Sunday, March 01, 2009

A NO-point afternoon: Panthers 6 - Caps 2

Well, didn’t THAT thoroughly suck?

That doesn’t even qualify as a let down. The 6-2 pasting the Florida Panthers laid on the Caps this afternoon qualifies as a “thud-down.” It was the last “Kids’ Day” of the season at Verizon Center, and a more cruel treatment of kids would hardly be imaginable. It was enough to give kids – not to mention players and coaches – nightmares that would last for weeks.

The Caps scored first and last, but in-between struggled with all the things that they have struggled with this year – killing penalties, keeping the puck in the rink, taking a lesser opponent for granted. These were on display in their full grandeur in this one. Florida converted three of six power plays, which is misleading in itself – the Panthers converted the first three opportunities presented to them, then coasted the rest of the way on the man advantage.

As if it wasn’t bad enough giving up three power play goals (four overall) in the first period, the Caps allowed the Panthers a penalty shot before the game was five minutes old, a product of Jose Theodore throwing his stick at the puck. David Booth didn’t convert, but it hardly mattered. 13 seconds after failing to score on the penalty shot, the Panthers scored on the power play, Stephen Weiss doing the deed. Bryan McCabe followed with a power play goal, then Jay Bouwmeester scored what might be his final goal in a Panther uniform. Richard Zednik netted the Panthers’ fourth goal of the period. It would be the last one Theodore would allow, his day being cut short by Bruce Boudreau after 20 minutes.

That ended the competitive portion of the afternoon, the rest being an opportunity for folks to pad their stats and wonder if it would be snowing when they got home…

-- Alex Ovechkin scored his 46th goal in the last minute of the game when Craig Anderson was wondering which seat he’d take on the Florida charter home. Anderson got his glove on the puck, which looked as if it was going high anyway, but it slithered through the webbing and dropped behind him into the net.

-- Nicklas Backstrom extended his consecutive games points streak to ten with an assist on the Ovechkin goal. That makes for a career high for Backstrom.

-- Think this one was over early? Look at the time on ice for the big guns…Alex Ovechkin skated 5:59 in the third period after getting 7:54 and 6:45 in the first two periods. Backstrom got 6:14 in the third after getting 7:32 and 7:06 in the first two periods. Mike Green got 6:18 after getting 9:47 and 7:06 in the first two periods.

-- The Caps didn’t lack for attempts. They threw 79 pucks at the Florida net (34 actually made it to Craig Anderson). Florida had 60 attempts (33 shots on goal).

-- Speaking of attempts, David Steckel had seven (three shots on goal), Tomas Fleischmann had two (no shots on goal)). Odd game.

-- March starts as February ends…another delay-of-game for shooting the puck over the glass. If this keeps up, Bruce Boudreau might go all “Lou Brown” on the offenders the way Brown did on Willie Mays Hayes in “Major League”…”the next time you shoot one over the glass, you owe me twenty push-ups.”

-- That’s three losses in the last five games at Verizon Center.

-- That’s four losses to Southeast Division teams in regulation this season. That is more losses than the Caps have against any division in the East, despite having played fewer games against the Southeast (13) than they have against either the Atlantic (17) or the Northeast (17).

-- The Caps are now 7-2-0 when Alexander Semin and Alex Ovechkin score goals in the same game.

-- The Caps are now 10-12-1 when surrendering more than five power plays. Florida had six today.

-- That was only the third time this year Florida scored more than five goals. They turned the trick against Atlanta (8-4 on January 10th) and Pittsburgh (6-1 on January 3rd).

-- That was the first time this year Florida scored as many as three power play goals in a game. The last time they did it in regulation was in an 8-0 win over Toronto on February 5, 2008.

The NHL awards three stars of the game for each contest. Had there been 15 stars of the game in this one, it is doubtful a Cap would have been on the list. You could see it from the start, the guys just weren’t moving their feet. They might have been lulled into a false sense of confidence with the Semin goal less than 90 seconds in. Less than three minutes later, the Panthers had an unsuccessful penalty shot and a successful power play. It only got worse from there for the Caps.

The Caps have 11 more games against Southeast Division opponents to close the season. On paper, the Caps should do well. The only paper suitable for the result today, though, was Charmin.

1 comment:

Bucky Katt said...

"On paper, the Caps should do well. The only paper suitable for the result today, though, was Charmin."

That and the pic sum it up pretty well. Personally, I blame my brother-in-law aka Jinxy (as he is well known amongst the family for Caps loses when he attends games) for that Sunday afternoon fiasco.