Friday, October 8, 2010

Recap: Capitals 2 @ Thrashers 4

I started watching the game at the beginning of the first period. I put thoughts below in chronological order after the short recap. Goals and other plays I think are important are in bold.

The white-clad team that took the ice tonight at Philips Arena in Atlanta was a not-terribly-inspired Capitals team that lost to an opponent it shouldn't have lost to. Quite frankly, I expected this--either they come out strong or flat in this game, and clearly it was the latter. No Capital showed much speed (where were you, Jason Chimera?) or skill. To be fair, Atlanta laid back a bit, Montreal style, to take away the rush, but were creating scoring chances as well. Both teams were playing conservative hockey, and playing that style, while I think is best for the future, is not the style that will win the Capitals 54 games this season, especially since Michal Neuvirth will be hard pressed to have a better performance than he had in the earlier stages of this game.

Man of the match: Evander Kane, with 2 goals on 7 shots in 18:24 TOI. He was creating opportunities left, right, and center, and really was the only player in the game that stood out to me offensively.

First Period

0:00 Hockey's back! Unfortunately, I got the Thrashers' feed from Atdhe. I hope our Slingbox starts working soon.

2:25 My internet isn't giving me good video, but audio is there at least. I wonder what happened to Pavelec? I hope he's...alive, quite frankly. And...flash player keeps crashing.
Okay, channelsurfing has the same feed, but this one isn't having issues. Cool.
Looks like Chris Mason is in net. I would've thought he'd start, but looks like he's playing most of the game either way.
The Thrashers' mascot is uglier than Slapshot.
Pavelec in an ambulance? Ouch.
Spoke too soon on internet.

3:18 Pretty goal from Laich, helpers Flash and the rush and ric-tac-toe passing, of course. I caught the replay from a CSN feed.

5:32 Steckel lost Peverley in front, great save by Neuvirth moving side-to-side.

7:08 One standing out for the Capitals so far. I guess they're playing under control, which, quite frankly, I prefer. Save the high-octane play for April, May, and June.

7:45 The Capitals may have a more aggressive PK, but the ES defense could use a bit more aggressiveness as well. It doesn't look good so far--Atlanta is cycling too easily at times. At least they're covering the passing lanes.

7:57 weak backhand pass by Fleischmann as the Capitals are trying to exit the zone. Evander Kane picks it right up, dances around Flash, finds space in the slot, puts it past Neuvirth blocker side. I couldn't tell, but Craig Laughlin said it might have gone through Neuvirth's body, seven-hole. If so, c'mon, Michal.

11:08 This new CSN score thing at the top looks kind of funny. I guess I'll get used to it eventually.

12:25 Semin-Fleischmann-Laich can cycle decently--well, pass the puck around in the offensive zone. They inevitably get too cutesy or impatient, though, especially Semin, and try and force a play when there isn't one.

12:29 Classic AO move to the middle, but he just misses the net with the wrist shot. Caps to the PP, Antropov in the box for hooking Knuble, who was driving to the net.
Looks like the Dallas Mavericks' coach collapsed today too.

14:02 Looks like Knuble-Fehr-Fleischmann-Poti-Ovechkin on the second PP right now. Oh, here's Carlson, for the final five seconds. Not exactly what I was hoping to see.

15:09 Alzner slips in a one-on-one, Nigel Dawes picks up the puck on a now-2-on-0 and tries to stuff it in short side. Michal Neuvirth stays strong and gets a quick whistle. Rich Peverley bangs it in, and immediately John Erskine and Jason Chimera go after him--good "team toughness." OFB must be happy. Erskine, Fehr, Kane, and Peverley sent to the box. Still 5-on-5.

16:29 What's with the ice? Suddenly, it seems no one can control the puck or make crisp passes.

19:34 Now the Caps' vaunted PK to work. Poti for hooking.

0:00 Caps outshot 11-6 in the first. Not good enough.

Second Period

18:24 Decent PK from the Caps, but ATL's PP isn't very good to begin with.

16:38 Caps don't see Nik Antropov sneaking in, and he gets on open wrister-style one-timer (think Hossa's sling-shot) from the slot. Neuvirth with a great glove save.

15:30 Dustin Byfuglien joins the rush, 3-on-1. He gets the puck, but Neuvirth with a great save, as Byfuglien was going for a 2008-2009 Mike Green-style goal. Play was caused when Carlson pinched and didn't come up with the puck.

13:19 Fredrik Modin outmuscled Green and shouldered his way to the net. C'mon, GreenLife52. You're better than this.

12:51 21-14-28 had tons of discord defensively there at their own blueline, which worked out favorably as Atlanta's forwards had no idea how to enter the zone and went offsides.

12:15 Chimera and Fehr 2-on-1. Mason nice glove save on Chimera.

