Sunday, October 3, 2010

Recap: Predators 3 @ Capitals 0

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

Nashville really sucked the life out of Washington today. Either that, or Nicklas Backstrom's absence really meant that much. The Predators forwards backchecked like crazy and pressured the Caps' D hard (John Erskine especially seemed to be feeling the pressure). The Caps' forwards, on the whole, were a bit floaty and always looking to break out of the defensive zone on the rush. The centers especially made me wince--they shouldn't be coming back to play defense with the wingers, but ahead of the wingers. More set offense, boys, and harder, faster, more coordinated forechecking. When the Caps' forwards got in hard on Ryan Suter and pressured, he seemed to rush a bit (though making the right play every time). That's what we need to see more of.

Quite honestly, I think a better coach would have drawn up a more conservative, dump-and-chase type gameplan. Center depth is critical for a skill offense, and sorry, Perreault-Fleischmann is simply not good enough for a skill offense.

I hope Michal Neuvirth is 100% for the season opener later this week. As for Dany Sabourin, I think Mark French is keeping his seat warm.

Second Period

15:25: and I'm starting

14:40: One in-zone possession and I'm already pretty sure the Predators' power play goes "pass to Shea Weber, who shoots with traffic in front." I hope Neuvirth isn't injured. He looks like he got hit on the head by a Caps D as he was lunging for the puck.

13:00: for a second I thought MP was Backstrom. Is that a sign?

11:50: classic between-the-legs-to-the-outside move by AO on Klein (#8 vs #8), pass a bit off to Knuble, who can't get a good shot off.

11:37: If you read Behind the Net, you know the answer to the trivia question is Andrew Brunette.

10:33: Dany Sabourin looks like he'll come in. Good move--don't risk Neuvirth getting a serious injury, especially if he could already be banged up. Also, good play by Suter there, stopping Semin from depositing the wraparound.

9:57: Sabourin in. And Kolbe, it doesn't mean anything if Sabourin hasn't allowed a goal yet, except that he hasn't played enough minutes.

8:02: bad play by Erskine, who gets stripped of the puck in his defensive zone. Fahey and Erskine can't clear, and Cal O'Reilly scores. So much for that league-leading GAA. One helper to Steve Sullivan--I couldn't make out the other name.

6:31: Colin Wilson almost scored. Poti's pairing plus AO's line should not have let that happen. And apparently Chimera got hit by the puck on the bench and heads down the tunnel. Ouch.

6:00: Seriously, with the puck, Mathieu Perreault is a top-6 forward in the National Hockey League. Without it, maybe not.

3:17: Schultz and Green need to figure out how to get pucks through to the net, or at least not blocked.

27: BRADleyyyy...he missed. Good forecheck by DJ King and Matt Bradley there to set it up. That's how it's done--dump it in, skate in physically, force the defensemen to make a quick, risky pass, make the intercept, and set up a play.

Third Period

15:00: Caps not good so far. Quite frankly though, I prefer coming out strong and letting up if it means these Caps are more like the 2008-2009 incarnation of the team as opposed to the trail-then-turn-it-on 2009-2010 version.

14:00: Great save by Sabourin, spread eagle save on Matthew Lombardi, who ran out of angle on the rebound to Sabourin's left.

13:18: JP Dumont with an offensive zone penalty. Caps take a timeout before going on the power play.

13:00: Green backdoor play. That's something we didn't see enough of last season.

12:18:...even if it means more shorties against. 1) Green looked tired or slow there. 2) Joel Ward scored five-hole on Sabourin. Not a good goal to give up, even if on a breakaway. Ward just slipped it in Backstrom-against-Boston-10-2 style.

11:38: Steve Sullivan with a semi-breakaway, good play by Brian Fahey there to take the hooking penalty. The second slashing penalty? Not so needed. 4-on-4 for a bit, then Nashville a little under 4 mins of PP time.

7:27: Joel Ward, ESG, gets some space on the edge of the slot's right circle and one-times it past Sabourin.

4:45: Tomas Fleischmann really is a passenger on whichever line he plays with. Laich may not drive the play, but at least he wins corner battles and goes to the net. Fleischmann doesn't do much of anything. To be fair to Flash, though, pretty much everyone on the Caps save Ovechkin, Fehr, and Laich has looked like a passenger. This makes Nashville looks faster, stronger, and more talented.
If you swapped the jerseys I'd think Nashville were Washington.

0:15: not that it matters much, but SHUTOUT SHUTOUT SHUTOUT...shoot.

Caps fall to 5-1 in preseason. Pekka Rinne with the shutout.

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