Sunday, December 03, 2006

There are three kinds of people in the world . . .

Those who can count, and those who cant. From the story on last night's game . . .

"The bench got even shorter when three players - Paul Gaustad and Adam Mair - were assessed game misconducts in the second period after a dangerous check by Alex Ovechkin on Daniel Briere sparked some hostility."

The Peerless realizes the Sabres are good, but are two guys really as good as three?

The Hard Way at Home

They didn’t do it the easy way . . .

Dainius Zubrus: out with the flu

Matt Bradley: out with family concerns

Jamie Heward: out with injury

Shaone Morrisonn: played with stomach flu

Alexander Ovechkin: missed the last 35:08 (ejection)

Richard Zednik: missed the last 24:00 (injury)

There is a third of the regular skating complement – kicked out, injured, sick, or addressing family matters – against the top team in the East that had lost only three games in regulation.

And they did it, even then, the hard way around, getting involved in an 11-goal pinball game, the kind of game The Peerless certainly didn't think the Caps could win (we're "peerless," not "perfect").

There are many things this club needs to learn on their way to contention for a championship. Part of that is dealing with adversity, having other guys step up when things are down. Players not mentioned above went 5-7-12 last night. Eleven players had points (including the Zednik and Ovechkin goals).

One might argue that the Sabres were playing the second half of a back-to-back, had an especially difficult travel situation getting out of Buffalo the night before, went to a shootout the night before with the Rangers . . . blah-blah-blah, wah-wah-wah . . . well, in six games representing the second-half of a back-to-back coming into last night's game, the Sabres were 5-1, outscoring their opponents, 27-20.

And this makes the Caps 3-0 on their five game swing among some of the league’s better teams (Tampa Bay, Dallas, Buffalo – all wins thus far – Ottawa, and Anaheim).

This is good.

The Morning After -- Caps vs. Sabres

Wow . . . just . . . wow.

The Peerless hates 8:00 starts, but for all the things that were crammed into this one, the hour delay in starting time was worth it . . .

- Zednik, Muir, Ovechkin . . . three goals on nine shots in 7:45 . . . 3-0, and Ryan Miller takes a seat.

Caps fans think, “hey, maybe we can win this game . . . “

- Buffalo gets one back with just under five minutes left in the first . . . 3-1

Caps fans think, “that’s it, we’re screwed . . . “

- Ben Clymer gets it back less than a minute later . . . 4-1

Caps fans think, “we’re still in it!”

- Alex Ovechkin commits the single dumbest play of his short career . . . he takes a seat. Paul Gaustad leaves his seat to take on Ovechkin, gets 27 PIMs in the blink of an eye . . . he takes a seat. Danielle Briere, who looked as if he'd been shot with a deer rifle on the Ovechkin hit, never misses a shift. Adam Mair auditions for the Redskins' kicking job . . . he takes a seat.

Caps fans think, “where’s Brashear?”

- Brian Pothier freight-trains Maxim Afinogenov (ok, who ever thought THAT sentence ever would be written). Then he pokes the puck forward toward Jakub Klepis. Martin Biron springs out of his net to try to beat Klepis to the puck, dives, misses (but upending Klepis, sending him careening into the corner), and ends up with a nice seat at the Sabres’ blue line to watch Matt Pettinger stick the puck in the net . . . 5-1

Caps fans think, “the circus is in town?”

- Buffalo gets a power play goal from Chris Drury, who managed to get the puck from his backhand to his forehand and back to his backhand to lift it over Olaf Kolzig, all with Shaone Morrisonn and Boyd Gordon close enough to be able to read the tag on the back of the collar of his jersey . . . 5-2

Caps fans think, “oh well, it was nice while it lasted . . .”

- Buffalo got another one in the last minute of the second . . . 5-3

Caps fans think, “who will we draft first overall next June?”

- Matt Pettinger scores a goal that might have been picked up on radar (the human eye couldn’t record the event) on a silly sick feed from Alexander Semin out of the left wing corner . . . 6-3

Caps fans think, “Matt Pettinger . . . our very own Jari Kurri.”

Buffalo scratches back with a goal mid-way through the third . . . 6-4

Caps fans think, “@$#%!”

- John Erskine finds the puck behind his own goal line and threw it along the boards. Teppo Numminen couldn't keep it in, and the puck skittered down the ice toward the Sabres' net. Numminen turned and raced -- well, raced as much as a 38-year old defenseman can -- after the puck. He was a step too late, ands Erskine had his goal-from-another-area-code . . . 7-4

Caps fans think, “huh...knew it all along.”

Some odd numbers . . .

7:21/56:00 – That would be the combined ice time/combined penalty minutes of Adam Mair and Paul Gaustad.

Two – That would be the number of shifts Andrew Peters had (29 seconds of total ice time), and one of those was to skate to the bench after serving in the box in place of Sabres already penalized and ejected.

Three – the first three game winning streak of the year for the Caps.

Three (again) – the number of consecutive games the Caps have chased the opponent’s starting goalie.

60 – the percentage of draws won by the Caps. No Cap lost more than he won.

9-15-2 – the Caps’ record after 26 games last year (20 points). They are 11-9-6 (28 points) this year.

17/16 – The number of goals Alexander Ovechkin has/had in 26 games this year/last year. Is this guy consistent, or what?

And finally . . . Ovechkin plays less than ten minutes, gets a fighting penalty while neither discarding his gloves nor throwing a punch . . . gets the game's second star. Now that is a fitting end to a squirrelly night.