Saturday, October 16, 2010

Recap: Capitals 3 @ Predators 2 (OT)

So this wasn't exactly the run-and-gun game with shaky goaltending that I expected. Michal Neuvirth started instead of Semyon Varlamov, and Anders Lindback is better than I thought.

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

Timeonice Reports:

Head-to-head time on ice
Shift Chart
Scoring chances
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.

1st period

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.

2nd period

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.

3rd period

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 Cody Franson Shane O'Brien and tried to stuff the puck into the net. He was stopped, and the rebound came to Fleischmann, who seemed to be skating backwards away from the scrum. Regardless of what his intent was, Fleischmann slid the puck into the net to tie the game. After this the game was kind of boring once again, like the first, except the Caps were playing better than in the first.


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

NSH119:49Sullivan breakaway142127283055816262739515v5
WSH117:04Ovechkin 1-on-181922304489611202229395v5
NSH18:35Hornqvist post162530448990816262739515v5
NSH13:37Weber backdoor4819223074611202229395v5
NSH12:53GOAL Dumont top corner wrister4152630394449333955715v5
NSH10:21Dangerous pass through crease2130395590616202627394v5
WSH216:33Steckel/Hendricks 2-on-01626273039553692039745v5
NSH215:32Sullivan on loose puck in front142127283055816262739515v5
NSH214:46Tootoo dives to tip a pass in front of him4819283074411222939555v5
NSH214:28GOAL Tootoo slap pass to slot, off Fahey and in81922304489611202229395v5
NSH213:46Suter backdoor1527303955616202627394v5
NSH213:33Weber centers1527303955616202627394v5
WSH211:20Carlson on rush4819308990616202539745v5
NSH210:50Hornqvist deke, backhand from slot4819223074816262739555v5
WSH210:26Knuble on loose puck in slot14212230448989262739555v5
WSH29:24Johansson comes in weak side, undresses a Predator, and tries to put it in from in tight252728305590411333951715v5
WSH28:11Knuble tries to bang in a centering feed from Ovechkin4819223074611202229395v5
WSH27:22Backstrom backdoor81921283074892539515v4
WSH27:07Scramble in front81921283074892539515v4
NSH26:24Ward SH breakaway8192128307411202939555v4
WSH25:41Knuble 3-on-28141622304411293951555v4
NSH25:09O\'Reilly backhand off the rush151626273055416262739515v5
WSH23:52Backstrom backhand off the rush; followed by NSH timeout4819223074611202229395v5
WSH22:56Goalmouth scramble14212830448969202239715v5
WSH20:56Legwand rush4212830744112939554v4
WSH20:13Steckel 3-on-241519303974416202739715v5
NSH319:29Sullivan backhand pass to O\'Reilly alone in front142127283055816262739515v5
WSH315:43Backstrom 1-timer from slot819212830748252639515v4
WSH315:27GOAL Semin slapshot from circle819212830748252639515v4
NSH314:45Wilson 1-times a loose puck on the rush152630394489616333955715v5
NSH314:05Klein steps in and 1-times a puck rolling back towards the point41625307490816262739515v5
WSH312:04Semin 2-on-141421283074425333955745v5
WSH311:34Semin semi-breakaway41421283074816262739515v5
WSH37:46GOAL Fleischmann jams in the puck on a goalmouth scramble142127283055416262739555v5
NSH36:47Suter steps in and wrist a puck sliding to the point after a goalmouth scramble81922273055611202229395v5
NSH34:10Centering pass for Tootoo41421283055811222939515v5
WSH33:15Backstrom wrister on 2-on-281922305589625333951745v5
WSH32:03Chimera blows around NSH D and tries to jam it in15162530558948112229395v5
WSH31:16Semin slapshot on 2-on-2142128305589620253339745v5
NSH30:13Sullivan backhand wraparound stuff attempt4819223074816262739515v5
WSH41:44GOAL Laich deflection819212230255155394v3

4J. ERSKINE17:33770:00004:2503
8A. OVECHKIN17:58565:30610:0100
14T. FLEISCHMANN11:09651:32101:0500
15B. GORDON7:04230:00003:0405
16E. FEHR10:08231:32100:0000
19N. BACKSTROM16:26664:18511:0601
21B. LAICH11:50753:56513:2803
22M. KNUBLE16:06551:54201:0601
25J. CHIMERA10:02220:00001:1300
26M. HENDRICKS6:26130:00001:3700
27K. ALZNER18:08350:20004:2904
28A. SEMIN12:22764:18412:3400
30M. NEUVIRTH45:5316165:50619:3208
39D. STECKEL6:33220:00003:2806
44B. FAHEY8:18351:32100:0000
55J. SCHULTZ19:46660:00003:4804
74J. CARLSON17:06653:21413:4703
89T. SLOAN10:54740:00001:5701
90M. JOHANSSON9:19220:00001:0001

PeriodTotalsEVPP5v3 PPSH5v3 SH

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