Saturday, December 15, 2007

Caps @ Ning 12-15-2007 Post-Mortem

I'll take it... Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

THE GOOD:
  • The Caps had great forechecking and offensive pressure all night getting 32 shots on goal and holding the Ning to only 25.
  • Another night, another Top Ten Power Play unit held scoreless by the Caps Penalty Killers as the Caps went 4-for-4 in the Penalty Killing Department tonight. There were a very hairy moments but they got the job done.
  • At 5' nothing Martin St. Louis can sometimes be hard to find on the ice amongst the trees but he was absolutely invisible tonight. Vincent Lecavlier had two points tonight but St. Louis was held without a point and was only credited with three shots on goal.

THE BAD:

  • A.O. ended up tonight -2 and had his point streak broken. Even worse was him flubbing his wide open breakaway in the third period. That gave the Ning a bit of life and had the Caps back on their heels for a bit.
  • And speaking of minus players, Mike "BEAM ME UP" Green followed up his -3 from last night with a -2 tonight. Call me crazy but I do think defensemen should be able to play some defense. Since getting that great ink after the Rangers game, he's now -5 and could be a candidate for a turn in the Press Box.
  • The Caps held the Ning without a shot for over 11 minutes in the second period. Yet the Ning had 7 total in the period which means all 7 came in the first 8-9 minutes of the second period.

THE UGLY:

  • Brent Johnson should have had a shutout tonight. Both goals he let in were soft though Vaclav Prospal should have been called for interference on the second goal. After leaving the drop pass for Lecavlier, he drove straight at the Caps defender and made it impossible for him to cover Lecavlier. It is a moving pick which is illegal and those aren't called nearly often enough.
  • Flip Kuba's high stick/slash on A.O. in the second period was as clear cut a case for a 5 minute penalty as I've seen in a long time that just wasn't called. How in the world Paul Devorski and Tim Kowal thought it was only worth a double minor is beyond me. (Though Devorski was the ref who flubbed the infamous Colorado-Detroit game years ago now.) It doesn't matter that A.O. didn't miss a shift and played almost all of the ensuing four minute Power Play, Kuba's play was dangerous and totally unnecessary. Hopefully the NHL Front Office will step in an suspend him for a game or two but I'm not holding my breath. With all the talk of cutting down on the headshots and stickwork, this should be an automatic call for Colin Campbell.
  • And speaking of the Power Play, while they went 1-for-6 tonight with Brian Pothier bagging the game winning goal, they once again blew a long 5-on-3 in addition to the four minute power play. Bruce Boudreau has pulled a page out of Glen Hanlon's coaching manual and placed A.O. back on the point and at one point in last night's game, I saw Mr. Donald Brashear skating on the second unit. Putting Alexander Semin on the second unit (which was the plan before the season started) and allowing A.O. to sit high in the slot on the first unit again seems to be the better idea.

With the shaky start that the Caps got off to tonight, it is a mild surprise that they came away with a win tonight. There's still a lot for the Caps to work on but at least the Caps were able to bear down after Johnny gave up his second soft goal of the night and made the night easier for him by allowing just 10 shots on goal over the last 34+ minutes. The fact that the Caps got this win without much offensive production from the usual suspects again is a huge help. We'll get a good idea as to how good the Caps are on Monday night but for now, take some satisfaction in a job well done.

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

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