Monday, October 08, 2007

Battle Of The Undefeateds

Capitals 2, Islanders 1
Scoresheet - Wash Post

Two teams with surprising records faced off in a Columbus Day (Thanksgiving Day in Canada) matinee. It was the Capitals that came out on top even though the Islanders scored first. It wasn't all roses for the Caps, they came out sluggish in the first and got lucky in the second. It was the first game where the Capitals were badly outshot (31 - 12).

Islander Richard Park started the scoring for the Islanders that had a little bit of a jump on the Caps in the first period. Many of the guys were standing around as the Islanders buzzed. But the Caps penalty kill remains perfect on the season and the Caps just outlasted their opponents. And having Olie Kolzig to stop 30 shots doesn't hurt either.

Viktor Kozlov scored his 2nd goal of the season in the second to get the Caps on the board, a rocket that beat Rick DiPietro's glove. Then Brooks Laich got the game winner off a Brain Potheir shot. Laich scooped up the rebound and beat a sprawling DiPietro to score on the open net. A year ago, the Caps would have folded at the pressure the Ilanders put on. But the Caps stuck to their game plan and prevailed.

Just a few observations. It looks like Glen Hanlon is still playing with the lines a bit. There was a time where Micheal Nylander and Alex Ovechkin were on the same line. I didn't think that Laich had a great training camp, but he came up big in this game. John Erskine has a bone to pick with Billy Guerin, the Islanders' captain. The two were at it all game long, with hit after hit, and cheap shot after cheap shot. The two were teammates in Dallas.

Caps will return home for practice then it's a rare trip to New York on a Friday night at MSG.

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