Saturday, December 24, 2011

Recap: Devils 4, Caps 3 (SO)

Remember when we knew the Caps would make the game exciting? I think we're slowly returning to that form. That being said:
  • That effort in the first two periods was atrocious. Well, maybe not effort, but the team was clearly very out of sync. I really wonder what the coaches think is the issue. Is it effort? Attention to detail? Focus? Whatever it is, it should be fix-able. I mean, at least you can get back to 40 minute efforts, like in 08-09, right?
  • Mike Green is getting healthy at the right time, as Dmitry Orlov seems to have hit a rut over the past couple of games. Tonight he was taking too long to make decisions with the puck. You can't out-wait a guy like Zach Parise who will keep on hounding you until you make a decision.
  • Why can't Alex Ovechkin be like that?
  • At least he was getting shot attempts. Goals come from shots, which come from shot attempts. One step at a time.
  • I loved the look of Ovechkin-Backstrom with Carlson-Alzner. You maximize a guy's offensive abilities by playing in the offensive zone, and with two of Orlov, Wideman, Hamrlik, Erskine, and Schultz playing behind Ovechkin over the last couple of seasons (basically, no Carlson, Alzner, or Green), the Caps end up dwindling away Ovechkin's shifts in the defensive zone. Yes, the Devils sat back and sort of let up, but I think long-term, 8-19 74-27 would be extremely effective.
  • That begs the question of how to play shutdown. Hamrlik, Wideman, and Schultz all have track records of success against toughs, but none with the success of Carlzner.
  • Halpern I thought didn't have the strongest night. He plays a little differently than Chimera and Ward were used to getting from Laich, I guess.
  • Johansson needs to learn to dictate play along the boards. As a D, you can stop skating and wrap the guy up along the boards, like Schultz does so often, but as a forward with the puck or battling for the puck in the offensive zone, you need to make that extra step, get your nose dirty, and act, not react. Brouwer, Knuble, Backstrom, and Ovechkin all get in there and worry about reacting later. Johansson needs to learn to do that (and/or build up the strength to do that), especially when he's not having success carrying the puck through the neutral zone.
  • I thought Laich almost over-deked his goal. Oh well, worked out.
  • Why can't Semin handle a puck? I slapped myself in the face by accident when he got a perfect pass from Backstrom, leaving him alone in front of the net on the rush, and simply lost the puck. That's all on him. And then he turns it around and makes some nice passes in the third, helping out on two goals.
  • Jason Chimera may have scored twice, but he also lost Anton Volchenkov (?) twice on the same shift in OT, the instances within seconds of each other, as the Devils D pinched along the weak side and really would have scored if he were more competent offensively.
  • Why isn't Joel Ward on the PK?
No zone entries tonight, since I was in attendance and can't exactly re-wind the game. I plan on catching up over the next two or three weeks.

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