?
Photos: AP

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