Sunday, February 24, 2008

Shaking Of The Head

Capitals 1, Devils 2 OT
Scoresheet - Wash Post - Wash Times

There was one phrase in my head as I left the game on an sudden overcast sky, the Capitals deserved a better fate. Unlike the game before in Carolina, the Caps were pressing until the end, keeping their attack even with their defensive efforts and goaltending was solid. Credit Martin Brodeur who has a habit of playing big when games mean something. For the Devils it meant taking the lead in the East. For the Caps it was an attempt to avenge a sub par performance 22 hours earlier.

Alex Semin scored just moments after the Devils took advantage of some Caps' penalties. Alex Ovechkin had an assist but was held scoreless in the last 5 games. The Caps effort overall was much improved from a day ago. The defense looked a little more in control in front of the net (besides the John Madden game winner) and I think I even saw Semin on the back check. There were times the Caps were getting a little too cute with the puck, but the overall pressure and effort was there. If the Capitals had pulled this effort in Carolina and still lost I would have felt better about it.

But this game was clearly about Brodeur, with some help of a left post and crossbar. The Devil goaltender was just spectacular through out the game. The Caps did pepper the net with some effort as well. Sometimes the Caps are guilty of just throwing the puck right at the goaltender, but Brodeur had to be sharp. Not to take anything away from Brent Johnson either. He clearly was a breath of fresh air after the Carolina debacle with Olie Kolzig in the paint. Although, if Kolzig had gotten the same support Johnny had, the out come would have been different.

How a team responds from a bad loss is key and while this is still a loss the Caps do gain a point and shouldn't be hanging their heads. They came out and worked, and that is what Caps fans really want out of their beloved. The team responded well. But the Caps really needed the two points, as we will be saying that every time they lose a game from here to the rest of the season.

Sami Lepisto looked much better although is still taking some sticking penalties. I contribute some of that to the difference between the minor league game speeds and the NHL speeds. If your not careful you can get got out of position real quick. As he legs get acclimated, we will see less and less of that. Tom Poti is playing much better as well. He was a little more physical in this game, and I am wondering if he is still bearing grudges against the Devils from playing in the Atlantic Division. He seems to have his best games against old divisional foes (which makes sense in a way).

While the Capitals need points, they do need to sort of lick their wounds and get some confidence back. Sure they gain a point, but an overtime loss can be a moral killer. Two straight losses could get this team in a rut they need to get out of quick if they want to make a run for the playoffs.

1 comment:

bryan said...

oh yeah, bryzgalov had a shutout.