Thursday, February 04, 2010

Caps @ Rangers 2-4-2010 Post-Mortem

How's it going to end???  Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

THE GOOD:
  • Jose "Alvin, Simon," Theodore had a strong game despite allowing 5 goals, many of which he could do nothing about.  Though we would have liked a save on Vaclav Prospal's first goal just 10 seconds after the Caps tied up the game in the first period.  However, Theodore came up with 16 saves in the first period alone and 33 for the game.
  • Captain A.O. with two goals and an assist tonight running his career total to 501 points, 80 on the season taking over the top spot in the NHL in the Art Ross race.  His 38 goals are also good for the NHL lead (he has the tie breaker over Patrick Marleau).
  • Nicklas Backstrom with the game winning goal and four assists.  He now has 69 points on the season and is quietly turning into a superstar player.
  • Where the Power Play couldn't come through on Tuesday night, it cashed in tonight against a good Penalty Killing unit going 3 for 9.
THE BAD:
  • Make that three bad first periods in a row.  We thought the Caps owned the first period?
  • For a team with one of the worst Penalty Killing units on the road, the Caps played with fire by taking six penalties.
  • We noted this morning that it was either feast or famine for the Rangers.  The Rangers scored five goals but Marion Gaborik did get any of them.  Figure that one out...
THE UGLY:
  • The Penalty Killers were just 2 for 6 tonight.  That just can't happen if this team wants to win.
  • We're trying to figure out why Joe Beninati and Craig Laughin were heaping all the praise Tom Poti.  Poti was on the ice for all four Power Play goals scored against the Caps tonight and made some really sloppy plays.  Though we now understand why Bruce Boudreau won't use Poti on the Power Play.  Twice tonight he telegraphed point-to-point passes on the Power Play that were picked off by Ryan Callahan.  The first one was somewhat understandable, but the second one was downright inexcusable as Poti should have learned the lesson the first time.  That's why it is the John "Coach's Pet" Erskine Bowles Bonehead Play of the Game.
Well, all we can say right now is WOW!  The Caps keep on winning here while playing seemingly worse and worse.  As long as the winning continues, the play won't improve and when the winning stops, it will take more than a couple of games to get back in stride.  Maybe it is not so bad that the Olympic break is coming up because we wonder just how much longer the Caps can get away with this.  However, we march on racking up the wins and the points in the standings.  And a quick note on the Kovalchuk trade tonight.  We're not sure this is the home run for New Jersey many think it is.  Plenty of big names have moved late in the season like this and were of no help to their new teams.  We really don't see Kovalchuk fitting in New Jersey's defense first system and he becomes the obvious target to shutdown the Devils offense.  Furthermore this trade does nothing to address the fact that Martin Brodeur is currently on pace to play 78 of 82 games this season in the NHL along with possible action in Vancouver.  Brodeur has broken down in the playoffs in each of the past four seasons and with Marty about to turn 38 in May, we see no evidence it won't happen again this year.  But as it relates to the Caps, the Caps aren't likely to see the Devils until the Conference Finals anyway.  And if the Caps want to advance that far, they'll need to play better.

It has been...  A TWO POINT NIGHT!!!

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