Thursday, February 11, 2010

Caps @ Senators 2-11-2010 Post-Mortem

Maybe this Olympic Break thing isn't such a bad idea...  Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

  • Reluctant to tinker with the forward lines during a 14 game winning streak, Bruce Boudreau finally shakes some things up by promoting Brendan Morrrissonn to second line.  Morrrissonn notched only a single assist but was game leading +4 on the night.  Both of his linemates finished +2.
  • Probably the biggest beneficiary of the improved play at the center position on the second line was Alexander "Slappy" Semin who scored his third career hat trick and the third Caps hat trick in as many games.  He added an assist to get a four point night for himself.
  • The Caps had been giving up tons of shots on goal, especially in one period here recently.  Tonight the Caps gave up 12 in the first period, nine in the second, and seven in the third.  Not bad numbers.
  • Once again, the league leading Power Play came up empty, 0 for 2 with just 2 shots on goal.
  • The Senators blocked 29 shots that the Caps took.  The Caps only got 24 shots on goal for the game.  And to make matters worse, the Caps only blocked 5 Senators shots and no Caps blocked more than one.  Anton Volchenkov blocked 11 by himself.
  • We understand that the winning streak was over but Semyon "the Saviour" Varlamov looked like a goaltender who hadn't played a game in over two months.  Both Power Play goals he gave up tonight were very soft and he may have needed more than one game in Hershey before returning to NHL action.
  • And speaking of that Penalty Kill, 0 for 2 with only 3 shots allowed.  Maybe we want to come up with some more blocks on the Penalty Kill when our goaltender is trying to regain his form?  That was the difference in the game right there.
  • It's a good thing that Bruce Boudreau loves Tomas Fleischmann as much as he does because we're beginning to think that this the only reason why Fleischmann is still on this team.  Ok, so he scored a goal tonight, but he was on the ice for all four even strength goals the Senators scored tonight.  He ended with a richly deserved game worst -3 on the night.  He was 2-9 in the faceoff circle as well.  Look we weren't going to call the Fleischmann as center a success after just one game but this continues a disturbing trend of Fleischmann's where he gets off to a very strong start and reverts to form as things roll along.  If he can't handle playing the top two lines here in D.C., General Manager George McPhee will have to move him because he is even more out of place on the third and fourth lines.
Well folks, now it is really over.  Before the Caps could take last night's Bettman point and console themselves with the notion that they've earned points in 15 straight games.  There's only one more game before the Olympic Break starts and if there was ever a point in time for that type of break, this is it.  Winning streaks like the one the Caps went on tend to lead to losing streaks once they end because either the team's play breaksdown (which is what is happening to the Caps right now) or the one player who was single-handedly carrying the team cools off.  After Saturday night most of the Caps are going to have two and half weeks off to rest and get ready for the remaining 20 games of the regular season.  Boudreau will get his practice time in to re-teach the systems that have fallen apart and will be better able to maintain them in practice as the Caps now have only three more sets of back-to-back games and one set of three games in four nights.  But for now, the Caps have to head onto St. Louis and try to figure out a way to come up with some more points before the break starts.



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