Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Green Valentine

Capitals 5, Lightning 1
Scoresheet - Wash Post - St. Pete Times

A few names come to mind when you talk about the National Hockey League's best defensemen. Bobby Orr, Raymond Bourque, Paul Coffey and Al MacInnis just to name a few. But none of them have scored a goal in eight consecutive games. Only one has, Mike Green. The historic goal came off of his own blocked shot and beat Kari Ramo in the second period for his 22nd goal of the season and biggest goal of his career.

"It's incredible," Green told reporters following the game. "I'm playing with some of the best players in the world."

Green was soon mobbed on the ice after his goal by his teammates.

"I wasn't expecting that, but I was excited," recalled Green about his teammates joining him on-ice. "It almost brought a little tear to my eye."

He even got a little praise from the opposition. "That's a hell of a feat for him. Got to tip your hat to a kid like that," Lightning head coach Rick Tocchet told reporters.

Alex Semin started the scoring off in the first with his 21st goal of the season. Alex Ovechkin also made the score sheet with a goal. Shaone Morrisonn had his point shot find its way to the back of the net. Eric Fehr stays red hot scoring in his third consecutive game and rounding out the scoring at 5-1.

Michal Neuvirth got his first ever start in an NHL game and nearly got a shut-out in his first game. His was solid in net, turning away 31 shots for his first NHL win. Neuvirth's glove was a tough thing to beat tonight as he flashed the leather stopping some pretty intimidating shooters from the Lightning like Vincent Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis.

"What can I say? It's unreal. An unreal feeling right now," Neuvirth said. "I still can't believe that. That was my best feeling ever."

Neuvirth's dad was in attendance as well as many other players' fathers were there to celebrate including Mike Green's dad as the Caps do their annual mentors trip through the Florida road swing. Both Green and Neuvirth got the shaving cream treatment in the locker room following the game.

To be honest, this game was about a very honed team that took on a very disorganized one. The Tampa Bay Lightning just couldn't do the simple things like a break out or a line change. Any AHL team could have taken on the Bolts tonight and come out with a victory in my opinion. They were sloppy with the puck often passing right to a waiting Capital. Starting goaltender for the Lightning, Mike McKenna, didn't last long in net after giving up three goals in the first and was quickly replaced by Ramo in the second.

The Capitals defense shored up their play in this one as Staffan Kronwall got his first start of the season as a Washington Capital. He played well, strong defensively, quick on his feet and got some time on the second unit power play, not bad. Although, it was Kronwall's stick the only Lightning goal came off of, I still think he played well. The Caps defense played well overall only allowed four shots in the third, putting the kibosh on any hope of a rally by the Bolts.

Puckhead's player of the game is Sergei Fedorov. He won 80% of his face offs and was a pain for Lightning defensemen all night, picking off passes, getting into passing lanes and creating offensive opportunities off of quick transitions after pick offs. He was even credited with a blocked shot. Overall, I think he just had a great game.

A lot of good things happened for the Capitals tonight, it was their night. But now they take on a red hot Florida Panthers squad tomorrow in Sunrise, FL. Their celebrations will be short lived tonight as it's back to work tomorrow. The game is a early evening showdown with the puck being dropped at 5 pm.


Mark Bonatucci said...

No question Federov has been awesome the past few games in fact the Flash-Feds-Fehr line has been pretty awesome as a whole.

Don't understand your comment on the defense - it has been pretty steady the past three games and Kronwall did okay but played sparingly and was -1. Both Green and Morrisonn were +3.

Overall the team seems to be gearing for the drive to and through the playoffs in just the right way. Glad I'm not a Penguins fan now - how about you?


Garrett said...

I have put the Capitals' defense on notice ever since the Kings game. With Morrisonn taking bad penalties late in games was a problem, Schultz not be responsible with his man or properly shutting down certain passing lanes leading to late goals sort of has the defensive core looking a bit shaky.

Lately the defensive core has done a better job, and Kronwall, despite having the only goal against Neuvirth come off his stick, was played in some pretty important situations like on the second unit power play.

And yes, I am pretty happy I am not a Pens fan, and apparently so is Michel Therrien!