Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bs 4, Caps 3 (SO)

My internet decided to not work very quickly tonight, so I was forced to follow the game via the Caps' radio feed, Gamecenter (stats, not video), and by the third, Japers' Rink's Third Period Open Thread. While doing my homework too.

I guess my observations would be better with video, but what to do? Last time I can write a recap until mid-May, unless a game is on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday early afternoon.

Here we go:
  • Semyon Varlamov played himself out of alternating duties, I think. He was good, but not great. He needed to be better to really challenge Theodore, and he didn't. But this is speculation, after all. No one expected Boudreau to replace Theodore after one game last postseason too.
  • The Capitals were again force-feeding Alex Ovechkin. Too much, too. It's like he was looking to set up his teammates and pick up points, whereas they were just trying to set him up for goals. Let's stop that boys, k?
  • Congratulations to Alexander Semin on his first career 40 goal season and his 300th career point.
  • Mike Green, please don't get hurt. And Bruce Boudreau, 25+ mins for Green through three periods? Really? 9+ mins for Ovechkin in the first? Really? Spread the time around. Ovie will get 'em or he won't. Mike Knuble and Mike Green both matched AO's four shots, for what it's worth, through sixty minutes. Knuble and AO both had 5 on the game.
  • I hope Steven Stamkos and Sidney Crosby don't score later today. A three-way tie for the Richard would be pretty cool, though. (Update: Crosby scored twice, Stamkos once, to share the Richard aat 51 goals each. [omitted word])
  • Speaking of that, I think I want Montreal. Don't want the rough stuff, even if the Habs come with a higher risk of upset. (Update: Caps draw Montreal)
  • The Caps' three goals were all from in tight, in "dirty" areas. That's good.
  • Defense should have been better. Too many shots against. To the Bruins, of all teams.
  • Kudos to Jason Chimera for standing up to Tim Thomas. Like the pest we've missed in DC since Matt Cooke and may not have again until Stefan Della Rovere.
  • Mike Green, please don't get hurt.
  • Alex Ovechkin can play defense.
  • Boychuk, Wideman, Hunwick, and Thomas were the only Bruins over 20 mins (Zdeno Chara sat out). That's how to spread it around.
  • Mr. Nasty. +2. Finishes the season +50. That is all.
  • AO better at least get the Pearson or the Hart all to himself.
  • Bruce Boudreau, good job on sending out some different guys for the shootout. Boyd Gordon, Matt Bradley, and Tom Poti. King Henrik must have warned Tim Thomas about the Caps' secret weapon, #10. I applaud your decision, Coach. Now give me some more reasons to applaud you. Some more trophies would be nice.
And the end of the day, it was a meaningless game for both teams. The Caps pressed, and it backfired. But that doesn't matter. The best regular season in franchise history. 54-15-13 for 120 points, crushing their franchise record from last season (108 points). 1st in the division by (wait, I can't count that high!). That's the fourth SE division title, I believe. 1st in the Eastern Conference for the first time, by 19 points (pending New Jersey and Buffalo playing later). 1st in the entire NHL (President's Trophy) by 7 points. 318 goals, almost 50 more than the next best team. A goal differential of +85, better than a goal per game. A 14 game winning streak. A power play over 25%. 30-5-6 at home, tying a franchise record for home wins. 24-10-7 on the road, a franchise best. Alex Ovechkin with 50 goals and 100 points again, even with missing 10 games. Nicklas Backstrom with his first 100 point season, and finally reaching 50% in the faceoff circle (well, 49.9%, but that's close enough). Alexander Semin with 40 goals. Mike Green, over 75 points and again all four Young Guns over a point-per-game. Mike Green became a better defenseman. The emergence of John Carlson. The return of Jose Theodore as a reliable goalie, with a still-active streak of 25 games without a regulation loss. 15 players with 10 or more points (16 with Pothier, and swap him with Corvo). 7 20-goal scorers. Jeff Schultz emerging as a premier defensive defenseman. Possibly the top-5 players in +/-. Career seasons for Brooks Laich, Tomas Fleischmann, and Eric Fehr offensively. Only Tyler Sloan was a minus among players with more than 10 games. Four players with 10 or more power play goals. Sweeping Atlanta, Florida, and Pittsburgh.

Check out the work by Japers' Rink commenter iwearstripes here. A z-score of over 3.5.

And we should savor this historic season while we have it. You have 3 days and the offseason. Starting mid-week, back to work for us fans. And for the players, back to work tomorrow.

Here's to 70 total wins this season.

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