Thursday, November 30, 2006

Caps vs. Stars 11-30-2006 Post-Mortem

Once again a team from Dallas comes to Washington looking for a win, comes close, but doesn't get it. That's two in a row now. Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

THE GOOD:
  • Not only did the Caps have a 2-0 lead after one period tonight, they also jumped on a tired team by out shooting them 9-8. Alas, it wouldn't stay that way for the entire game but you have to like the way the Caps came out of the gate.
  • After giving up an ugly goal early in the second, the Caps not only shook off their second period doldrums but they actually extended the lead. The only good thing about taking 5 shots in the second period is that the Caps scored twice on those five shots.
  • A.O.'s point streak came to an end tonight. Why is this a good thing? Well, the Caps scored four goals, collected a total of ten points, and won tonight without any help on the scoresheet from their best player. A.O. isn't the only player on this team and the rest of the team needs to score in order for the Caps to have a chance to win.
  • The Special Teams did well tonight in a game where not much was called. The Power Play was 2 for 5 and the Penalty Killers were 4 for 4. You can't ask for much more than that.
  • The much ballyhooed return of Jeff Halpern wasn't much for Jeff to write home about. 1 shot, 1 hit, 1 giveaway, 2 blocked shots, 7-7 on faceoffs, and a -1. Though I have to say that I am miffed that the local fans booed the Local Boy. He didn't want to leave, didn't give a substandard effort when he played here, and has had nothing but nice things to say about his time in Washington and about the organization. I understand not wanting to give him a standing ovation either, but let's show some class.

THE BAD:

  • When you take a 4-1 lead into the third period at home against a team playing on consecutive nights, you need to close the door on the game. You can't allow 20 shots on goal and come away with a one goal victory.
  • When A.O. gets awarded a penalty shot and doesn't even get a shot on goal, maybe you should spend some time in practice going over penalty shots. Yes, I know you cannot duplicate the pressure, but practice is clearly needed here. Either that or some sort of voodoo/exorcism. With the "new NHL" in its infinite wisdom making penalty shots as common as things named after Robert Byrd in West-By-God-Virginia, you need to do a little better than Oh-for-the season. This is getting embarrassing kids.

THE UGLY:

  • Jamie "Home Run" Heward's giveaway at the start of the second period that got Dallas on the scoreboard. No excuse as it was nothing but a total lack of effort on Heward's part.
  • Michael Smith's goaltending line tonight, 10 saves on 14 shots, for a .714 save percentage and the loss. No wonder he got yanked at the second intermission.
  • How does Olie Kolzig make 35 saves in what turned out to be a one goal game and not get one of the three stars?

Well, another game, another chased goalie, and another nail biting win. It is abundantly clear to this observer that the margin of error for this team is very, very small. But let's celebrate two in a row; getting #3 is going to be a real challenge for this team.

It has been... A TWO POINT NIGHT!

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