The Caps won both special teams battles--even if the Preds' special team units actually looked better--because they got the results. Michal Neuvirth was robbed of first-star status, but I'm sure Puck Daddy will give him his dues. All in all, a pretty poor game, but the Caps still won. They're still searching for those good habits, though, like starting strong and pushing their foot to the throat and playing good Corsi hockey. Whatever, two points is two points.
Oh, and the PK is still kicking ass. They gave up better chances more frequently than one would like, but you can't ask for much when it has to kill five minors in less than half the game. Michal Neuvirth did the rest. Luckily for him and the rest of the team, the Caps were pretty well disciplined after the first.
Michal Neuvirth is going to make Semyon Varlamov have to play extraordinarily well to win back the starting job.
Man of the match: Michal Neuvirth
Head-to-head time on ice
The Laich OT goal timing I guess is off, so I had to manually add it into the charts at the bottom.
Some notes on these reports:
- It's awfully hard for anybody, let alone a 20-year old rookie defenseman, to look particularly good when getting a +7 Zonestart in one game, or for a veteran 7/8 D. That is to say, John Carlson and John Erskine started 8 times in the defensive zone, 5 times in neutral, and once in the offensive zone. That's too much responsibility on the kid and "meh" veteran, methinks.
- Jeff Schultz was paired with Karl Alzner and they got on the slightly favorable side of Zonestarts. Umm, Bruce Boudreau, why start your best puck mover so often in the defensive zone and your two best stay-at-home defensemen in the offensive zone?
- Maybe it had something to do with the Predators' two most dangerous offensive players, Steve Sullivan and Patric Hornqvist, getting +2s for Zonestart. Then again, Boudreau has to put his lineup out first. This makes little sense to me.
- At least Sloan and Fahey got super easy starts. That's how it should be.
- Caps' Corsi leaderboard for the game: Schultz and Alzner +12, Fehr +6, ...Ovechkin -8, Erskine -11. Go figure.
- I will--a lot of those were blocked shots. The Caps blocked 14 shots to the Predators' 13 on the evening. That's decent, I guess. Use Fenwick and we get Fehr +6, Chimera/Alzner/Schultz +5...Ovechkin -9. The Nashville commentary team was talking about how Steve Sullivan said AO just disappears and reappears...he wasn't doing much reappearing in this game.
- The forward lines didn't look like they were matched much. Weber-Suter went up against AO-Backstrom-Knuble, Klein-Bouillon against Laich-Fleischmann-Semin, and Franson-O'Brien against Chimera-Johansson-Fehr. Boudreau was careful not to have Sloan-Fahey against the Hornqvist line.
- Shea Weber had more ESTOI than Alex Ovechkin. He's an elite D, so it's perfectly reasonable.
- Ryan Suter had more ESTOI than Alex Ovechkin. See Weber.
- Jeff Schultz had more ESTOI than Alex Ovechkin. I guess Ovechkin was playing a lot on the power play, and to be fair, Schultz is a pretty reliable defenseman.
- John Carlson had more ESTOI than Alex Ovechkin. Okay, the Capitals' only NHL-level puck mover on the night. Now we're starting to push it, though.
- John Erskine had more ESTOI than Alex Ovechkin.
The Capitals were...well, horrible might be a tad generous. Nashville was really good at moving the puck up the ice and keeping the Capitals to the outside on their attack, as well as getting men back to outnumber the Capitals defensively. I count only one Caps scoring chance in this period. Yikes. Part of that is that the Capitals took four minors (including one that led to a 30 second 5-on-3) but luckily Michal Neuvirth stood tall, only allowing a top-corner shot by J.P. Dumont to get past him. Neuvirth is the game's first star so far.
18-7 in shots??? Come on boys, pick it up.
Ryan Suter looks sooooo much better in his Team USA uniform. I love his red, white, and blue look with a visor on his helmet.
This was more of the same for around the first ten minutes. Nashville kept coming and coming and the Capitals couldn't much about it. They only took one minor, though, and eventually Nashville lessened their death grip on the game. Once the Capitals had more time and space to attack, as Nashville seemed to be more willing to exchange rushes, they starting getting more chances to score and really testing Anders Lindback, who kept the Caps off the scoreboard through 40 minutes. Alex Ovechkin chased down a puck near his defensive blueline and tried to push it across-weakly--and that was intercepted; a few seconds later, Jordan Tootoo had sent a pass off of Brian Fahey's skate and in. Ouch. AO had a brutal night.
The Capitals ramped up their play in the 3rd. While for long stretches it seemed the teams were playing more or less in the neutral zone and along the boards, with several minutes going by at times before I would record a scoring chance, the Capitals no doubt had the puck more often than the Predators. As soon as the Predators would clear it was the Caps regrouping and attacking again. This reminded me of the series against Montreal, except the Nashville D is a lot better at preventing chances.
