Saturday, March 06, 2010

Caps vs. Rangers 3-6-2010 Post-Mortem

3 down, 11 to go...  Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

THE GOOD:
  • Eric Fehr was sitting on pins and needles heading into the trading deadline and had to know that while he didn't get shipped out this time around, he was still under the gun with the players acquired.  Fehr has responded by posting points in all three games since the deadline passed and scored a goal for the second consecutive game.  He clearly doesn't want to sit.
  • Jose "Alvin, Simon," Theodore with his first shutout on the season and the first one for the Caps since Semyon "The Saviour" Varlamov did it to the Ning back in December.  Unlike The Saviour, Theodore didn't get hurt tonight and has come out of the Olympic Break playing really, really well.
  • And while the Caps gave up 30 shots, the defensive effort and coverages were much, much better tonight.  For whatever reason the Caps didn't seem to want to get the puck back from the Rangers very much but they had few breakdowns in front of Theodore and the team in front of Theodore deserve this shutout as much as Theodore does.
THE BAD:
  • Right now if it wasn't for bad luck, Alexander "Slappy" Semin wouldn't have had any luck tonight.  Slappy was sent up perfectly on the Caps 5-on-3 Power Play chance in the first period and Slappy's stick disintegrates when he tries to take the shot.  Not that Fehr was complaining very much...  Then with another prime chance in the third period, Alex Auld came up with an outstanding save on Slappy.
  • Another player suffering from an Olympic Hangover, Captain A.O., once again didn't look much like himself.  Captain A.O. had seven shots on goal but none of them had the zip or explosiveness they usually do.  Was that injury in the Russia-Canada game worse than everybody thought?
  • Matt "Omar" Bradley was clearly and justifiably upset over being a healthy scratch on Thursday night, however his play tonight did nothing to justify further inclusion in lineup.  He had a prime chance in the second period and instead of picking a corner on Auld, he tried to return a give and go pass to David "Bolt Cutter" Steckel that misfired because Steckel was well covered.
THE UGLY:
  • Thursday night we chided the forwards for causing problems in their own end and tonight Shaone Morrrissonnn has probably the ugliest and worst turnover ever in the second period tonight.  Luckily Theodore was able to bail out the winner of the John "Coach's Pet" Erskine Bowles Bonehead Play of the Game Award.  But what Morrrissonnn was thinking with that pass is beyond us.
Aside from Bruce Boudreau's chemistry experiments, the Caps are right now just trying to get through the rest of the regular season without sustaining many injuries because there isn't much drama about making the playoffs.  A sweep of the homestand will clinch a playoff spot.  The division is all but wrapped up, with a little bit of help that too could be wrapped up with a sweep of the current homestand.   There's some work to do to clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but the Caps would either have to suffer a near collapse and/or have the Devils, the Buffaslugs, or the Penguin Scum go on a real tear to make that one close.  The Caps clearly aren't too interested in winning the President's Trophy because the Caps have bigger goals in mind.  So while we're happy that we've come back from the Olympics with a three game winning streak and won two close, tight-checking games in the process; it seems to us that the Caps are trying to play just well enough to get the win.  We hope we're wrong about this but we'll see.  We do know that won't cut it come playoff time but at least so far the Caps haven't put their game on autopilot to cruise on into the playoffs.  However, with the Rangers being a potential first round opponent again, the Caps have proven to the Rangers that should they meet again this year, the Caps are a much better team now and will be tougher to beat.

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

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