Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Caps 6, Pens 3

NHL.com recap was up quickly tonight. (You can definitely tell it's not Corey: the first half of the article is all Pens, the second all Caps. Nice organization. Then again, I'm no journalist).

This game was exciting throughout. Once again though, to the chagrin of Pittsburgh fans, the Caps turned it on in the third and took control of the game.

The Capitals played a strong first period. Alexander Semin set a new career high in goals with his 39th, taking the puck in a 2-on-2 that turned into a 2-on-1 when Penguin defenseman Alex Goligoski slipped in the neutral zone, and then Semin casually roofed a wrist shot. Beautiful, and he made it look so easy. Ovechkin hit the post on a ridiculous back-pedaling turnaround wrist shot as well.
In the second, Mike Knuble came down the right wing and let loose a slap shot that somehow snuck under Marc-Andre Fleury's pads. Sidney Crosby tied it up on a power play goal, a wrist shot from the circle past a screened Varlamov. Tomas Fleischmann answered right back as a puck caromed off a Penguin and to him in the slot, from where he buried a wrister (Dan Bylsma pulled Fleury at this point, who was visibly mad, and put in former Cap Brent Johnson). On the boards though, a scary moment, as Alexander Semin avoided most of a check but still went down and laid on the ice for a few minutes (he wouldn't miss a shift). On his next shift though, he played with less tenacity, and Jordan Leopold got a shot from the blueline through and past Varlamov as it went off of Shaone Morrisonn's skate. Late in the frame, Quintin Laing shot from the boards on the rush and Matt Bradley tipped it in 5-hole for a 4-2 lead.
Early in the third, Jordan Leopold finished off some nice passing with a goal from the slot. Later, Shaone Morrisonn drew a high-sticking penalty, and Alex Ovechkin shot off the following faceoff for his 47th goal. He'd add his 48th with 0.2 secs to go.

Some notes:

  • I didn't expect Bylsma to pull the goalie--again--with 30 seconds to go and down by two.
  • Sidney Crosby hit 57% in the faceoff department, exactly what you'd expect
  • Another rough night for Steckel in the dot: 45% only 3-7 in the neutral zone. He did, however, pick up an assist (and a +1) and played sound defensive hockey. Unfortunately, he was the only Caps forward to not register a shot on goal.
  • Jay Beagle won 7 of 10 draws, including 4 of 5 against Sidney Crosby. That'll do, Jay.
  • Rough night for Shaone Morrisonn. He was physical all night long, but also deflected one goal into his own net, committed the turnover that led to another goal, and was the only Cap in the "minus" (minus-2). John Carlson can't get back fast enough.
  • At least Joe Corvo looked solid out there. Still a little shy of going to the rougher areas, but played 20 solid minutes.
  • You could tell Evgeni Malkin was missing--Sidney Crosby skated 27+ minutes of the 60, and double-shifted on the power play.
  • John Erskine left after playing 3:52. I don't know what happened. I guess that's why King Karl was called up before the game.
  • I think a strong showing Nicklas Backstrom now goes without saying. 62% on draws, 3 assists, +2 in a little over 20 mins of work. He needs 2 points to reach 100.
  • Alex Ovechkin is back. 2 goals (fine, one plus an empty netter) to take the Richard and Ross leads (tied, but with fewer games played) and needs two goals to get to 50. He's still not the same tenacious aggressive hitter he was before, though. Saving it for the playoffs, I hope.
  • A good game from Varlamov. Can't really blame him for any of the Penguins' goals, and 26 saves on 29 shots is decent.
  • The Penguins average 4.6 minors per game. Against the Caps, that's 2 minors per game. I won't call conspiracy, but...seriously? No surprise here: Pens with 4 PPs (1 goal), the Caps 1 (1 goal).
  • I'm disappointed that Alex Ovechkin took so long to get that power-play goal. Four seconds???!!!
  • Does Eddie Olzyck have something against the Caps? In a technical error, discussing what questions Joe B could ask him, he dismissed the question on Varlamov and opted for the question about the Pens' power play. He noticed that the Caps' PPG was a result of Jordan Staal winning a draw but having it go off the linesman's skate, and thereafter didn't fail to mention it. And then he emphasized that regular season records mean zilch in the playoffs. Come on, Edzo.
  • Jeff Schultz led all players not in goal or wearing 87 in ice time with 25 minutes of 2 assist, +5 hockey. Mr. Nasty is back.
  • There was lots of rough stuff going on, especially in the second when every line change it seemed was accompanied by some minor bench scrums. 56 hits combined on the night.
  • Responsible hockey by both sides. Two giveaways, nine takeaways. I can buy that.
That's all for now. I want to go to sleep.

No comments:

Post a Comment