Saturday, February 16, 2008

Caps @ Ning 2-16-2008 Post-Mortem

Nothing is over until we decide it is... Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

THE GOOD:
  • It was the second night in a row that A.O. was kept off the score sheet but the Caps were still able to post three goals and win the game. During this "mini slump" for A.O., the secondary scoring we've been seeking has slowly begun to emerge.
  • Tomas Fleischmann is making the two year contract extension look like a good idea with goals in back-to-back games. Playing with A.O. is going to open up the ice for him but because he's not going to the net at all seems to be a lot of the reason why A.O. hasn't had a point since Flash joined the first line.
  • One penalty was called on us tonight but that was not the number we committed. We got away with a lot tonight.

THE BAD:

  • They say that Olie Kolzig plays better when he sees a large number of shots and boy did he ever see a lot of pucks tonight. 41 for the game and 24 in the second period alone. That second period was ridiculous. At some point in time, with that many shots on goal, something is going to go in no matter how well Kolzig plays.
  • Mike "BEAM ME UP" Green had an excellent game in Atlanta on Wednesday night but has followed it up with two lesser performances. He made another bad turnover at the blueline tonight though some of it has to do with the forwards blowing the zone way too early. At least it didn't end up in the back of our net tonight.
  • A.O. had twice as many missed and blocked shots tonight than he did actually make it on goal.

THE UGLY:

  • I can't reiterate enough just how bad that second period was defensively. The Ning had 17 shots combined in the first and third periods. We've got to get tighter defensively and play well for a full 60 minutes if we want to make the playoffs.
  • What to do about Viktor Kozlov? Place him on the first line and the first line is all but unstoppable, put him on the second line and it takes off while the first line continues to produce. However, when he's on the second line, he plays center and stinks up the joint in the faceoff circle. He was 2-7 tonight on faceoffs.
  • The last time the Caps were in the playoffs, John Tortorella continually got his top line out against the again St. Calle Johansson and it paid dividends as then Head Coach Bruce Cassidy (and the Sundance Kid) had no answer to St. Calle getting burned by Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis other than benching St. Calle. Tonight Tortorella got his top line out for an offensive zone faceoff against John "Coach's Pet" Erskine Bowles and Steve Eminger in the third period. The Ning quickly scored a goal off a scramble in front and it started a roll where the Ning erased a 2-0 deficit. I know the home team has the last line change but Bruce Boudreau got burned tonight on that one to win the John "Coach's Pet" Erskine Bowles Boneheaded Move of the Game award. There's no reason to put those two (especially Erksine Bowles) out there in that situation.

So the three game road trip ends up with six points and the Caps avoid the Florida wipe out by forging a split. I don't think these new lines are the answer and I'm somewhat disappointed that Eric Fehr has moved into the healthy scratch category so quickly. I thought he was fitting in on the first line and with some time, could have been really productive. However with the playoff race being what it is, I guess there isn't time to let him settle in but A.O. and Nicklas Backstrom need somebody to go to the net. Fleischmann is not that guy and even though he's scored two goals in two games since being moved to the first line, he's actually been less impressive up there than Fehr was who has registered just a single point this season. But again, at least the trip ended on a positive note.

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

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