10:13 Seriously, the Caps' 4th line, no matter who is at center, is really really good, in large part because of Matt Bradley.
How Duncan Keith goes from quarterbacking the breakout to breakaway in that NHL11 commercial is beyond me.

8:35 Evander Kane should have been dinged there. He hit Green hard from behind, into the near-side boards as Green passed the puck away. I was scared Green could have been injured there.

8:13 Kane comes in weak side, Neuvirth stones him. The Czech is really keeping DC in the game.

7:25 The Thrashers are blocking everything. Does Nicklas Backstrom even have a shot on goal?

4:27 Bad play by AO, backhand pass to Knuble at the Caps' blueline gets deflected to the Caps' slot. 2-on-1 created down low, with Andrew Ladd getting alone in front, but Neuvirth stones him. The puck goes to the right point, from where Johnny Oduya quickly throws the puck at the net, and Ladd tips it past Neuvirth.

3:18 Ben Eager makes a power move to the front, Neuvirth stops him and govers.
Erskine to box for roughing, ATL to PP.

2:30 Bad Caps PK. Everyone seems to have to think before attacking. It's not instinctive yet, and that's a recipe for disaster. Oh well, that's what the regular season is for.

1:06 Atlanta penalty shot. Green hand-passed the puck from the crease--Locker and Joe B claim it was a "sweep" and thus did not warrant a penalty shot, but apparently the refs saw Green cover the puck with his glove. Evander Kane takes the penalty shot, and uses the Backstrom move, freeze the goalie by putting the puck in a position to shoot and then stretching out the forehand to fire it blocker side. Unfortunately, the last part of the Backstrom move tends to be that the puck ends up in the net, and no different here.

Third Period

20:00 Comeback time? Let's see if the 2009-2010 Caps show up here.

16:23 Green, play the puck, not the body. Each time you try and play the body you either take a penalty or end up losing the puck. Play the puck, man, and keep your head up.

15:53 Bogosian boards Fleischmann. Caps to PP.

15:25 I think that's four shorthanded odd-man rushes against. That's too many.
Burmistrov hasn't stood out to me much at all. I guess when you're a rookie playing the Caps, that's good more often than not.

13:50 Decent PP there, but AO and Green need to have more "east-west" movement and quick snap shots, not wind-up wristers or slap shots. Every slap shot or Semin-esque wrist shot (long wind-up) is getting blocked.

12:48 Locker is right--Marcus Johansson has been solid, except on faceoffs.
Neuvirth slides across to make a nice save on Evander Kane, looking for the hat trick.
Erskine big neutral zone hit on Niclas Bergfors.

12:00 Great pinch from Green along the right, far side boards in the Caps' offensive zone to keep the play alive. He ends up getting an "08-09 Greener" type chance, but Mason stops it with his shoulder. Good save.

11:44 2-on-1 AO great saucer pass to Knuble, who roofs it. Green picks up the secondary assist.

11:03 Really, Alexander Semin is a very creative offensive player. I guess "danglers" are inherently inconsistent, since there are days when your moves just aren't working. Tonight, they're working alright, but his wrist shot release is too slow to get much through.

9:38 David Steckel, WTF??? Why take a slapshot from basically zero angle? Where's the power move to the front and attempted jam-in? You're 6'5", use your size and reach there.

8:38 See, Mike Green? John Carlson just took a hit, but still maintained possession of the puck. Do more of that.

8:19 Kane to box, slashing Fleischmann on the wrists. PP Washington.

7:57 Backstrom to AO across the ice, but Mason slides across to stop the one timer.

7:38 Is this some kind of cruel joke? Another shorthanded rush, Burmistrov pumps a shot into Neuvirth's chest, internet feed dropped.

5:04 Found a Thrashers feed. It kind of puts things in perspective for Caps fans to hear ATL announcers get so excited that the Thrashers are winning with five minutes to go.

5:00 Modin right off the draw puts one home. The puck goes towards the slot off the draw, deflects into the high slot, and Modin slings it blocker side on Neuvirth. I thought initially Antropov or someone deflected it in, but maybe that's just the fact that it's 6am and I've slept only 2 hours thus far.

4:05 Mason stretches out with the glove to deny Ovechkin on "The Ovie." 25 saves and counting.

3:47 John Carlson interferes with Dustin Byfuglien along the Caps' offensive boards for no reason, really. Dumb penalty, JC74.

2:03 Caps on PK, with Fleischmann and Laich out there. Semin and Backstrom were out there before. Where is Alex Ovechkin???

0:29 Backstrom great backhand feed from behind the net to AO in the low slot near the side of the net. Mason makes a nice stick save on the one-timer and covers.

0:00 I bet this is the last night the Capitals are last in the SE division standings this season.

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