Thursday, February 17, 2011

A TWO-point night -- Game 58: Caps 7 - Ducks 6

You want to tell me what the hell THAT was?!

The Caps beat the Anaheim Ducks last night, or rather “outlasted” them, 7-6 in a goal-fest in Anaheim. It was like watching Apollo Creed and Rocky Balboa trading head shots over 15 rounds. Getzlaf on an early power play goal…Ovechkin splits the defense and scores…Laich picks off a pass attempt and converts the gift…Selanne, then Lydman, then Perry for the Ducks…now it’s Semin and Steckel for the Caps…

By the time it was over, it was Alexander Semin getting the tying and winning goals on his way to a hat trick to give the Caps the win in a game that treated goaltenders like they were playing in the All Star Game.

Other stuff…

-- Anaheim led 1-0, 4-2, 5-4, and 6-5…and lost. That’s gonna hurt.

-- Caps gave up six goals on 21 shots over 45:51. They did not allow a shot on goal in the last 14:09 of the game. They had only two shot attempts in that time (both blocked). See? They can play defense.

-- The hat trick by Alexander Semin was his fourth of the season, tying a record for the team held by Peter Bondra (1995-96) and Dennis Maruk (1980-81, 1981-82).

-- The 13 total goals was the most scored by both teams in a Caps game since the Caps beat Ottawa, 8-6, on December 29, 2007.

-- The Caps had only two power plays and had only one power play shot on goal, which did not find the back of the net. The Ducks also had one shot on the Caps power play… and scored.

-- Cam Fowler was on the ice for five of the seven Caps goals on his way to a minus-5. That makes him minus-18 for the year. Last among rookie defensemen.

-- At the other end of the spectrum, John Carlson was plus-4. He is now plus-17, second among rookie defensemen.

-- Lost in the hoopla was that Karl Alzner set a personal career high with three assists, his first multi-point game since December 6, 2008.

-- The Caps were guilty of trying to play too much defense by moving their sticks (taking swipes at passing Duck players) instead of moving their feet.

-- And top of that, while neither goalie was sharp for the Caps, it didn’t help that the skaters in front of them were setting screens almost as good as what Anaheim was setting, or deflecting pucks into their own net.

-- Seven hits for Luca Sbisa? Well, he does lead the Ducks’ defensemen in hits.

-- John Erskine came to the defense of teammate Matt Hendricks, who was plastered into the end boards from behind by Andy Sutton. Erskine got an instigator, a fighting major, and a 10-minute misconduct for his trouble – 17 minutes in penalties. That ended his night.

-- That meant that Scott Hannan and John Carlson had to log more than 25 minutes, Karl Alzner and Jeff Schultz more than 22 minutes.

-- Jason Chimera had a short night, too. He was whistled for goaltender interference at 8:46 of the third period and didn’t get onto the ice again in the last 11:14.

In the end, a truly bee-zarre game. A throwback, a reminder of what a lot of games were like in the mid-1980’s (the Caps, for example, played 12 games in 1985-86 in which at least ten goals were scored by both teams). It was nice to see the Caps break out, but not at the expense of a .714 save percentage on only 21 shots on goal. The Caps’ defense seemed to right itself late, after a time out taken by Bruce Boudreau. Allowing no shots on goal in the last 14:09 is pretty good, even in a game with as many goals as this, especially when it does come to close out the game. They will need that kind of tighter defensive play against the San Jose Sharks as the Caps look to sweep the first of two back-to-backs they play over the next week.

1 comment:

Justin said...

I don't know if people listen closely to what Locker is saying during the telecast, but he was on top of his game last night. After the Perry shorty, he mentioned how scoring on the remaining time in the power play or shift thereafter would be huge, and waddya know? Gordon and Steckel make it happen. Then (can't remember at what point this occurred) he mentioned how Neuvy needed to come up with a big save when both teams were essentially trading goals and he came up big on a nice centering feed. It was nice to see the guys come up big offensively, even if it was a slight throwback to the firewagon hockey of the past couple of years, if for nothing other than their confidence. I had a good feeling going into the third period and the good guys came through. I hope they keep with the mojo tonight.