Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Caps @ Predators 3-10-2009 Post-Mortem

Took long enough... Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

THE GOOD:
  • Sergei (#3) Fedorov adding his valuable veteran leadership and experience by scoring the game winning goal in overtime but also winning a gaudy 70% of his faceoffs tonight going 16-7 in the circle.
  • Nicklas Backstrom also had an outstanding game. He figured out that Nashville was playing typical of teams built by David "Bud" Poile and found all kinds of defensemen wide open for shots from the point because Nashville had everybody packed below the faceoff circles. His goal was icing on the cake.
  • It's too bad that Alexander "Slappy" Semin had his goal scoring streak ended tonight. Slappy once again was the best skater on the ice creating most of the Caps offense, taking a game high 8 shots on goal with 6 others that were blocked and 5 that missed everything, while Nashville put the glove on A.O.
  • While Nashville did a good job of slowing down A.O., he came on late in the game and got the primary assist on Nick Backstrom's goal in the second period. That point ties him for 14th with Bobby Carpenter on the Caps All Time Scoring list with 395 points. Up next is Kelly Miller with 408.

THE BAD:

  • The Caps needed 44 shots on goal to score just two goals. Why? Well, not a lot of traffic in front of the net again tonight. Thank David "Bud" Poile hockey for this one because Nashville tried to sit on a 1-0 lead for 59 minutes.
  • All we'll say about Tomas Fleischmann's disallowed goal is, we've seen that get counted before.

THE UGLY:

  • The first 49 seconds of the game were as ugly of hockey as we've seen this team play this year. With Nashville's record after scoring first, that was not the kind of the start the Caps needed, especially looking to break out of a four game losing streak.
  • Nick Backstrom went on to have a very good game tonight but his attempt to skate the puck out of the zone at the start of the game (which was easily ripped off) wins tonight's John "Coach's Pet" Erskine Bowles Bonehead Play of the Game Award. Ice the darn puck when you're under siege like that.
  • For the first time since the very first game of the season in Atlanta, the Caps were involved in three fights. None of which proved anything and the crowd was asleep for large portions of the game too.

First and foremost, if there was any doubt about this team's toughness, both mentally and physically, they were answered tonight. Sure, this wasn't the Philadelphia Flyers we were playing, but Nashville is a team that is in desperate need of points late in the season. How often recently have we seen the Caps fold after falling behind? We have to admit, we were scared in the second period as the shots started to pile up that we would see a replay of the game in Philadelphia where the Caps fired everything and then some at Antero Nittymaki and came away with a 7-1 loss. But the Caps kept plugging away tonight and got the game tied. After seeing their lead wiped out, they withstood another Nashville rush and eventually got the win. Kudos also go out to Jose "Alvin, Simon," Theodore who held down the fort and Shaone Morrrissonnn and Mike "BEAM ME UP" Green who threw some pretty big hits during the game tonight. This is the level of commitment we've been looking for. Now if the Caps can only sustain it, we'd feel a little more comfortable heading into the playoffs. And speaking of the playoffs, the Magic Number for a playoff spot is now down to 17. The 5th Division Title will be earned in 19 points. Tampa Bay (the presumed favorite to win the Southeast Division at the beginning of the season) has been eliminated from the Division Title chase and Atlanta will be wiped out with one more point or a Caps regulation win against the Thrashers.

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

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