Friday, November 17, 2006

Caps vs. Canes 11-17-2006 Post Mortem

Well once again the Caps and Canes combine for five goals and the Caps actually got one of them this time. Too bad that means Carolina got the other four...

THE GOOD:
  • The first period tonight actually served as the high water mark for the Caps. It was as bland as the Boston game was which makes this really, really sad.
  • Tonight the Caps gave up only 29 shots on goal. This again is an improvement and is about where you want to be in terms of shots allowed.

THE BAD:

  • Problem is, Olie Kolzig gave up four goals on those 29 shots. Maybe Kolzig needs more shots against in order put in a better performance? I would caution against that because two of the four goals were off of rebounds.
  • The Caps themselves only took 22 shots. This was largely due to the fact that the Caps could not get any sustained pressure in the offensive zone. In the second period, they were like a struggling college basketball team that rushes forward quickly, takes a force shot that misses badly and then has to get back on defense for awhile.
  • The Caps actually came out with some jump in their skates to start the second period. Unfortunately for the Caps, referees Greg Kimmerly and Chris Lee set about to evening up the Power Play opportunities and the Caps never recovered. If I ever get around to checking my recording of this game, I'll have to see if the calls were legit or they were as phantom as they seemed in the arena. I'm usually pretty good about seeing what they're calling but I didn't catch any of the second period calls. Though I'm curious as to how Eric Cole could run Kolzig in the third and NOT take a goaltender interference call. But considering that Carolina got away with every single stationary and not-so-stationary pick in the offensive zone, I shouldn't be too surprised that it wasn't called.

THE UGLY:

  • The Penalty Killers went 4 for 6 tonight and quite frankly, should have been worse. It was clear in the second period that the Canes were having their way with the Caps when the Canes were on a Power Play. One great save by Kolzig and poor execution on Carolina's part prevented it from being worse.
  • And as bad as the Penalty Killers were tonight, the Power Play was even worse. The Caps had three first period power plays and didn't even come close to scoring. The Caps lone goal from Richard Zednik came on a Power Play in the third as they finished 1 for 5. But that doesn't diminish the pathetic performance of the Power Play tonight. The Caps had big issues getting entrance into the Carolina zone all night. They were often waaaaay offsides and even iced the puck on the Power Play once tonight (and were lucky to beat out another icing call). When Glen Hanlon puts Donald Brashear out on the Power Play, you know that the Caps Power Play is stinking up the joint.
  • And speaking of stinking up the joint, John Erskine could be investigated for treason tonight. The "jump" of being called back up to the NHL looks to be wearing off and Erskine seems to be reverting to form. Erskine had ugly turnovers, missed assignments, and bad step ups and pinches tonight. He was only a -1 because Power Play goals do not effect +/- but was on the ice for three of the four Carolina goals.

I hope that tonight can be simply explained away in that the Canes are reverting to their Stanley Cup winning form and that the Caps simply are not in the same class as Carolina right now. I hope that this isn't a sign that the Caps are reverting to their form as well. Simply put, IF the Caps were to make the playoffs this season, Carolina is the class of team that the Caps are going to face in the first round. In the past 8 days the Caps have been outscored 9-1 by Carolina in two games. Clearly, the Caps are not a playoff ready hockey team.

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