Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Caps vs. Flyers 1-9-2007 Post-Mortem

Who says you need to play 60 minutes of solid hockey to come out with an solid win? Onto to the Battle Damage Assessment...

THE GOOD:
  • Well, I said if the Caps could jump on the Flyers early, it would increase their chances of winning. A goal just 15 seconds into the game (8 is the team record) certainly qualifies as jumping on the Flyers early and guess what, they won.
  • Now we can say it, the Caps sweep the season series from the Flyers for the first time in team history by a combined score of 20-9.
  • You wouldn't know it by looking at the standings, but the Flyers Penalty Killers are ranked 7th in the NHL. The Caps going 1 for 3 on the Power Play tonight certainly deserves mention and kudos.
  • The Caps Penalty Killers came up large themselves by killing off a looong 5-on-3 in the second period when the score was still 2-0 and got the job done by using just 4 skaters on the long kill and a fair amount of The Force to get the Flyers to hit goal posts and miss wide open nets.

THE BAD:

  • That was about the worst 6-2 victory you are ever going to see. The Caps were outshot 33-31 and the offensive flurries were few and far between.
  • The Caps defensive corps must have decided before the game that it was going to be giveaway night. Somehow only Lawrence Nycholat and Mike Green avoided being charged with a giveaway. I know that is a mistake on Green because he skated off in his own zone without the puck on at least two occasions that I remember.
  • TOO MANY PENALTIES. While some of that had to do with the "crack" (and I do mean "crack") officiating crew of Kerry Fraser and Dean Warren, the Caps made it hard on themselves by spending large amounts of time in their own zone. I believe that Olie Kolzig would have gotten a shutout tonight had we not continued to parade to the penalty box.

THE UGLY:

  • The performance of Robert Esche tonight. If it wasn't for him, the Caps would have had a serious fight on their hands. Derian Hatcher and Alexi Zhitnik owe a good chunk of their -3's to his incompetent goaltending.
  • The Caps scored 6 goals; 5 of them at even strength. The Flyers scored only two goals, one on the Power Play and one shorthanded. So how does Matt "Princess" Pettinger and Kris Beech end up the only Caps with a minus rating for the night? (-1) Their other regular linemate, Alexander Semin, scored the Caps Power Play goal and had an even rating. Every other Cap had at least a +1.

Yeah, we won. And it is nice to know that there is a team out there so bad that we can beat them comfortably without putting out our best effort. But if the Caps are serious about making the playoffs, they cannot "play down" to their competition because the Caps just aren't good enough to win very many games without a complete effort. That is how you blow four goal second period leads on home ice. However, the Caps didn't blow the lead tonight to a pathetic team so give them their due credit for the win.

It has been... A TWO POINT NIGHT!!!

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