Saturday, February 07, 2009

Caps vs. Panthers 2-7-2009 Post-Mortem

We never do things the easy way do we??? Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

THE GOOD:
  • With the win, the Caps have knocked the "Magic Number" for wrapping up a division title down to 46 points. Pending the outcome of the Carolina-Phoenix game (Carolina leads 4-2 after two periods), the Magic Number for wrapping up a playoff spot is 43 points.
  • Another game, another goal less than one minute into the game. But what has to be the best news is that the Caps didn't get sloppy and careless like they did on Thursday night. Consider that lesson learned.
  • Mike "BEAM ME UP" Green is absolutely on fire right now. Another two goals tonight, including the game winner, and extended his team record for defensemen goal scoring streak to six games.
  • And of course the much maligned Penalty Killers deserve a tip of the cap for killing off the last 5:56 of the game, including a 1:05 5 -on-3 and a 5:01 major penalty, without allowing as much as a whiff of a good chance. The unit almost suffered some more bad bounces in the second period but put an end to a streak of 13 straight game in which they allowed a Power Play goal.
  • Looking to simplify the game, the Caps took 39 shots tonight. Only Michael "Meadowlark" Nylander passed up an obvious scoring opportunity tonight.

THE BAD:

  • Getting back to Green, he scores two goals, including the game winner but is not one of the three stars? Tough crowd.
  • We admit that this is a bit of a nit pick, but with the Caps facing Florida 5 more times this season heading into tonight's game, we expected a greater sense of urgency out of the Caps. We didn't see it from the Caps and to be perfectly fair, we didn't see it from Florida either who is fighting for a playoff spot. While this game was nowhere near any kind of MUST WIN, it was important for the Caps to win this game tonight because the Caps still have three trips to South Florida on the schedule. While a 14 point lead is comfortable, there's only 9 weeks left in the season and the Caps are quickly running out of time to raise their level of play in preparation for the playoffs.

THE UGLY:

  • We happen to think that the call on Shaone Morrrissonnn was iffy at best and understand that hits from behind along the wall is a point of emphasis for the referees this year. However what we fail to understand is why the Caps were not required to place a player in the box for Morrrissonnn? The penalty was assessed at 14:59, meaning there would be 1 second left on the clock when the penalty ended. That could have been the difference between winning the game or losing the game. Yes we are complaining about 1 second but folks, there's no reason why the Caps should have not been allowed to return to full strength after killing the five minute penalty.

The bigger test for the Caps in regard to Florida will come next Sunday in Sunrise. If the Caps are able to win that game, they should pretty much be in the clear of the Panthers for the rest of the season. Right now, only 10 of the final 28 games come against teams currently in the playoffs. If the Caps can step up their intensity, they will easily wrap up another Division title, pull away from the mess that is the Atlantic Division, finish in the top four of the league, and with some luck, catch Boston to claim the #1 seed. However, the Caps need to step up their play because the longer they wait, the harder it will be to fine tune for the playoffs.

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

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