Sunday, April 4, 2010

Caps 3, Jackets 2

So because I have Spring break, I was able to stay up late and watch this game (or rather, go to bed early, get up early, and go to bed again). And I was very very impressed by the Caps' play in the first period. If they play like that for 60 mins a night and if the top line gets it going, man, they will be tough to beat. Recap (by Corey!) Japers' Rink Recap Mike Vogel's Recap (Caps' website)
Tarik's recap (Game story, post-game blog) Peerless' Recap
Check out Japers' Rink Caps Clips on Sunday morning for more.

I'll try my hand at a recap for you readers...

  • Mike Green stood out to me all game. And for all the right reasons. He moved the puck extremely well. He kept pucks in the offensive zone. He cleared the puck from the defensive zone. He played some odd-man rushes against well, including twice while facing Rick Nash one-on-one. And he scored the game-winning power-play goal, his 74th point (a new career high) and his 19th goal overall. With Duncan Keith's underwhelming post-Olympic break performance, Green is steadily gaining in the Norris Trophy race as the NHL's top defenseman, and may even be the frontrunner now. From the recap:
  • Capitals defenseman Mike Green, who's been playing the best defensive hockey of his career, also scored his 19th goal of the season and set a career-high with in points with 74. Both are tops among NHL defensemen this season.

    He made a few outstanding individual defensive plays, including canceling out a potential shorthanded chance in the third period as the Blue Jackets attempted to complete a comeback.

    "He was fabulous. Mike Green was fabulous tonight not withstanding scoring the winning goal. I just thought that every time on he was a force – defensively," Boudreau said. "He's been like that for a while, but he just doesn't get the recognition that he deserves."

  • Alex Ovechkin is not helping his case for any individual trophy (except maybe the Conn Smythe). He again struggled, waiting too long to pass or shoot and only getting two shots on goal (both in the third period). He missed the net quite a bit as well. He only has four games left to make up 3 points in the Art Ross trophy race, 1 goal in the Rocket Richard race, and probably needs a few more points to get the Hart. A -2 on the night doesn't help.
  • Tomas Fleischmann shouldn't be in the playoff lineup. He was caught standing around all too often. Yes, one time that did result in a goal (the Caps' second, just after a PP had expired), but for the rest of the night he was losing the puck all too easily as he'd get out-muscled in pursuit of the puck. At the very least he won 75% of his faceoffs...yeah. Brendan Morrison is a better option at center.
  • Joe Corvo can't change his mind on how to play a 2-on-1 after he's already committed. That being said, the pass from Rick Nash to Antoine Vermette for the shorthanded goal was a beauty. Could Alex Ovechkin have intercepted though with a couple of more strides? He seems to let up just a bit too early.
  • Tom Poti needs to communicate better with his defense partner. Before, he and Joe Corvo were getting caught out of position too often. Last night, Poti and Tyler Sloan were getting caught skating around, chasing, all too often, and on the second Jackets' goal both got caught trying to go and cover Rick Nash--that slight moment Sloan was skating to Nash before he realized Poti had already gone and that he should retreat was enough time for Nash to slide a sweet pass to Vermette for a goal. It didn't help that the Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble line would get caught in the defensive zone because Poti and Sloan couldn't get control of the puck.
  • Jose Theodore was very good. He stopped Rick Nash and Derick Brassard several times each on good chances. His lower-body reflexes were really good. Seems more and more like that poor Calgary performance was an anomaly.
Some quotes and stuff:

  • RJ Umberger: bitter much, maybe that Jason Chimera, and not he, was traded to Washington?
    One member of the Blue Jackets was definitely not impressed with Washington's effort.

    "I don't think any team in the West would be overmatched by them. They play the wrong way," R.J. Umberger told the Columbus Dispatch. "They want to be moving all the time. They float around in their zone looking for breakaways and odd-man rushes.

    "A good defensive team is going to beat them. If you eliminate your turnovers and keep them off the PP, they're going to get frustrated because they're in their zone a lot."
  • The Caps set a franchise record with their 51st win and 23rd road win, and extended their franchise points record. One point gained by DC or lost by San Jose clinches the franchise's first President's Trophy.
  • The Caps' AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, set an AHL record for wins with their 58th and home wins with their 33rd. Success all around. They will also host the 2011 AHL All-star game.
  • Tomas Fleischmann hit 50 points. Alexander Semin tied a career high with 38 goals.
That's all for now.

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