Saturday, January 20, 2007

The, uh . . . Afternoon After

points to-freakin'-day.

What the $#@& was THAT?

Uh, guys? These are the Florida Panthers, not the Edmonton Freaking Oilers of 1985?

Sometimes, numbers don’t tell the story. Today, it was ALL about the numbers . . .

42-18 . . . No, that’s not the score of the New Orleans Bowl (that was Troy 41 – Rice 17). It was the shots on goal. For those of you who follow that particular number, that’s 177 – 88 by which the Panthers have outshot the Caps in four games this season.

32-6 . . . From the 10:26 mark of the first period when Ben Clymer took a shot on goal until the 9:35 mark of the third when Brooks Laich was credited with one, the Caps were outshot by this margin.

74 . . . the total of shots on goal credited to Florida (42), missed shots taken by Florida (13) and shots blocked by the Caps (19).

10 . . . the number of minor penalties the Caps took.

16:24 . . . the total amount of time the Caps spent shorthanded in the game.

12:00 . . . the total amount of time the Caps spent shorthanded in the last two periods (more on this, later).

2 . . . the number of shots taken by Alex Ovechkin. He hasn’t had fewer in a game since March 12th of last year, against Ottawa. Last I checked, no one was confusing the Panthers with the Senators.

14, 17 . . . 14 skaters were responsible for 17 giveaways. Florida had only ten giveaways for the game.

Two . . . the number of shifts Kris Beech had after the first period. The Peerless doesn’t think this was an accident.

9:33 . . . the ice time for Jamie Heward. Given that Lawrence Nycholat had more than 24 minutes, a gimpy Mike Green more than 18, and even Jeff Schultz more than 13, The Peerless doesn’t think this was an accident, either.

4.12 . . . Olaf Kolzig’s goals-against average in four games against Florida this year.

.933 . . . Kolzig’s save percentage in four games against Florida this year. For the record, no goaltender in the league has this high a save percentage for the season.

5-11-0 . . . the Caps record since they beat the Flyers on December 16th. Maybe they caught something.

But here was the turning point of the game. It didn’t even happen during any of the periods. Florida was whistled for four penalties in the first eight minutes of the first period. The first of them was a goaltender interference call on Martin Gelinas. Gelinas didn’t take his punishment lightly and said something to referee Bill McCreary, who was skating away from Gelinas. McCreary did a U-turn and went straight to the box, pointing emphatically at Gelinas. At the close of the period, as the teams were skating off, Gelinas skated up to McCreary and held forth for more than a minute, calmly by all appearances (The Peerless notices such things). Florida was whistled for only three more penalties the rest of the way, the Caps for six. Neither team scored on any of their power plays, and The Peerless is not suggesting that McCreary took special pity on Gelinas, but sometimes, honey works better than vinegar in catching flies (or getting on the better side of a referee). And, the power play discrepancy is there to see. Spending 12 of the next 34 minutes shorthanded (including allowing a goal on one power play) did nothing for the Caps in terms of establishing, let alone maintaining any rhythm.

Look, the Caps are beat up on the blue line, and the Panthers exploited this to forecheck the crap out of Washington. But the forwards didn’t exactly help out here, either. One might think, hey, the defense is kind of green and kind of beat up (that was Jamie Hunt skating in the pre-game, in case Mike Green couldn’t go) . . . maybe they could use some more support. Didn’t happen. It just wasn’t a very responsible effort on the part of the forwards, and it was a predictably bad performance by the defense in its wake.

Olaf Kolzig deserved a whole lot better, as he has often from his teammates against this opponent this year.


Anonymous said...

... and some people are still predicting playoffs. Decent analysis, except you forgot one thing. We absolutely suck ass.

Tyler said...

Worst game of the year. No question.

I thought the Caps were hurt by all the whistles, especially all the penalties. Our speed and physicality never got a chance to wear down the opponent.