Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Caps vs. Hurricanes 4-1-2008 Post-Mortem

Good grief people... We haven't even locked up at least 9th place yet... Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

THE GOOD:
  • A sure sign that it was a big game and the Caps came ready to play tonight was Alexander Semin laying somebody out with a clean open ice hit in the first period. Semin played the first and second periods the way everybody was expecting A.O. to play tonight. The Caps needed that too because Carolina was dead set on not letting A.O. beat them and did a good job of containing him. In the third period however, Semin reverted to form which is what is so maddening about the kid. When he wants to be, he's as good if not a better player than A.O. and that is what is so scary about him.
  • And speaking of A.O., he's now just one goal shy of tying Kelly Miller for 10th on the Caps All-Time Goal Scoring list. With 110 points on the season and now a six point lead on Evgeni Malkin-Lindros; I'm not ready to declare the Art Ross Trophy race over yet like I am the Rocket Richard Trophy Race. But I will note that over the final two games of the season, Malkin-Lindros will need to be 7 points better than A.O. to win the Art Ross Trophy because A.O. would win the tiebreaker (goals scored).
  • Up 3-1 heading into the third period, the Caps not only clamped down on the Hurricanes allowing only 8 shots on goal (and with five defensemen available) but continued to attack while running out the clock. That ability will become very important should they sneak into the playoffs.
  • We'll admit to thinking "great, we're going to get hosed" when we saw that Dave Jackson was the referee for tonight's game but I'll give him and Brad Watson credit for twice calling goaltender interference on Carolina. We could have used those calls a week ago but I'm glad we got them tonight.

THE BAD:

  • Tonight's game was not without a loss, Shaone Morrisonn went down in the first period and did not return. It doesn't look good his return to the lineup soon either, especially if it is his shoulder. Expect to see Sami Lepisto back so Steve Eminger can keep his normal shift in the Press Box.

THE UGLY:

  • Well, it is somewhat a moot point with a three goal win but the John "Coach's Pet" Erskine Bowles Bonehead Play of the Game Award goes to its namesake again as the dim-witted-slow-footed defensman put the Caps down two men while protecting a one goal lead in the second period with a high sticking penalty. Adding further insult to the injury was that penalty put two of our five remaining defensemen into the Penalty Box and Mike "BEAM ME UP" Green still isn't trusted to kill penalties. A close second was his turnover at the Caps blueline in the third period that almost lead to a Carolina goal.

In some ways I feel sorry for the Tampa Bay Lightning who, despite already being in Raleigh waiting on the Canes, get to feel the brunt of Carolina's frustrations tomorrow night. The Caps got almost all the breaks tonight and Carolina was completely frustrated by the way tonight's game played out which is why the margin was so big. Now before you begin salivating over the prospect of playing Ottawa in the first round, let me remind you again that Carolina holds the tiebreaker over us. If Carolina comes away with four points in their last two games, it doesn't matter what the Caps do. And should Tampa and/or Florida knock off Carolina in Raleigh, we will have to play those exact same teams the following night. This isn't over, not by a longshot.

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

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