Wednesday, February 04, 2009

More On The Win At The Rock

Some further thoughts on the game last night.

Viktor Kozlov left the game after the first nursing what a team official called a groin tweak. Kozlov did leave without a limp and Bruce Boudreau kept him out of the last two periods as a precaution.

The Caps power play was good and bad at the same time. The Devils did an excellent job of frustrating the Capitals with the extra man. They had possession problems as the Devils were able to keep the puck for long stretches during the power play. While the problems seemed shadowed by the three goals on the power play. It seemed when the Caps are more pressured to score, they do.

Eric Fehr is making the most of his new found ice time. With Chris Clark out for the remainder of the season, Fehr has no choice but to pick up his game. But he has to start burying his chances and turn shots into goals. From the Detroit game to now, Fehr has scored in the past three games, but his chances far outnumber his goals. I am hoping that changes with time and more ice time under his belt.

Alex Ovechkin recorded only one shot on the net, a season low. The Devils seemed to do a good job of isolating him and clamping down on his explosive speed and his quick shot. But they couldn't contain Ovi entirely as the left winger had two helpers. Ovechkin also seemed to play a better defensive game against the Devils, back checking to break up odd man rushes.

When the star players for the Washington Capitals get suffocated by a good defense, shots seemed to come from unlikely sources. Ovechkin and Alex Semin were held to only 3 shots, one for Ovi, 2 for Semin. Brooks Laich, however, was bathing in shots getting 6. He had a goal and an assist on the night.

The last time Micheal Nylander had a multiple goal outing for the Capitals was December 29th, 2007. Nylander's play seemed to improve since he was a healthy scratch. He did seemed to be uncomfortable with the snub, but his offensive production has picked up including the two goals last night.

Micheal Neuvirth sat on the bench backing up Jose Theodore. He was recalled after Brent Johnson aggravated an injury. Johnsons's injury woes and Theo's solid play had made Jose the number one goaltender for the Capitals. Theo's play in this game was pretty good. Many of his saves seemed routine, even though a lot of them were not. It is a good sign to see a goaltender not allowing many rebounds. Right now it looks like JT60 is swallowing up shots and is looking more focused and more comfortable in net.

The Capitals canceled practice today, they just need the rest. The Caps go through a tough February with virtually a game every other day. Rest is something this team has to cherish. With a big win over the Devils, they earned the day off.

Tonight, Donny Brashear, Nick Backstrom and NHL diversity director Willie O'Ree will be at Fort Dupont Ice Rink in DC. Also Los Angeles King Wayne Simmonds will be in attendance as they visit the oldest minority hockey program in the United States.

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