The first period was pretty even, and the Capitals struck first. At one end of the ice--the Sabres' defensive zone for the first and third, below the goal line--Tyler Myers tripped, and while trying to make the clear while falling passed right to Alexander Semin, who looked to pass to Ovechkin. He missed, but Karl Alzner was right there and pumped a shot through traffic to make it 1-0 for Washington.
Then things got ugly.
The Sabres dominated the second period, sparked by some power plays. I noted in my preview that the Capitals needed to be penalty-disciplined--clearly, they weren't. Steve Mondator shot through traffic off the pipe and in, and Thomas Vanek took a carom in front and banged it in for a 2-1 Sabres lead.
In the third, the Sabres really didn't surrender--or, I think, the Capitals didn't create--many chances. Nicklas Backstrom faked a shot to get Ryan Miller to go down and then chipped a controlled shot into the top corner, blocker side. Add that one to the highlight reel.
And that OT goal by Vanek, too.
Man of the match: Braden Holtby was solid for the Capitals and didn't make a mistake as far as I could tell, save one mix-up while playing the puck behind his net. I think Jason Pominville deserves it overall.
Timeonice reports: Corsi/Fenwick, Shift Charts, Zone starts, H2H TOI, Scoring chances (same as below)
- Only David Steckel and Matt Bradley didn't break 10 mins at 5-on-5.
- The Caps' 10th forward in terms of 5-on-5 TOI? Tomas Fleischmann. Maybe Bruce Boudreau is wisening up.
- Somehow, Alex Ovechkin and the Caps finished with positive Corsis and Fenwicks. I'm not exactly sure how that happened, though I'm guessing it's those (mostly) harmless attempts from the outside in the 3rd, when the Sabres did a decent job of locking it down (and the Caps of not playing well). See scoring chances below.
- Alex Ovechkin isn't playing along the boards or forechecking like a demon. That's why he's still looking not right. If he won't be a winger version of Lindros-Bossy, he at least needs to be a Fedorov or Zetterberg.
- It looks like Lindy Ruff was trying to get Ennis-Roy-Vanek against Carlznerson/Ovechkin, and it worked pretty well. While those guys were negative Corsis, they were plenty dangerous.
- Jason Pominville had several great chances. I think he's a great guy to have on your second line, ignoring his cap hit. He for the most part was facing Green-Schultz, who had good games--it was when Pominville-Connolly-Hecht avoided Green-Schultz that the Caps had trouble.
- Alexander Semin had a bit of an off night. He seemed to be a bit of a freelancer on Nicklas Backstrom's line at times.
- Hey Caps--no use having a good power play if it's never on the ice. Move your legs and draw penalties.
- It's too bad John Carlson is going to be on the front page of NHL.com tomorrow for the wrong reason. Vanek's goal was a beauty, but Carlson needed to play the body there. I'm sure he's learned that now, and better now than in May.
- Tyler Myers was struggling with Chimera-Johansson-Fehr. Guy is having a tough sophomore season so far. He's also not as physically imposing on TV as I thought he'd be--definitely not like Chara in this game, or even Schultz (this was the first time I saw Myers play).
- Rob Niedermayer may be a bit past his prime now. He was facing Semin and Backstrom for most of the night and did an only passable job. He's not the great shutdown forward that he used to be.
- That second period sucked.
- Gutsy, clutch PK on the double minor to Backstrom. Last season and the season before that it'd have ended up in the Caps' net in regulation.
- Wake up, Ovie. And Fehrsie. And Knublie.
To the scoring chances chart, I added ZP, T, and FO designations. ZP means zone possession, T in transition, and FO right after a faceoff. There were several instances of the play quickly turning around because of a defensive zone turnover, so in those cases I judged whether the play was ZP or T based on how long after the turnover the scoring chance came and how many players were back. Stick tap to Scott Reynolds of The Copper and Blue for the idea.
