This game was more exciting than it needed to be.
Boston looks to me like it plays its best hockey in a low tempo, controlled, low-volume game. That was their story last season--last in the league in offense, but one of the best in defense. Few shots for, few shots against. That is how they played through the first half of the first period, until they got into a bit of penalty trouble. While Washington didn't score, they did control the puck better thereafter.
That puck control carried over into the second, which must have been one of the Caps' best periods to date. They were dominant and pretty clinical for stretches. It was dump-in or carry-in, forecheck, generate a chance or chances, and when the puck got cleared, chase it down, change lines, and repeat. Green was very noticeable and looks to be automatic to the top corner again.
To start the third, Claude Julien swapped in Tuukka Rask for Tim Thomas, and the move paid dividends during the next ten minutes of game time, during which Boston scored two power play goals and an even strength goal to tie the game at 3. That being said, I think Boston was getting a bit lucky, as those three goals were on four scoring chances by my count--not exactly a lot. On the third goal, for example, it was a 2-on-2-turned-2-on-0 when David Steckel and John Carlson collided and Alzner tried to rush back but ultimately couldn't get back in time. After Shawn Thornton tied the game on that play, though, the Caps seemed to find their legs, in part helped by Bruce Boudreau moving Alexander Semin back to the second line with Tomas Fleischmann (who had himself some good takeaways and forechecks) and Brooks Laich.
Braden Holtby came on after Thornton's goal and stopped the handful of shots he faced, for his first career win. Way to go.
Man of the match: Mike Green. He was all over the place and really only made one mistake the entire game. He had a shorthanded assist and a beauty of a goal to give himself a 3-game goal scoring streak. How's that stick working out for ya?
Timeonice reports: Shift Charts, H2H Ice time, Zonestarts, Corsi/Fenwick
- Like we'd expect, Chara saw a lot of Ovechkin. Aside from that and Bruce Boudreau keeping Erskine-Sloan away from any good Boston lines, I don't really see any line-matching going on.
- The Caps had 26 ES offensive zone faceoffs and only 14 in the defensive zone (24 in the neutral zone). That's some good puck possession.
- Semin still looks like the catalyst up front. He played most of the night on Ovechkin's line and ended up a +5 Corsi, while Ovechkin was a -6. That top line is still struggling, methinks. Maybe it's time for a change. Alex Ovechkin still doesn't look all that good, and Mike Milbury pointed out in the intermissions how Ovechkin lost his defensive assignments several times, failing to tie up sticks or win puck battles when first in.
- Eric Fehr-Jason Chimera-Boyd Gordon and John Carlson-Karl Alzner had fantastic games. They saw lots of the Krejci-Horton-Lucic line and shut them down completely, giving them a -10 Fenwick. Fehr led the Caps at +11.
- Tim Thomas was a -7 Fenwick in the first forty minutes, Tuukka Rask a -8 through the last twenty. Hmmm.
- Alexander Semin was brilliant not only in driving offense, but little things like lifting sticks to strip the puck (notably, a couple of times on Zdeno Chara, as well as several times on the PK, including one of Patrice Bergeron which directly led to the rush upon which he scored). He's in the zone.
- What was that celebration??? Banging on the ice like, well...let's say the "bongos" fans are going to have fun with that.
- Brad Marchand-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton may have tallied, but their most frequent matchup of the night was against Fleischmann and Flash beat 'em. Wow.
- Speaking of Flash, kudos on winning the draw on Carlson's game-winning goal.
- Matt Hendricks is making DJ King look redundant.
- Mark Stuart was the only Bruin with a positive Corsi. Gregory Campbell joined him in the group of Bruins with positive Fenwick. Ouch.
- Jack Edwards, I don't give a **** that you think the linesmen messed up calling icing in this game. I don't think anyone else does, either. Especially the freaking national audience on NHL Network.
(Maybe the Caps could learn to just shoot, especially on 5-on-3s...)
