Tuesday, March 27, 2007

After-Math -- Caps vs. Penguins

Never in it. Even with a two-goal lead, one had the feeling they were never in it. Of course, then the Penguins scored three power play goals and scored another goal just as another penalty was expiring. To make things worse, the Caps – down two goals in the third period, mind you – played as if they thought the puck would magically appear in the net behind Marc-Andre Fleury without the need of having been shot.

Two goals down in the third period, they managed one shot – one – not taken by Alex Ovechkin between a shot by Mike Green at 10:24 and a cosmetic goal by Milan Jurcina with 32 seconds left. And Green’s came from the concession stands.

The frustrating part is that the Caps were the better team at even strength, but had not a clue what they were doing on the penalty kill. For all intents and purposes, the Penguins scored on their first four power plays and that, kids, was the ball game.

We could go on, but frankly . . . why? Ovechkin came to play, Chris Clark came to play, and Olaf Kolzig did what he could. The rest? It wasn’t pretty. It was a game they could have – should have – won. But that’s what teams in the Caps’ position (well, their fans) say at this time of year.

1 comment:

Hooks Orpik said...

I was at that game, one member of the large Penguin fan contingent.

I would agree with your assessment that it looked like only a couple of Caps really 'showed up' for that game, namely the ones who usually compete in most every game (Kolzig and Clark). Of course pretty much none of the Penguins showed up for that 1st period too.

It could change quickly though, as seen from Pittsburgh going from 29th overall to a solid playoff team. Naturally you guys don't have a combination of young talent like Malkin AND Staal but Backstrom and a UFA center could do the trick.

IMO it's about the team defense. The Pens have improved systematically in their coverage and also blocking shots, clearing pucks, etc. Thierren's system deserves a nod just like the Big 3.

Is Hanlon the right man for the job? Can Washington turn a solid AHL organization into reliable NHL'ers (like the Pens have done with important players like Talbot, Armstrong, Ouellet and Christensen)? Those are the most important questions to me, feel free to take that idea and run with it.