Monday, March 29, 2010

A NO-point afternoon: Flames 5 - Capitals 3

Desperate team + disinterested team = no points

That’s pretty much what it looked like, at least, as the Washington Capitals lost only their fifth game in regulation at Verizon Center this season, 5-3, to the Calgary Flames.

The game was over almost in time for folks to go home and catch the second half of the first game of Elite Eight Sunday in men’s NCAA basketball:

2:33 – Ales Kotalik
8:28 – Ian White
10:34 – Jay Bouwmeester (his first goal in 58 games, dating back to November 14th)

That was enough abuse for Jose Theodore to endure – much of it of his own making as he looked to be fighting the puck from the opening faceoff. Semyon Varlamov came in and surrendered a goal to Niklas Hagman with just under 20 seconds left in the first period, and with the scoreboard reading “4-0” at the first intermission, this one was pretty much over.

Don’t let the last 22 minutes fool you. Sure, the Caps scored the last two goals of the game to make the game respectable and outshot the Flames 21-3 over that span, but by then the Flames had turned the game over to goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, and it was all they needed.

Other stuff…

- Here is an indication of the difference in compete level between the teams in the first period. Calgary outshot the Caps, 13-4. But the Caps actually out-attempted the Flames, 19-15. Calgary blocked nine Capitals shots; the Caps blocked one Calgary shot (the remaining attempts due to missed shots). Calgary had 27 blocked shots for the game to 12 for the Caps. Every Flame but Nigel Dawes and Rene Bourque had at least one.

- Has so much energy been expended to so little gain? The Caps out-attempted the Flames 86-43. The Caps had more misses (25) and shots blocked (27) than the Flames had shots on goal (22).

- Jose Theodore’s streak of games without a loss in regulation was left intact, seeing as how Varlamov allowed the fourth (game-winning) goal.

- The Flames did arrive in ill humor, as we suspected might be the case after getting their lunch eaten in front of them in Boston on Saturday. And the Caps weren’t really up to the task. Cory Sarich, Eric Nystrom, Steve Staios, Mark Giordano, and Ian White were The Chippy Brothers all afternoon.

- The more we see it, the more we don’t much like the Tom Poti/Joe Corvo pairing on defense. They were on the ice for three of the five goals against yesterday.

- Good and bad… David Steckel, a goal and wins on eight of ten draws. He was also on the ice for the second, third, and fourth Flame goals.

- Mathieu Perreault wasn’t shy about getting shots off (five attempts, three on goal in less than 13 minutes), and he was rewarded for being Johnny-on-the-spot by staying with the play after dropping the puck to Alex Ovechkin, then pouncing on the rebound as he was about to circle around the net.

- Washington had 25 turnovers (18 giveaways, seven takeaways for Calgary) to eight for the Flames (four and four).

- Matt Bradley did not play the last 9:41. He certainly didn’t look any worse than any other Cap, and we did not notice an injury, so there’s just something to look out for.

- Note to the NHL… Please, pry open your wallet and send Mark Shewchyk to school to learn how to drop the puck. The treated the puck as if it was some sort of weird family heirloom that he didn’t want to part with whenever he was administering a faceoff.

- There was so little activity in the Washington end yesterday… in addition to the measly 43 shot attempts for the Flames, there were only 11 defensive zone draws for the Caps (they won eight of them). There were 27 draws in the Calgary end.

- Speaking of draws, it will be recorded that Nicklas Backstrom lost 13 of 23 of them. But he was 9-for-15 in the offensive and defensive zones, which impresses us as his not much caring about the neutral zone (where he was 1-for-8).

- Alex Ovechkin wins the all-you-can-eat buffet ticket for this one… a goal, an assists, minus-1, seven shots, six misses, four blocked, four hits, four giveaways, a takeaway and three blocked shots (which led the team).

- In getting a goal and an assist, Ovechkin recorded his 100th point, the fourth time in five seasons he’s turned the trick. But he finds himself trailing Henrik Sedin in points (101 to 100) and Sidney Crosby in goals (47 to 46) as the league heads into its final two weeks of the regular season.

In the end, the Caps gave two points away by not matching the Flames’ effort. No clearer picture could be had of a team who is not interested in the last two weeks of the season. For Calgary, these last two weeks, starting with yesterday’s game IS their season. And that was all the difference. It took only ten minutes to make that clear.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mailin' it in.