Sunday, October 12, 2014

A TWO-point night -- Game 2: Capitals 4 - Bruins 0

The Washington Capitals got their first win of the 2014-2015 season when they rode a pair of goals by Alex Ovechkin and a 29-save effort by goalie Braden Holtby to blank the Boston Bruins 4-0, at TD Garden in Boston.  For an in-depth look at what took place, take a look at what we posted over at Japers’ Rink

Some other thoughts…

-- Someday, teams will figure out just how to stop the Alex Ovechkin one-timer from the circle.  It appeared early on that the Bruins had an answer, having forward Loui Eriksson cheating high to positon himself to break up the pass from the point to Ovechkin.  But at some point, that forward has to play honest and defend a potential shot from the point.  When Eriksson slid over to get in the way of a potential John Carlson shot, the lane for the pass opened up once more.  Pass-shoot-score.

-- When you have spent 280 games in the AHL, 142 games in the ECHL, and 135 games in a variety of other leagues, and you are almost 33 years old without having played in an NHL game, you are going to try to make a mark when you get your chance.  Bobby Robins is that player, having waited for his chance to skate in the NHL.  In this, his third NHL game, he made his first shift memorable.  He collided knee-on-knee with Caps defenseman Matt Niskanen, then when the referee signaled a delayed penalty, he tore off at the first Capitals he saw.  In this instance it was Michael Latta.  Robins tried to egg Latta on to do something stupid and even up the penalties, but merely managed to take Latta off with him on coincidental fighting majors.  That didn’t work so well for Boston.  The Caps scored eight seconds into the man advantage.

-- John Carlson and Karl Alzner, while not paired on defense in this game, managed to be linked in one respect.  Each defenseman – Carlson in the first period, Alzner in the third – gift wrapped chances for Boston.  Each one tried to send a pass through the middle of the ice from the corner, and both times the aimless passes were picked off by Boston forwards.  Braden Holtby was up to the challenge, though, stopping Chris Kelly in the first instance and Carl Soderberg in the other.

-- The optics of the Caps style through two games suggests a more aggressive approach than they displayed last season.  Although the Bruins dominated puck possession, the Caps did a credible job limiting time and space for the Bruins to make decisions with the puck.  In other words – more pressure on the puck carrier.

-- Little things.  The Bruins are a good faceoff team, but things got ridiculous as the game wore on.  Boston held a 12-9 advantage after the first period.  They were 14-7 in the second period and 8-3 in the third. 

The win was the Caps’ fifth in their last six regular season games against Boston, outscoring the Bruins by an 18-14 margin (not including Gimmick goals).  It leaves the Caps 1-0-1 in a rough four-game start to the 2014-2015 season.  Having earned points against the Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens, the Caps will now face the San Jose Sharks and the resurgent New Jersey Devils (11 goals in two wins so far) to start the coming week.  If nothing else, it is a good early season benchmarking exercise.

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