The Capitals' PP struck after some good movement. Semin was given some extra space, so he stepped in and drove a shot that Lindback got a large chunk of, but trickled in anyways. Later, after Tomas Fleischmann lost a faceoff in the offensive zone, Brooks Laich stole the puck from
With only 3 men to defend the Caps' 4 PP forwards, the Predators had a tough time stopping the passing. Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom opened the central passing line through the slot with ease. There were decent chances, but nothing really good, until the Capitals regrouped and Ovechkin's long one-timer was deflected into the top corner of the net by Brooks Laich, in his "bakery." That's how it's done.
Scoring Chances for NHL Game Number 20060
|NSH||1||2:53||GOAL Dumont top corner wrister||4||15||26||30||39||44||4||9||33||39||55||71||5v5|
|NSH||1||0:21||Dangerous pass through crease||21||30||39||55||90||6||16||20||26||27||39||4v5|
|NSH||2||15:32||Sullivan on loose puck in front||14||21||27||28||30||55||8||16||26||27||39||51||5v5|
|NSH||2||14:46||Tootoo dives to tip a pass in front of him||4||8||19||28||30||74||4||11||22||29||39||55||5v5|
|NSH||2||14:28||GOAL Tootoo slap pass to slot, off Fahey and in||8||19||22||30||44||89||6||11||20||22||29||39||5v5|
|WSH||2||11:20||Carlson on rush||4||8||19||30||89||90||6||16||20||25||39||74||5v5|
|NSH||2||10:50||Hornqvist deke, backhand from slot||4||8||19||22||30||74||8||16||26||27||39||55||5v5|
|WSH||2||10:26||Knuble on loose puck in slot||14||21||22||30||44||89||8||9||26||27||39||55||5v5|
|WSH||2||9:24||Johansson comes in weak side, undresses a Predator, and tries to put it in from in tight||25||27||28||30||55||90||4||11||33||39||51||71||5v5|
|WSH||2||8:11||Knuble tries to bang in a centering feed from Ovechkin||4||8||19||22||30||74||6||11||20||22||29||39||5v5|
|WSH||2||7:07||Scramble in front||8||19||21||28||30||74||8||9||25||39||51||5v4|
|NSH||2||6:24||Ward SH breakaway||8||19||21||28||30||74||11||20||29||39||55||5v4|
|NSH||2||5:09||O\'Reilly backhand off the rush||15||16||26||27||30||55||4||16||26||27||39||51||5v5|
|WSH||2||3:52||Backstrom backhand off the rush; followed by NSH timeout||4||8||19||22||30||74||6||11||20||22||29||39||5v5|
|NSH||3||19:29||Sullivan backhand pass to O\'Reilly alone in front||14||21||27||28||30||55||8||16||26||27||39||51||5v5|
|WSH||3||15:43||Backstrom 1-timer from slot||8||19||21||28||30||74||8||25||26||39||51||5v4|
|WSH||3||15:27||GOAL Semin slapshot from circle||8||19||21||28||30||74||8||25||26||39||51||5v4|
|NSH||3||14:45||Wilson 1-times a loose puck on the rush||15||26||30||39||44||89||6||16||33||39||55||71||5v5|
|NSH||3||14:05||Klein steps in and 1-times a puck rolling back towards the point||4||16||25||30||74||90||8||16||26||27||39||51||5v5|
|WSH||3||7:46||GOAL Fleischmann jams in the puck on a goalmouth scramble||14||21||27||28||30||55||4||16||26||27||39||55||5v5|
|NSH||3||6:47||Suter steps in and wrist a puck sliding to the point after a goalmouth scramble||8||19||22||27||30||55||6||11||20||22||29||39||5v5|
|NSH||3||4:10||Centering pass for Tootoo||4||14||21||28||30||55||8||11||22||29||39||51||5v5|
|WSH||3||3:15||Backstrom wrister on 2-on-2||8||19||22||30||55||89||6||25||33||39||51||74||5v5|
|WSH||3||2:03||Chimera blows around NSH D and tries to jam it in||15||16||25||30||55||89||4||8||11||22||29||39||5v5|
|WSH||3||1:16||Semin slapshot on 2-on-2||14||21||28||30||55||89||6||20||25||33||39||74||5v5|
|NSH||3||0:13||Sullivan backhand wraparound stuff attempt||4||8||19||22||30||74||8||16||26||27||39||51||5v5|
|WSH||4||1:44||GOAL Laich deflection||8||19||21||22||30||25||51||55||39||4v3|
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|