Sunday, February 08, 2009

Caps Squeak By Cats

Capitals 3, Panthers 1
Scoresheet - Wash Post - Herald

The Florida Panthers have been a dangerous team of late. They are making the push to break the playoff bubble and secure a spot above ninth in the Conference. That path takes them through the Verizon Center, a place they have already won. With a new coach and a new attitude the Cats are making that push for the coveted second place spot in the Southeast Division, a spot that they have teeter tottered with Carolina. But it's the Capitals' penalty kill that would undo that plan as the Caps edge the Cats 3-1.

Mike Green had another big night with two specialty team goals and the two biggest goals of the game. A power play tally that gave the Capitals the lead and a shorthanded, empty net goal that iced the game. Eric Fehr started the scoring with his sixth goal of the season.

Just like the game against the LA Kings, the Caps get off to a very quick start. Fehr's goal was just 33 seconds into the game. And just like the Kings game, the Panthers were quick to get that goal back. This time however, the Caps played much better on the blue line and the game quickly became a stalemate at 1-1 through two periods.

It looked as if the Caps power play was going to come up empty when the Panthers were able to to kill a double minor for high-sticking and dismantled the Caps power play on a Jassen Cullimore holding call. But when Stephen Weiss took a late penalty in the second that carried over to the third, Green was able to break that 1-1 stalemate.

The power play goal was actually a fake shot and brilliant pass by Alex Ovechkin. A Panther defender bit on the Ovi shot leaving Mike Green open with time and space. Green buried it high glove side. With the way things were progressing in the game, it looked as if that would be the final score if both teams played 5 on 5.

However, Shaone Morrisonn took a bad penalty with 5:01 left in the third period. It was a 5 minute major for checking from behind and a game misconduct. The Caps were already down a man so they had to kill off a 5 on 3 for a 1:08 and play the rest of the period killing off a major. But the Caps were able to do that even netting an empty net goal as Green threw it down to clear the zone. The Caps ended a stretch in which they have allowed an opposition powerplay goal in 13 straight games, a franchise record.

Green gets snuffed from getting a game star for Jose Theodore (number one star) and Dave Steckel (number two star). Tomas Vokoun was the game's third star. Green's efforts gives him goals in six straight games and is one goal shy of leading the league with power play goals. Not sure who was giving out the game stars for the game, but they did Green a big disservice.

The Capitals penalty kill is the puckhead player(s) of the game. The Caps spent nearly one third of the third period a man down. The kill was able to get the job done against a team that has been making a push to the playoffs and treated this game as a playoff game. They deserve a pat on the back for their efforts.

AP Photo, Nick Wass

No comments: