Friday, October 24, 2008

Yotes Outhustle Caps

Capitals 1, Coyotes 2
Scoresheet - Wash Post - Az Rep

The Capitals had a hard time with their power play of late, not tonight. They actually scored on the power play. Their even strength game however was the problem. The Phoenix Coyotes slap two past Jose Theodore in the third to come from behind and beat the Caps 2-1.

Brooks Laich scored the lone goal on the power play off of a nice feed from Alex Semin who curled and dragged around the defender before dishing the puck to the wide open Laich. Thoedore played well. Take that back Theo played awesome. He came up with some huge saves, keeping the Caps alive when they could have easily been down by a couple before going into the third.

Besides Theo's outstanding goaltending and Semin and Laich's pretty power play goal, that was pretty much the only bright spots in the game for the Caps. It seemed that the Coyotes had their legs underneath them and were beating the Capitals to loose pucks. They were clogging up passing lanes and pressuring their opponents on the forecheck. It had looked like the Caps were the inexperienced young team that just couldn't muster an attack against a more experienced, highly talented team.

Mike Green takes a lot of blame for the breakout being abysmal. He would try to make a move and when he couldn't shake the defender, he would make another and another until he either coughed up the puck or cornered himself right out of the play. Credit the Phoenix Coyotes for having a better forecheck than the Capitals.

The short of it, the Caps now can only salvage 2 points out of this road trip with a game against Dallas on Saturday. This will be the Capitals second straight loss, and they have only amassed a single point in the last three games.

The Capitals have to simplify their game. Green, Alex Ovechkin and Semin are trying too hard to make that extra play. The puck has to go to the net and they have to get some ugly goals. They all can't be pretty.

Maybe that magic from last season is gone. The Capitals just were not pushing their play, instead were on their heels for far too long. They were losing battles along the boards or turning over the puck too many times to count. Once the defensemen did get the puck, the forwards all took off on them, leaving them outnumbered in their own zone.

I would be surprised if there was no team meeting after this one. As much offensive talent that is on this team, they should be doing better against teams like a struggling Calgary or a young Phoenix. But it's been a slow start for Ovechkin (2 goals, 4 points), Nick Backstrom (2 assists), Chris Clark (1 assist, -1). Let's hope whatever is ailing them get cured quick.

Hightlights courtesy of

John Erskine did not play tonight due to a bruised calf. He did get a contract extension however, that was announced before the Coyotes game. His contract will pay him $2.5 million over the next two years.

Also a pretty cool thing happened that I have only seen once before. Coyotes forward and captain Shane Doan let a wrister go that broke the puck in two. Pretty impressive. But I have seen it done once before. The puck was stepped on first with a skate blade, then when a shot hit the post it shattered.

Among the weirdest things I have seen at a hockey game was a puck go through a pane of glass. Not shatter the glass, got straight through, leaving a puck sized hole in its wake. The puck nearly hit my wife standing to my left and the piece of glass grazed my friend standing on my right. It took us a second to realize what had happened. I always say, thank goodness I am surrounded by good people.

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