Saturday, April 19, 2008

Game 5 Caps vs. Flyers 4-19-2008 Post-Mortem

Darn it, I can't donate blood again until June 14th... Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

THE GOOD:
  • Sergei (#3) Fedorov had his best game since coming to the Caps at the deadline. What made it all the more enjoyable is that he was clearly targeted by the Flyers for physical abuse today and despite his advanced age, it didn't deter him.
  • How much did the Caps want to win this game? Shaone Morrrissonnn was clearing people from the side of the net and Steve Eminger was throwing nice open ice hits. Those who think this is a soft team and soft blueline need to think again. They're showing they can get the job done when they need to.
  • Alexander Semin continued his strong series again today (which of course means he's going to be taking a game or two off soon) and Nicklas Backstrom is benefiting from a reduced role. Both players had Power Play goals today as the Power Play was 2 for 6 but is starting to look dangerous again. Just in time.
  • Another point about the Power Play today, is that it staked the Caps to the lead and it was on the first Power Play chance they got in the game. The Caps needed to get out to a lead and needed to make the Flyers pay for taking penalties. Something they haven't done enough of in this series as today was the first time in this series we did not trail at any point during the game.
  • The Caps outshot the Flyers 12-4 in the first period and dominated the Flyers for the first half of the game.
  • He's now gone four games without a goal and didn't register a point today, but A.O. was a factor in today's game getting six shots on goal and officially being credited with 3 hits. A.O. was hitting everything just about everything in sight and as long as the other players who can score goals, score goals, he doesn't need to as the Flyers continue to focus their defense on him.

THE BAD:

  • 26 shots on goal but 24 shots blocked and 15 missing everything. A good bit of it is the Flyers standing three of their own players in front on Biron (so he can't blow the series for them) but the Caps need better shot selection.
  • Soft, soft goal allowed by Cristobal "WE MUST PROTECT THIS HOUSE" Huet in the third period after Semin had put the Caps up 3-1. Maybe he was cold because he didn't much work in the first two periods but he has to remain sharp throughout the game.

THE UGLY:

  • We watched our recording of the game and still can't figure out what Federov held in the second period to get the penalty called on him to give the Flyers a 5-on-3.
  • When protecting a lead and closing out a game, most teams suffocate their opponents. They give them nothing and grind out the clock. The Caps today however allowed the Flyers 21 shots on goal in the third period alone...
  • Did you really think we would forget? Today's John "Coach's Pet" Erskine Bowles Bonehead Play of the Game Award goes to its namesake for his running across the ice to protect Semin in the early first period scrum. While we understand his desire to protect a valuable player, did the slow-footed, dim-witted defenseman think he would not take a penalty himself by the way he charged into the pile? We also note that it is the fastest we've ever seen Erskine Bowles move.

Well the Caps live to fight another day. We're a little concerned that while Biron looked to be fighting the puck again in the third period after Semin scored that UA allowed a soft goal and the Flyers as a whole didn't seem to be rattled by the Caps dominating large portions of this game and winning today. The Flyers seemed almost content to let the Caps win this game so they could close it out on home ice in front of their home fans on Monday night. Well, careful what you wish for because while the Flyers still have their confidence intact, the Caps are gaining confidence and now have some momentum on their side heading up I-95.

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