Monday, April 5, 2010

Caps 3, Bs 2 (OT)

So got to see another game tonight (this morning?) and I was, while not terribly impressed, satisfied.

The Capitals started the first not playing too hard, but taking control, and got on the board after Bill McCreary ruled a Nicklas Backstrom shot had tricked across the goal line and, presumably, video was not conclusive enough to overturn the on-ice call. A major theme in this one though was faceoffs. As in, the Caps got killed in that regard. With under 10 seconds to go in the first, David Steckel lost a defensive-zone faceoff to Patrice Bergeron, with the end result a goal by Dennis Wideman on a one-timer from the point past Theodore.

In the second period, it was the Bruins piling it on. They had plenty of zone time against the Caps and got the lead on a goal by Patrice Bergeron. A bright spot in the 2nd was the Caps' blocking shot after shot and getting their own shots through. Towards the end of the second Washington broke through as Alex Ovechkin's backhander on a broken play hit Mike Knuble in the foot (or somewhere else) and went past Tuukka Rask.

The third was good hockey. It was solid defensively--playoff style--but towards the end broke down into a more run-and-gun type game, a style that obviously favors Washington, but neither team was able to score. In overtime, I was scared when I saw defensive liability Tomas Fleischmann starting the 4-on-4 situation, but he drew a penalty that gave the Caps a 4-on-3 power play, on which they sent out four forwards (another situation that made me nervous), but Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Alexander Semin set up a tap-in for Brooks Laich for the winner.

Some notes:

  • Faceoffs: Caps got killed. Tomas Fleischmann was at 33%, Eric Belanger 40%, David Steckel 33%. And then you have Nicklas Backstrom at 67% and both Alexes at 100%.
  • TOI distribution for Washington: Good. Tom Poti paced Washington at a little under 23 minutes, with Jeff Schultz and Joe Corvo also topping 20. No Caps forward topped 19 minutes, with Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Alex Ovechkin all going over 18 minutes. I like that, seeing as the President's Trophy is already clinched.
  • TOI distribution for Boston on defense: Hunwick @ 29mins, Wideman @ 28:39, Chara @ 26:11, Boychuk @ 22:33, McQuiad @ 9:10, Bodnarchuk @ 5:55. Way to spread it around.
  • For forwards, Krejci and Satan were the leaders for Boston, both topping 19 and Krejci over 20. And they were invisible, just like R.J. Umberger, who led Columbus in TOI in a loss to Washington on Saturday.
  • The refereeing was good and consistent, I think. Washington got called for three minors and Boston two. That being said I'm glad they missed Semin's high-stick on Chara that should have been a double-minor for drawing blood.
  • Boston was sloppy on the power-play. Sure made the Caps' PK look good.
  • Alex Ovechkin didn't score, but he looked back to his old self tonight. He had just over 18 minutes of ice time and put up two assists with a +1 rating and won his only draw to boot.
  • The scorekeepers were feeling a little too happy. I can buy the 54 hits, but 20 giveaways and 23 takeaways (combined)? At the very lease most of those takeaways, for Washington, were in the defensive zone. Good play in their own end.
  • Speaking of which, I'm surprised the Bs got to 30 shots and the Caps only got 30.
  • So the Capitals beat a likely first-round opponent who was playing with more fire, more motivation, and without Mike Green (healthy scratch) and John Carlson in the lineup. Imagine what'll happen when Bruce Boudreau doesn't dress Tyler Sloan and John Erskine in the playoffs (and by the way, on the same pairing???!!! Ouch).
  • Tuukka Rask is good, but not series-stealing good. Jose Theodore, on the other hand, is looking almost series-stealing good.
That's all for now.

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