Friday, November 16, 2007

Nope...no points last night: Panthers 2 - Caps 1


Okay, Caps fans, rise and shine, and don't forget your jerseys 'cause it's cooooold out there today.

It's coooold out there every day. What is this, Miami Beach?

Well, yeah…the Caps just lost there, 2-1. And you know, you can expect rough going later today with that, you know, that, uh, that lack of scoring thing.

That lack of scoring…thing. That lack of scoring…thing. Oh, well, here's the report! The Peerless is calling for a "big lack of scoring thing!"

Yessss, he is. But you know, there's another reason why today is especially grating.

Especially grating!

Especially grating, okay, but the big question on everybody's lips...

On their chapped lips...

On their chapped lips, right: Do ya think Charlie is gonna come out and see his shadow?

Chevy Chase Charlie!

Thats right, woodchuck-chuckers - it's

GROUNDHOG DAY!


If Charlie sees his shadow, the Caps will have six more weeks of no one scoring. And one gets the feeling that Charlie has painted his shadow on the ground outside his hollowed tree trunk.

Another day, another Ovechkin goal…and no others. The Caps sank a little deeper into the league’s basement last night with a 2-1 loss to the Florida Panthers. It was another fine defensive effort wasted as the Caps couldn’t find any offensive traction, going long stretches of the game without any apparent strategy or purpose in the offensive end.

For those of you keeping score, Ovechkin – who scored his 12th goal of the season last night – has scored 11 of the Caps total of 34 goals in their 3-12-1 slide since the three game winning streak to start the year. For the year, Ovechkin has registered 12 of the Caps’ total of 41 goals. His 29.3 percent of production trails only Ilya Kovalchuk (30.6) among the top dozen goal scorers (Ovechkin is tied for fourth).

As for the game, it had that sameness to it that has characterized the Caps for the past month…an inability to finish opportunities, a power play that had difficulty entering the offensive zone under control (let alone doing anything once there), and an ill-timed error in judgment that ended up in the back of the net (and that in this case was the game-winner when Tom Poti threw a puck across ice, only to have it intercepted by Kamil Kreps, who reversed field and lifted a backhand past Olaf Kolzig).

Poti’s folly was the only really bad play of the night for the Caps, who otherwise played a pretty solid road game. But the trouble is, Groundhog Day lovers, that that Caps are getting nothing from anyone other than Ovechkin on offense, and that is itself breeding an interesting dynamic. In the three wins to start the season, Ovechkin averaged 19:54 in ice time. Since the Toronto game, over which the Caps have gone 1-5-1, Ovechkin has averaged 22:30. In his last four games, he’s gone: 20:45, 21:26, 24:49, 25:50. Part of last night’s heavy log was the fact that the Caps had to kill off only one power play, but there is a dog-chasing-tail aspect to this, too…other Caps aren’t contributing, but they’re not getting quite as much ice time, while Ovechkin gets more ice time, because the bench sees who is getting goals, but there is only so much he can do as one player, while other Caps aren’t contributing, as they are getting less ice time…It is in this respect that the absence of Semin is being felt. He might be eating up a few more of those minutes in an effort to getting something – anything – out of the rest of the roster.

It might not be that Ovechkin is bearing a larger share of the offensive load than in his previous two years, but the fact that he bears so much of it this year is especially striking, given what is supposed to be the offensive talent elsewhere on this roster, even with Semin out of the lineup.

If one looks at the numbers for this game, they really aren’t bad…the Caps had fewer misfires (10 shots blocked, 13 misses), they were roughly even in hits (18 to the Panthers’ 21), they had a few more turnovers (13, to nine for Florida), they dominated the faceoff circle (winning 29 of 47 draws). It really came down to one bad play…and a lot of plays the Caps just couldn’t, and at this point can’t, finish.


Pretty soon, the only thing "finished" will be the Caps' hopes of a playoff berth.

2 comments:

Jordan said...

Do you agree that it looked like they had trouble getting the puck into the offensive zone? Seemed like they were getting shut down at the blue line every time. The dump-ins were dealt with more often than not, too.

Depressing showing on what should have been the turnaround game for this team.

The Peerless said...

I think they had to contend with bad ice last night, which makes for skating the puck in a difficult thing. The Caps just didn't have much of a forecheck last night to make any dump-and-chase strategy work. Effort-wise, it was not a game to write home about.