Thursday, March 12, 2009

Caps @ Flyers 3-12-2009 Post-Mortem

Now we can say we're out of the funk... Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

THE GOOD:
  • A.O. with the game winning goal and an assist tonight giving him two more points on the season for a total of 87. A.O. now has 397 in his career with 211 goals. The game winning goal is his 10th this season which ties him with Patrick Marleau for the league lead. It is his 34th GWG of his career and moves him into 3rd on the Caps All-Time Game Winning goal list. Next up in that category is Mike Gartner with 54. He's 11 points behind Kelly Miller in 13th place on the All-Time Points list and 7 goals behind Mike Ridley for 3rd on the Goal Scoring list.
  • Another character win for the Caps with Mr. Donald Brashear nursing a "sprained knee," Matt "Omar" Bradley sporting a visor, and John "Coach's Pet" Erskine Bowles trying to avoid a career ending concussion. It wasn't as if the Flyers weren't up to their usual tricks of trying to goad everybody into fights and retaliation penalties as the Caps won their fifth straight game on the road for the first time since 2001.
  • Not only did the Caps convert on one of their two Power Plays tonight, they held the Flyers Penalty Killers, who have scored the most shorthanded goals in the league to no shots on goal. Great play by A.O. in the third period to thwart Simon Gagne where he got the puck before taking out the player.

THE BAD:

  • For some reason here recently, the Caps don't like to play the second period very much. While A.O. did get the game winner in that frame, the Flyers took 19 shots on goal. Luckily Jose "Alvin, Simon," Theodore was up to the task because if he wasn't...
  • Sergei (#3) Fedorov was a late scratch because he is fighting the flu was replaced by Alexandre Giroux who took two penalties in the first period. Take some NyQuil, Theraflu, or something Sergei!

THE UGLY:

  • Yeah, NOW we have a goal waived off because of incidental contact with a goaltender. (Us??? Bitter??? No...)
  • While 19 of them came in the second period, the Caps allowed 39 shots on goal tonight. That's not going to get it done most nights but those people who have been cracking on our goaltending should note this performance. Our defense is a bigger problem than our goaltending.
  • We don't put much stock in faceoff stats, but the Caps were abused in the circle tonight winning only 33% of them. Michael "Meadowlark" Nylander continued to help his trade value by going 1 and 8.

We said it a couple of weeks ago and we'll say it again now in spite of this win, we want no parts of the Flyers in the playoffs. They're a team that is as big, fast, and skilled as us and are more than willing to play dirty. We do believe that tonight's win was huge because the Caps passed their last large test before the playoffs begin but that does not mean we think that we can beat Philadelphia in a seven game series. The Caps earned half the points available to them against the Flyers this season, but remember, it took a gimmick to get one of those points. But this is a huge win because you need at least 90 points to enter the playoff discussion and the Caps now have exactly that. The magic number for clinching a spot is currently 14 but could drop to 13 pending the outcome of the Carolina-Dallas game (Stars lead 3-1 in the third). The Caps also officially eliminated the Atlanta Thrashers giving them three of the seven teams they need to claim a spot. Toronto will be gone in 3 points and Ottawa in 4 after tonight's games. But getting back to tonight's game, we have to say that for the first time this season, we feel relatively comfortable about the Caps ability to compete in the playoffs. They're still a month away but with the easy slate of games they have down the stretch, the Caps should be in fine shape heading into the first round. The only thing to worry about is the focus as Carolina, Atlanta, Florida, Tampa Bay, Toronto, the Buffaslugs, and Islanders won't give us the kind of battles and challenges the Flyers and Predators did. But at least for now we can go to bed secure in the knowledge that the slump has been busted.

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

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