Scoring Chances for NHL Game Number 20234
|WSH||1||18:17||T Semin one-timer||8||19||28||55||70||74||3||4||19||26||30||63||5v5|
|BUF||1||18:53||ZP Deflection off Sekera point shot||8||19||28||52||55||70||3||4||19||29||30||55||5v5|
|WSH||1||18:58||ZP GOAL Myers trips, Alzner blast||8||19||28||52||55||70||3||4||19||29||30||55||5v5|
|BUF||1||9:33||T Ennis dangles to slot||14||16||25||27||70||74||9||26||30||44||57||63||5v5|
|WSH||1||8:28||ZP Backstrom to Green across PK formation, one-timer||8||19||21||28||52||70||25||27||28||30||57||5v4|
|BUF||1||7:08||T SH Kaleta wrister on 2-on-1||8||14||16||22||52||70||20||27||30||36||57||5v4|
|WSH||1||6:29||ZP Alzner point shot deflected through lots of traffic||10||26||27||39||70||74||3||4||19||20||30||36||5v5|
|BUF||1||6:15||T Holtby misplays puck||10||26||27||39||70||74||9||27||30||34||36||63||5v5|
|WSH||1||4:44||T Ovechkin breakaway||4||8||19||28||70||89||4||19||29||30||55||57||5v5|
|WSH||1||2:33||T Chimera one-timer on 3-on-2||14||16||25||52||55||70||3||4||9||26||30||63||5v5|
|BUF||1||1:57||ZP Pominville off a rotation gets open in circle||8||19||28||52||55||70||19||27||29||30||34||55||5v5|
|BUF||1||1:50||ZP Hecht alone at side of net, misses deflecting it in||8||19||28||52||55||70||19||27||29||30||34||55||5v5|
|WSH||1||0:50||ZP Miller kicks out a rebound straight to Johansson||4||21||22||70||89||90||28||30||36||37||44||57||5v5|
|BUF||2||19:00||T Roy coming in late left alone||8||19||28||52||55||70||3||4||19||29||30||55||5v5|
|WSH||2||18:03||T Fehr 3-on-2 one-timer||14||16||25||52||55||70||9||26||27||30||34||55||5v5|
|BUF||2||17:30||ZP Roy in front||14||16||25||27||70||74||9||26||27||30||57||63||5v5|
|BUF||2||13:42||T PP Connolly left alone tries to deke Hotlby||4||19||39||70||89||4||9||19||26||29||30||4v5|
|BUF||2||9:51||ZP GOAL Montador long slapshot through traffic||4||8||19||28||70||89||3||4||8||20||25||30||5v5|
|BUF||2||8:36||ZP Pominville deflection||21||22||52||55||70||90||3||19||29||30||34||55||5v5|
|BUF||2||7:05||T Sekera joins the rush||8||19||27||28||70||74||20||26||30||44||57||63||5v5|
|BUF||2||6:02||T Hecht backhand on 2-on-1||10||26||39||52||55||70||3||4||19||29||30||55||5v5|
|BUF||2||3:32||ZP GOAL PP Vanek rebound||19||39||52||55||70||3||19||26||29||30||57||4v5|
|BUF||2||1:54||ZP Pominville gets alone down low||4||21||22||26||70||89||19||29||30||44||55||57||5v5|
|WSH||3||19:20||FO Semin wrister||19||25||28||52||55||70||8||20||25||30||44||57||5v5|
|WSH||3||14:05||T Fehr through traffic on 3-on-2||16||21||55||70||74||90||3||4||19||29||30||55||5v5|
|WSH||3||13:17||ZP Green sneaks in and centers to Johansson||4||8||22||52||70||90||9||26||30||44||57||63||5v5|
|WSH||3||12:54||ZP GOAL Backstrom||4||19||25||28||70||89||8||20||25||27||30||34||5v5|
|BUF||3||12:27||T Sabres shank a one-timer||10||14||27||39||70||74||3||4||19||29||30||55||5v5|
|BUF||3||6:38||T Green coughs up puck in neutral, Sabres 3-on-1||8||22||52||55||70||90||3||4||19||29||30||55||5v5|
|BUF||3||3:12||T Vanek gets a carom in front||19||25||27||28||70||74||9||26||27||30||34||63||5v5|
|BUF||3||1:54||ZP PP Ennis tries to stuff, lots of players in front||26||27||28||70||74||3||25||30||44||55||63||4v5|
|BUF||3||1:14||ZP PP scramble in front||22||25||52||55||70||9||19||26||29||30||57||4v5|
|BUF||4||3:55||ZP PP Vanek deflection off post||22||39||52||70||9||19||26||29||30||3v4|
|WSH||4||1:45||T Green on 3-on-2||21||28||52||55||70||4||9||20||30||44||4v4|
|BUF||4||1:01||T GOAL Vanek dances around Carlson and Holtby||8||27||70||74||90||3||9||26||30||57||4v4|
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|