Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A TWO point night: Caps 4 - Wild 1


Websters defines it as “readiness to fight or continue against odds; dogged resolution.”

As the Caps entered last night’s action five points behind Carolina with 19 games to play, “pluck” was what was called for. They got it in the form of Brooks Laich, who led the Caps to a 4-1 win over the Minneosta Wild. Laich figured in all the scoring – two goals of his own and assists on goals by Shaone Morrisonn (his first goal of the year) and Eric Fehr (also his first of the year).

If the Caps are to win anything this year, they have to get that kind of performance from the whole roster, especially when A. Ovechkin is in what for him is a swoon (0-4-4, -5 in his last six games).

It was a pleasant way to end a hectic day, and the win served to inch the Caps to within three points of eighth-place Philadelphia in the East.

Laich’s first four-point game in the NHL wasn’t the only bright spot for the Caps last night...

- Tomas Fleischmann chipped in the primary assists on both Laich goals and matched Laich’s plus-4.

- Milan Jurcina, whose season has been a series of hills and valleys of inconsistency, was on the hill last night with a plus-2, three hits, and three blocked shots in 18 solid minutes.

- Olaf Kolzig’s play was a big shout of “hey! I’m still here,” with 34 saves on the 35 shots he faced. He held the Wild to one goal in the second period (it could have been much worse) when the Caps energy level dropped a notch, while Minnesota was ringing up 12 shots.

- Eric Fehr’s goal was of the sort one would expect from a guy who is said to have “soft hands.” His pass attempt from behind the goal line to Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom’s right was blocked, the puck bouncing back in his direction. He cradled the puck, pivoted and roofed it from inside of ten feet. Caps fans would like to see a dozen of so years of that kind of play.

And while we’re spreading the kudos, let’s hear it for the Hershey Alumni Association…Eric Fehr, David Steckel, Tomas Fleischmann, Quintin Laing, Chris Bourque, Jeff Schultz. All of these guys spent at least half of the season last year with the Bears, with Laing, Fehr, and Bourque being in-season call-ups this year. Add the “call-up” pacing behind the bench, and one might say that the returns from Hershey have been rather substantial this year.

The big number, though might not have been achieved on the ice. A weeknight game in Feburary against a Western Conference opponent has been a recipe for “empty seat night” at Verizon Center. But last night, the Caps drew 17,391. It was Family Night, as well as Hockey Is for Everyone and Autism Awareness Night, but over the past few years this was the sort of game you’d usually you’d have to bribe folks with trinkets to get them to the rink, and even then it would be a struggle to top 15,000.

Oh, by the way…Websters also defines “pluck” as “the heart, liver, lungs, and trachea of a slaughtered animal.” That might have described the Wild at the end of 60 minutes last night.


JWJr said...

"this was the sort of game you’d usually you’d have to bribe folks with trinkets to get them to the rink"

Or, give them free tickets in exchange for blood... -JW

The Peerless said...

Well, Caps fans might be said to "bleed Capitals red."

Anonymous said...

I still say we should send GMGM down. I'm sure he'll clear GM waivers.