Saturday, February 24, 2007

Caps @ Devils 2-24-2007 Post-Mortem

Crow is always good this time of year. Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

THE GOOD:
  • Of all the teams that the Caps could break out against, the Devils are the least likely suspects. Building a 3-0 lead on them with an ok, not great, effort once again shows just what this team is capable of once it matures.
  • On December 3rd, 2004, Martin Brodeur shutout the Caps who only took 9 (that's right, 9) shots on goal. Today the Caps had 30 shots on goal with 18 of them in the second period alone.
  • Boyd Gordon had himself an excellent game today with not one but two passes that sprung teammates Matt "Princess" Pettinger and Tomas Fleischmann for breakaway goals. El Gordo deserved one of the stars of today's game.
  • I know it is enemy ice, but when I can hear the Caps Fan Club and the Road Crew cheering in the background on Caps goals, there's something wrong with your fan base.
  • The Penalty Killers were a perfect 4 for 4 today and the overall team defensive effort was strong. Brent Johnson did not need to stand on his head to get his first win since taking over from Olie Kolzig and when he put himself out of position, the Caps backchecked well enough to bail him out.

THE BAD:

  • The Devils have to be the only team in the NHL who draws energy from killing penalties and with our Power Play, that's exactly what happened. The Power Play was 0 for 4 but not for a lack of effort. Bordeur had his act together killing penalties today. But what put this into the bad category is the TWO instances where the Devils got an odd-man rush right out of the penalty box. One is understandable, two is unacceptable.
  • If it hadn't been for his nice breakaway goal and assist today, Alexander Semin would be a prime candidate for a benching after taking two more lazy and stupid hooking penalties. Jakub "and Sons" Klepis got himself demoted to Hershey for the exact same reason only Klepis wasn't scoring. Much was made about A.O.'s need to improve his defensive game, well, Semin is even further behind A.O. on that score.

THE UGLY:

  • John Erskine Bowles was about to add to my plate of crow today but couldn't help himself. I was going to compliment him on not running around like a madman today and taking himself out of position. I was going to give him kudos for the great job he did on the 2-on-1 he defended. I wasn't going to jump on him for a couple of pathetic clearing attempts and I wasn't going to mention deflecting a shot into his own net. But when he decided to fight Cam Janssen in the third period, all of that was out the window. First of all, he fights about as well as GOD (Stephenpeat) did. Erskine Bowles could have just pumped left jabs all afternoon into Janssen's chin and didn't bother (but at least he locked the smaller guy out). Secondly, the timing of the fight was about as bad as he could have chosen. The Caps were up 4-1 and actually had a rush going when Erskine Bowles accepted Janssen's challenge. Finally accepting a trade of a defensman playing a good game for a fourth liner who sees limited icetime with seven and half minutes to go is just brain dead. Janssen was looking to "get his team going" with that fight and Erskine Bowles would have been much better advised to skate away. But when you suck like Erskine Bowles does, you just can't help yourself.

So the Caps break their skid. Any plans the Devils may have had to play Scott Clemmensen in tomorrow's return bout have likely been scrapped. Because the Caps face the Devils again tomorrow, I don't think this was the breakout that we've been waiting for. Much confidence the Caps gain from this will be effected by the return bout tomorrow afternoon. But for 24 hours we can enjoy beating the Devils because we haven't done it too often recently.

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

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