Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Caps vs. Buffaslugs 12-23-2009 Post-Mortem

We may have to rethink some things here...  Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

THE GOOD:
  • Brendan Morrrissonn finally breaks his slump and atoned a bit for missing two wide open nets against Ryan Miller two weeks ago by finally getting the puck over an outstretched Miller.  It turned out to be the game winner too.
  • Nicklas Backstrom with two goals tonight and Alexander "Slappy" Semin notching two assists.  Nobody can complain about the efforts or output of the first line tonight with a combined 7 points.
  • And the other third of the top line, A.O. with a goal and two assists tonight, giving him 44 points on the season, 464 in his career, 10 points behind St. Calle Johansson for 7th on the Caps All-Time Scoring list, 7 goals away from 250 in his career.
  • Mike "BEAM ME UP" Green with a goal and an assist but also a team high +2 on the night.  As loyal and patriotic Americans, we hope he's left off of Team Canada.
  • The Power Play finally got a chance and even a 51 second 5-on-3 Power Play and converted both Power Plays on only 2 shots.  It doesn't get much better than that.
  • Despite the Whats? playing their heated rivals from Harvard in front of a raucous 7,613 at noon today, the ice didn't look too terribly bad.  We have two more of the Basketball-Hockey Doubleheaders to contend with.
THE BAD:
  • Slappy getting cross-checked in the head after getting knocked down in the crease with no call being made. Paul Devorski was one of the refs on Thanksgiving Eve when the Caps did not a single Power Play and for most of tonight, it looked as if history was going to repeat itself.
  • After allowing just 4 shots on goal in the first period, the Caps gave up 20 in the second period alone.
THE UGLY:
  • Well the sequence that led to the Buffaslugs first goal has us really scratching our heads.  First there was Mike Knuble cherry knicking coming out of the penalty box.  Then there was Brooks "and Dunn" Laich trying to lob him a pass from deep in his own zone which misfired.  After the misfire, Knuble just went to the bench and didn't try to get back into a play that was heading back into the Caps zone.  Then Tom Poti misplayed the resulting 2-on-1 allowing the cross-ice pass to get through.  In spite of all of that, Michal "Bebe" Neuvirth was square to Paul Gaustad when he shot but still let the shot get through him and into the goal.  We don't know exactly who to the blame but that whole thing is the John "Coach's Pet" Erskine Bowles Bonehead Play of the Game.
Well folks, so much for jet lag and being caught up in the holiday season, 15 shots on goal in the first period alone put that notion to rest.  But what we like the most was that the Caps once again got out to an early lead and didn't have to struggle to close out the game.  This is a good sign because it shows us that the team is finally starting to mature.  Too many times we've the Caps score a quick goal at the start of the game and lose control of it but twice now, we've gotten the early goals and cruised to a win.  And another note on Neuvirth tonight, he seemed relatively solid until he gave up the first goal when he then seemed to lose him composure a bit.  He's still very much a rookie and he still needs work but it was good to see the team rally around him and stake him out to a three goal lead in the third period because that allowed him to relax again.  The Caps now head into the Christmas Break in an outstanding position and have started this lighter stretch of the schedule on the right note.  Saturday night will be another good test for this team.

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

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