Friday, March 27, 2009

Caps vs. Ning 3-27-2009 Post-Mortem

Well, we can't blame this one on Jeff "Sergeant" Schultz... Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

THE GOOD:
  • Congratulations to Brian Pothier, I think we can say he's completely back from the concussion he suffered over a year ago as he scored his first goal of the season tonight and it turned out to be the game winning goal too.
  • Nicklas Backstrom with a pair of "dirty goals" tonight. But he seemed to be much more at ease skating on the second line.
  • Brooks "and Dunn" Laich continued his solid play picking up three assists tonight and a goal that was eventually waived off.
  • Oh yeah, that A.O. guy. He notched two more goals and two more assists, running his goal total for the season to 53, 216 in his career which puts him two goals behind Mike Ridley for 3rd on the Caps All-Time Goal Scoring list. He now has 100 points for the third time in his career and for the second season in a row. He passes Kelly Miller for 13th on the Caps All-Time Scoring list and is now six points behind Sergei Gonchar for 12th at 416 points. In case you're wondering, he needs 10 more points this season to get to Kevin Hatcher who is 10th at 426. Finally, he's six points behind Malkin-Lindros in the Art Ross race. We happen to think if he's within 10 points of the Art Ross trophy and wins the Richard by at least 10 goals, there's no discussion about who the MVP is.

THE BAD:

  • Matt Smaby tried to take a run at A.O., he ended up getting punked the rest of the first period and knocked out of the game after the first.
  • The Power Play went 3 for 9 on a night that the Ning couldn't stay out of the penalty box. What makes this frustrating was the 3 for 5 start the Caps got off to in the first period, which means they went 0 for 4 for the rest of the game. Simply put, they got away from what made them 3 for 5 in the first period and it almost cost them dearly.
  • The Caps built a 3-1 lead in the first period and allowed the Ning to tie the game up again in the third period. Even worse, the Caps had diminishing returns in shots on goal taking 16 in the first period, 13 in the second, and then 10 in the third.

THE UGLY:

  • Tom Poti continues to stink up the joint. When can we get him out of there? He's making John "Coach's Pet" Erskine Bowles look steady.
  • We were not impressed with the game that Gord Dwyer and Kelly Sutherland called tonight. Oddly enough, we mildly agree on the Laich goal wash out because Michael "Meadowlark" Nylander was camped out in the crease though we don't think he made contact with Mike McKenna. To say that their standards were uneven would be generous though because the Caps aren't likely to be playing games of serious consequence, we'll be seeing referees who won't be working the playoffs for the remainder of the regular season.

Well folks, we have a couple of bits of good news. The New Jersey Devils lost in overtime in Chicago so the Caps now sit alone in second place, up on the Devils by one point. However, Joisey does have two games in hand. Secondly, the magic number for the Caps clinching the Southeast Division is now down to three points. Though the Canes are sitting in New Jersey waiting to play the Devils there tomorrow night. While tonight wasn't a full sixty minute effort, the Caps once again showed the signs of doing some of the things that they need to do in order to win in the playoffs. They played physical with a team trying to play physical with them. We mentioned earlier Smaby getting punked all over the ice, Sergei (#3) Fedorov was one of the Caps joining the Smaby hit parade. That's a good sign. The Caps also got some "dirty goals" tonight. They were in front of the net, setting screens and fighting for rebounds. While the Caps close out their first losing month this season, but we finally have some reason to feel better. There's still some fine tuning to be done, but we can be happy for one night that the team is getting back to the basics that they'll need in April.

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

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