Saturday, December 29, 2007

Caps @ Senators 12-29-2007 Post-Mortem

Well.... THAT was a real defensive struggle... Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

THE GOOD:

  • In the last game of December, A.O. got his annual December Hat Trick on the road. Though this time he did it in regulation and let somebody else score along with him. A.O. is now at 246 points in his career with tonight's four goals and one assist. He's all alone in 25th on the Caps All-Time Scoring list and is 22 points behind Alan Haworth for 24th. (Though don't expect A.O. to be the NHL's first star of the night. Canadian Diving Team Captain, Secondary Assist Cindy Crosby had two assists tonight so A.O. will have to settle for NHL's Second Star)
  • While he had only an assist, was a +2, and had 5 shots on goal, Viktor Kozlov had a good game tonight. His goal scoring drought continues but he played about as hard as I've seen him play recently. If he keeps it up, he'll break the goal scoring drought.
  • Michael Nylander with two goals tonight but only a +1?
  • Alexander Semin got things going tonight with an excellent strip behind the net to score the first goal and then two assists. I think this is more what Bruce Boudreau had in mind when he said Semin needs to score more consistently. While the goal was nice, his uncharacteristic passing of the puck to Nylander (one of Nylander's two goals) on a two-on-one for the sixth goal was a big play tonight.
  • The eight goals tonight is a season high.

THE BAD:

  • We needed all eight goals to win this game and that should never be the case. Though you wouldn't have thought that would need all eight goals after giving up just two shots on goal in the first period. I couldn't tell if Ottawa finally broke through or if we started to back off thinking the lead was safe.
  • Most of the six goals allowed tonight you can't blame Olie Kolzig for (mostly every goal in the Mike Fisher Hat Trick) but every single player who faces Kolzig on a Penalty Shot or in the gimmick will deke their way to their backhand until Kolzig proves he can stop that move. Furthermore, the goal he gave up to Jason Spezza was the nightly "Wish I Had That One Back" goal. That goal gave Ottawa all kinds of life and made the third period more interesting than it should have been.
  • David "Bolt Cutter" Steckel is the only Cap in the negative tonight with a -1. His linemates, Quintin Laing was even, and Matt "Omar" Bradley was a +1. To add insult to injury, he was 7-9 on faceoffs tonight which is supposed to be his strong suit.

THE UGLY:

  • The Power Play was 2-for-6 tonight but allowed two shorthanded goals. Both shorthanded goals allowed are a direct result of the insistence of putting A.O. on the point AND playing the first Power Play Unit for a majority of the Power Play time. The first Power Play unit of A.O., Nicklas Backstrom, Semin, Nylander, and Mike "BEAM ME UP" Green played, 7:11, 7:20, 6:31, 6:17, and 6:42 respectively of 9:32 of Power Play time. The worst part is that we knew going into the game that Ottawa excelled at scoring shorthanded goals (they were tied for second in the league entering the game tonight) and yet the coaching staff made no adjustments until after the second shorty had been given up.
  • While Ottawa's Power Play is surprisingly mediocre, the Caps still took too many penalties tonight, giving up six Power Play opportunities. Though some of the calls made by Dave Jackson and Chris Rooney were cheap.

A big key to winning tonight was that like last December's surprise of the Buffaslugs at the Phone Booth, the Caps scored early, often, and never let up. While there are people who like this kind of game; giving up six goals in a game where you score eight goals, never trail in the game, and were only tied for 61 seconds is not good. You can't do much of anything about fluky stuff and deflections are going to happen. But the Caps went into the third period tonight with a three goal lead and allowed 4 goals on 12 shots. We need better goaltending and defense than that. However, the offense bailed us out tonight and while it doesn't look like A.O. will start the All-Star game this year, he is making a strong case for the Hart Trophy because there's no doubt that without him, this team would be really lost.

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

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