Scoring Chances for NHL Game Number 20180
|BOS||1||17:30||Seguin 1-on-1 on Alzner||10||26||27||30||39||74||18||19||26||30||44||48||5v5|
|BOS||1||13:32||Krejci in slot||8||19||27||28||30||74||17||18||30||33||44||46||5v5|
|BOS||1||13:14||Lucic tries to deke Neuvirth||8||19||27||28||30||74||17||18||30||33||44||46||5v5|
|WSH||1||11:04||PP Ovechkin one-timer||8||19||22||28||30||52||30||33||37||44||5v3|
|BOS||1||9:20||SH Wheeler 4-on-3||14||16||21||30||52||74||26||30||33||46||54||5v4|
|WSH||1||4:55||Backstrom strip, to Ovechkin in front||8||19||28||30||52||55||28||30||37||38||45||54||5v5|
|WSH||1||3:56||Alzner wrister on loose puck||15||16||25||27||30||74||17||18||30||33||44||46||5v5|
|WSH||1||3:32||Chimera turnaround fadeaway wrister||4||15||16||25||30||89||19||21||26||30||48||73||5v5|
|WSH||2||19:02||GOAL Sloan wrist shot through traffic||4||14||21||22||30||89||21||28||30||37||38||45||5v5|
|WSH||2||17:55||Fehr turnaround shot||15||16||26||27||30||52||17||18||30||44||46||48||5v5|
|WSH||2||17:23||Carlson 4-on-3 slapshot||8||10||27||30||39||74||19||26||30||33||45||73||5v5|
|WSH||2||15:37||Knuble alone weak side on rush||14||21||22||27||30||89||11||21||30||54||63||73||5v5|
|WSH||2||14:26||Chimera shot off wing||4||15||16||25||30||89||21||28||30||33||37||38||5v5|
|WSH||2||12:26||GOAL Green curl and drag, wrister high glove side||8||19||28||30||52||55||11||21||22||30||33||63||5v5|
|WSH||2||9:02||Laich wrister on rush||4||14||16||21||30||89||11||22||30||33||44||63||5v5|
|WSH||2||7:16||Fehr hits the post||4||15||16||25||30||89||19||21||26||30||48||73||5v5|
|WSH||2||6:34||Hendricks on doorstep||10||26||27||30||39||74||17||18||30||44||46||48||5v5|
|BOS||2||3:34||Ovechkin doesn\'t tie up Horton, who almost taps it in||8||19||27||28||30||74||17||18||30||44||46||48||5v5|
|WSH||2||2:10||SH GOAL Semin 3-on-2||21||28||30||52||55||19||28||30||33||37||73||4v5|
|BOS||2||1:08||Lucic on cross-crease pass||4||10||30||39||89||17||18||30||45||46||48||4v5|
|BOS||3||16:54||PP GOAL Ryder rebound||4||26||30||39||89||19||28||40||44||48||73||4v5|
|BOS||3||15:59||PP GOAL Horton slapshot||15||19||30||52||55||17||18||33||37||40||46||4v5|
|BOS||3||14:16||Hunwick throws it through a crowded slot||4||15||16||25||30||89||17||18||40||44||46||48||5v5|
|BOS||3||10:10||GOAL Thornton on 2-on-0; Steckel and Carlson collide, Alzner not back in time||8||27||28||30||39||74||19||22||40||45||54||63||5v5|
|WSH||3||8:27||Fleischmann fadeaway wrister||14||21||28||52||55||70||28||37||38||40||45||54||5v5|
|WSH||3||6:36||GOAL Carlson slapshot through traffic||15||16||25||27||70||74||17||18||21||33||40||46||5v5|
|WSH||3||5:57||3-on-2, Fleischmann shot + rebound||14||21||28||52||55||70||17||18||40||44||46||48||5v5|
|BOS||3||4:56||Stuart wrister through traffic||8||19||22||52||55||70||11||21||28||40||45||63||5v5|
|WSH||3||2:31||Chimera lowers shoulder and goes to front||15||16||25||27||70||74||17||18||21||33||40||46||5v5|
|WSH||3||1:32||Ovechkin wrister on 2-on-1||8||19||27||28||70||74||19||37||40||44||63||73||5v5|
|WSH||3||0:52||EN GOAL Ovechkin||8||19||22||55||70||74||17||18||28||33||44||46||5v5|
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|