Sunday, February 10, 2008

Capitals Come Back Again

Capitals 3, Rangers 2 OT
Scoresheet - Wash Post

The Capitals had a couple of problems in the southeast match up that saw Carolina retake the Southeast Division lead. One was bad penalties (Alex Semin, we are all looking at you), the other was the power play. The Caps were able to remedy one of those problems early. The other, not so much. The Rangers may have played the night before, but they sure didn't look like it and kept the Caps on their heels for most of the game. It would take overtime to settle this one.

Alex Ovechkin solved the sagging powerplay with a goal they needed in the last 25 or so man advantages: a garbage goal (Ovie's 47th). The Caps slammed the net on their first power play and Eric Fehr created the traffic and Ovie slapped home the power play tally. After that the Rangers took it to the Caps stepping out to a 2-1 lead. Boyd Gordon, a player that needs to find his scoring touch a bit more this season ties it late in the second period. In overtime it was Mike Green who shot a laser past Stephen Valiquette and the Capitals take home the winner.

Olie Kozig got his 700th start and made it count by stopping some tough shots and looked a little like the Kolzig of old (besides the Avery goal in the first which he didn't play the angle right). It was fitting that his 700th start be a game winner and goaltender duel of sorts. The Caps split the season series with the New York Rangers, winning the last two in overtime.

The Caps took too many lazy penalties though. I'm not sure if it is because of the early start but the Capitals took a lot of tripping and hooking calls. Olie also didn't help his team too much with a delay of game penalty mid way through the third. But the Caps penalty kill was able to fend off the Ranger attack (0-6). Although the Caps didn't get much help from the refs who were pretty inconsistent in this game. Eric Fehr was leveled in the corner with a cross check to the back and the refs looked the other way. It seemed all the marginal stuff was called while some major take downs were not.

Quintin Laing was a healthy scratch, and even though the Capitals were perfect on the kill there was something definitely missing not having 53 out there. The Caps seem to lack a little grit on the checking line, even though Don Brashear did his best to create some havoc himself.

It's first place again for the Capitals as they leap frog the Hurricanes and Thrashers a second time. They even got a little of a breather as the Florida Panthers losing their game today keeping the Caps 2 points ahead of them. While they will have a few days to enjoy the number one spot in the division and 3rd in the conference, the Caps still have more work to do.

The Capitals now must face three division foes on the road for their next three games. The first game will be in Atlanta and the Caps need to win that game to put some distance between them and Thrashers and Hurricanes. Then they will face Florida then Tampa Bay. The Caps are looking for a 6 point sweep on this road trip, but realistically the Caps would be in good shape if they can come out of this road trip with 4 standings points.

Midway through the third period I heard Comcast Sportsnet left the game for a few minutes for the announcement of the new Redskins coach. Jim Zorn was named the new head coach and the Redskins remind DC hockey fans whose king by cutting away from the game to announce a coach nobody knows much about (other than at one point he was hired as an offensive coordinator). Nice to see some respect.

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