Saturday, February 14, 2009

Caps @ Ning 2-14-2009 Post-Mortem

Well, we got the job done... Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

THE GOOD:
  • Normally when a player is approaching a record like Mike "BEAM ME UP" Green was tonight, the rest of the team force feeds everything to that player in an attempt to help him make history. That was not the case tonight as Green broke the record in the second period of tonight's game. The streak will eventually come to an end but for now, he's clearly the hottest player in the league.
  • A.O. gets to work on his next 100 goals by scoring his 201st goal, his first (DUH!) since scoring his 200th NHL goal against the Kings on February 5th. He's 17 goals behind Mike Ridely for 3rd on the Caps All-Time Goal Scoring list. He is now sixteen points behind Bobby Carpenter (395) for 14th on the Caps All-Time Scoring list. Oh, and another game winner; his 8th on the season, 32nd of his career, tying him with Mike Ridley for 4th on the Caps All-Time Game Winning Goals list.
  • In our opinion, Michal Neuvirth in his NHL debut looked more impressive than Simeon Varlamov did in his NHL debut. We know that Varlamov debuted in Montreal, on Hockey Night in Canada, but Neuvirth faced a more potent offense tonight and wasn't able to feed off the adrenaline rush the dead Tampa crowd was providing. Having Mom and Dad sitting in the stands probably didn't ease his nerves either. Neuvirth also looked more in control than Varlamov though that likely has more to do with their contrasting styles. However, both goaltenders could use more time in Hershey to hone their skills for the NHL game.
  • As we mentioned this morning, we were concerned about too much sun and sand finding their way into the Caps skates, and fortunately, that wasn't the case tonight.

THE BAD:

  • As impressive as Neuvirth was tonight, CW says that the Caps would have played tighter defense in front of him. That wasn't the case as he faced 28 shots in the first two periods along with multiple breakaways for and other prime scoring chances from Vincent Lecavlier. The Caps did bear down and only allowed 4 shots in the third period, but can also thank a Tampa team that gave up in that period.
  • We like Eric Fehr and think he has a solid NHL future ahead of him but continue to be bitterly disappointed by his lack of production this season. Yes, he did score a goal in the third period but twice had prime chances and just simply didn't convert. For a guy who is supposed to be a goal scorer, he simply has to start burying more of his chances.
  • Staffan Kronwall showed us why he couldn't make the Maple Leafs out of camp and why Toronto is in such trouble that they had to try to recall him.

THE UGLY:

  • We were not too impressed with the officiating of Brian Pochmara and Tom Kowal tonight. Too much Tampa stick work against the Caps went uncalled and to be fair, the Caps got away with some stuff too. But with the way the Ning were trying to bait the Caps tonight, it is a minor miracle this game didn't turn ugly.
  • With a 2 on 0 from the Ning blueline, A.O. and Tom Poti Green (just watched the highlights again, we thought it was Poti because we got tired of watching him pass up shots all night long. Bleatings From a Caps Nut Regrets the error...) botch the play and come away with nothing. Not even a shot on goal. Poti Green had a layup if he wanted it but passed it back and behind A.O. to blow the chance; that our friends is the John "Coach's Pet" Erskine Bowles Bonehead Play of the Game winner tonight. Poti added to this ignominity tonight when he on two other occasions passed up prime scoring opportunities. Just score the darn goal and be done with it.
  • Matt Smaby, -3. Might we suggest Coach Tocchet not putting him out against the A.O. line?

In the third period tonight the Caps looked to be conserving energy for the real test which comes tomorrow night in Florida. As for tonight, the thing that worries us the most was how cute the Caps tried to get after they built a 3-0 lead. We can't allow that to creep into our game because it will come back to haunt us. As tonight showed, the simpler the Caps play, the better of they are. Standings wise, the Caps kept pace with Joisey and picked up a point on Boston who lost in gimmick at Nashville. Carolina's 5-1 loss to Columbus on home ice shaved the Caps magic number for a playoff spot down to 36.

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

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