Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Nylander Out For Season, Caps Win Anyway

Capitals 4, Senators 2
Scoresheet - Wash Post

I didn't see a single broom at the game, but I did witness a sweep as the Captials finished off the Ottawa Senators (the best team in the east) with a perfect season record of 4-0-0. All this with the news that Micheal Nylander is having rotator cuff surgery and most likely will be out for the rest of the season. If there was ever a Capitals' curse, Micheal Nylander has been a victim once again because of it.

The news was a shocker for sure, but the Caps didn't hang their heads. Instead they were on a mission to sweep the Senators and they did that in comeback fashion. The Caps opened the scoring in the second period with a Mike Green power play goal (his 13th goal and leads all NHL defensemen in goals). The Senators responded with two quick goals of their own and took a 2-1 lead. Then Alex Semin picked off a Senator pass and made some quick dekes to evade the defender and Ray Emery to score the equalizer. Add an Alex Ovechkin power play goal (his 34th on the year) mid way through the third and a Semin insurance marker gave the Caps the season sweep.

The first period was a physical affair as some of the biggest hits happened early, but those seemed to subside in the second and third giving both teams a chance to play their system. Brent Johnson started in goal and was run into in the first minute of the game by Chris Neil but there was no penalty called on the play. It almost looked as if it would be an early exit again, but Johnny shook it off and played one of the better games he has preformed in this year. Besides the two goals on him, one a deflection the other a garbage goal, Johnny was very solid in net not letting a single soft goal against him.

Nicklas Backstrom has stepped up in absence of Nylander in the line up, and is starting to find more space for himself. I thought Backstrom, Viktor Kozlov and Ovechkin were the best line of the night. But the checking line found themselves with more scoring chances than the Senator's number one line they defended against. Dave Steckel, Quintin Laing and Matt Bradley played the best game I have seen thus far of them with out scoring a goal. They had their chances for sure, and I was hoping the trio could beat Emery after being close so many times.

The crowd is growing at the phone booth as well. While still not a sell out, the seats seem pretty full. Nice to see a crowd come out and even pull out the "Em-ery" chant a few times in the third period. Winning cures all ills and it's paying off for the Caps. It's a good sign to see some seats in the butts for a Tuesday night game. The fair-weathered fans must be seeing some blue skies for the Caps.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I dont know if its because he's getting fully healthy or if somebody just lit a fire under him last night, but that's the best I've seen Semin play this season. He was all over the ice, even calling for the puck in the third by slapping his stick on the ice loud enough that the whole arena could hear it. The deke goal was one of the prettiest I've seen this year.

Here's hoping that he keeps it up.