Saturday, December 06, 2008

Depleted Defense Help Caps Win

Capitals 2, Maple Leafs 1
Scoresheet - Wash Post - Toronto Star

The Capitals just couldn't catch a break when it came to injuries. Even the call-ups are getting hurt. Sean Collins was called up to replaced injured Tyler Sloan as the Caps never ending carousel of injuries borders on ridiculousness. As deplete as they were, it was two goals by the defensemen that propelled the road win as the Caps squeak by the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1.

Milan Jurcina's third period goal was a response to a Leaf goal just 60 seconds earlier. Karl Alzner scored his first NHL goal, on Canadian national television as well. Even though Alex Ovechkin didn't earn a point, he played a style we are all accustomed to and earned the games number one star. Alzner was the game's second star.

The Caps seemed to have a step on the Leafs who have just returned from a road trip. Alzner played the best game so far. He was solid on defense and was able to break the scoring early int he second that seemed to stabalize the Caps through the second and through out the third. His goal was a result of his hustle. The Leafs tried to dump the puck out of their zone and Alzner was able to keep it in and get one past the Leafs' netminder.

The Leafs goaltender Vesa Toskala was a big reason the Caps were only able to net two goals. He had a plethora of great saves that denied the Caps top scorers. He got some help from the pipe and Brooks Laich's goal that was called back because he kicked the puck in (although it looked like his stick touched it before it crossed the goal line).

The Caps played a much better road game as they made a better effort to crash the net. They were able to pressure the Leaf defenders too deep in their zone and that led to scoring chances and a goal that was eventually recalled. In the past two games the Caps have gotten good scoring chances just by getting dirty and looking to score that ugly goal.

Washington's powerplay was brought to a halt, thanks mostly in part due to the Maple Leafs discipline. They had only two chances with the man advantage. Proving that the way to keep yourself in the game against the Caps, stay out of the penalty box. However the Leafs' lone goal was a power play tally. Proving that the Caps can't afford to take too many penalties themselves.

Jurcina had a good game. Not only did he net the game winner, but he looked much more solid at his position. Kieth Aucoin was another solid gamer tonight. He nearly squeaked one past Toskala in the first, it trickled wide.

Caps' schedule does them no favors, as they are off to face the Carolina Hurricanes for a 5 pm start in Raleigh. That is less than 24 hours away.

Just some interesting things I observed about the game non-hockey related. The Comcast Sportsnet broadcast was not in high definition. I have noticed that the last couple of road games they have done. The frame is still 16x9 but it's not in 1080i. The picture just didn't look very sharp.

Also, Slapshot was on this road trip as the mascots are in town for who knows what. He was attacked after a break in the first by other mascots with his own sign and bags of popcorn. It was a pretty funny scene to watch.

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