Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A TWO-point night: Caps 5 - Canucks 1

Dom'-i-nate: v. tr.

1. To control, govern, or rule by superior authority or power
2. To exert a supreme, guiding influence on or over
3. To enjoy a commanding, controlling position in
4. To allow one even strength shot on goal in each of the first two periods to the Vancouver Canucks

OK, we made that fourth one up, but you get the idea. The Capitals treated their fans to a franchise record-setting night that was not of the offensive variety in a 5-1 win over the heretofore undefeated (whaddya mean it’s only two games?) Vancouver Canucks. Ten official shots on goal represent the fewest ever allowed by a Caps team (they twice allowed as few as 11, in both instances against the Florida Panthers).

Almost as amazing, the Caps registered five goals on a night when the top line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Viktor Kozlov didn’t have a point. Kozlov was injured in the second period and did not return for the last 28:39 of the game.

Sergei Fedorov lined up on the blue line for this one, and even though the puck seemed to be misbehaving on his stick early – four giveaways – he gave (as one would expect…he’s done this before) a good account of himself, earning the second star for a one assist, four shot, plus-three effort.

Alexander Semin had one of his best all-around games for the Caps…two goals, six shots, four takeaways, one hit, and he was strong on the puck, standing up to some abuse the Canucks tried to inflict upon him.

Tomas Fleischmann continued a string of solid efforts with an assist, a plus-1, and a good effort on the forecheck (he was credited with no takeaways, but we think that is in error).

Milan Jurcina registered his highest shot total since February 6, 2007 (his third game with the Caps after arriving in trade from Boston, when he had five). The post-game radio report noted that Sergei Fedorov was encouraging Jurcina to shoot more, and it paid off with a goal.

Bruce Boudreau thinks the official scorer missed a few shots on goal for the Canucks. Well, The Peerless thinks the official scorer missed a ton of blocked shots for the Caps. Few (obviously) made their way through to Brent Johnson, who played in place of Jose Theodore.

Brooks Laich…one assist, plus-2, two SOG, one hit, two takeaways, a blocked shot, four out of five on draws. That’s called “sampling the scoresheet buffet.”

And what was that Donald Brashear no look through-the-legs back pass from behind the Canuck goal, right onto the tape of a Cap speeding to the net? If that had converted, the place would have gone nuts.

Remember when Michael Nylander was signed as a free agent, folks said he could help the Caps with their abysmal shootout conversion rate? Well, folks saw why on the penalty shot he converted when he deked Roberto Luongo to the ice and tucked the puck behind him.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about why Nylander replaced Alexander Semin for the penalty shot (after a lengthy review), it’s right there in Rule 53.6…”When any member of the defending team, including the Coach or any non-playing person, throws or shoots any part of a stick or any other object or piece of equipment at the puck or puck carrier in his defending zone, preventing a reasonable shot or pass, the Referee shall allow the play to be completed and if a goal is not scored, a penalty shot shall be awarded to the non-offending team. This shot shall be taken by the player designated by the Referee as the player fouled.”

Neither Sedin had a shot on goal, although Henrik had an assist on the Vancouver goal scored by Alexander Edler.

Alexander Semin is 3-3-6, +3 after three games…Mike Green is 3-2-5, +3…Alex Ovechkin is 2-0-2, +2. The Young Guns are firing pretty well (although it would be nice to get Backstrom going).

This is the kind of night a team with lofty aspirations has to have to make sure their aspirations can be met down the road. Other guys contributed, and even though the OBK line was shutout, they contributed in other ways – Ovechkin had five hits (several of the thunderous variety) and Backstom had a pair of takeaways, looking a lot less lost than he did in his first two games. Through three games, 17 different players have points (only Shoane Morrisonn and John Erskine have yet to register a point).

It was the right start for a week in which a number of demons are on the schedule. The Caps have dispatched Roberto Luongo, who had won ten consecutive decisions against the Caps. Next up, Pittsburgh. Then, Brodeur and the Devils.

Busy week.