Saturday, April 11, 2009

Poor Defense Ends Caps Season Like They Started It

Capitals 4, Panthers 7
Scoresheet - Post - Times - Mia Herald

When the Capitals started the '08 -'09 season it was with a disappointing loss to a division rival. The Thrashers took the Caps by surprise whooping them 7-4. They finished their campaign just like they started it, by getting whooped by a division rival by the same score. The Panthers took advantage of poor defensive play by the Caps to win on their fan appreciation night.

Alex Ovechkin looked frustrated all night after the Panthers collapsed on him all night, but he did eventually get open to score in the third giving him 56 goals on the season. He finishes with 110 points which is short of Evgeni Malkin's 113 point assault this season. Ovechkin was facing a scoring slump going into the playoffs as he was held without a goal in his previous four games.

Alex Semin is doing okay in the scoring department has he had two tallies tonight and Brooks Laich also scored bringing his career season to an end with 23 goals. Nick Backstrom was one of only two Capitals that finished with a plus 2 with a pair of assists. The other player with a +2 was Shaone Morrisonn.

The Capitals just had too many mistakes on the defensive end. While it is no excuse, the Caps may have just been caught thinking about Wednesday night when the post season starts. They just overlooked their opponent of the moment which happened to be a very determined Panther team.

It was a game that Mike Green would like to forget. He was a -1 and took the only penalty that lead to a Panther power play goal. Green has also had a tendacy to be a little cavalier with the puck in bad situations. Obviously there are a lot of clean that needs to be had on the blue line. The Caps need to better handle the puck on the breakout.

This is a game where the Caps have to quickly forget as they now know who they will face when the race for Lord Stanley's Cup. The Canadiens' loss to Pittsburgh sets the field and puts the New York Rangers up against the Washington Capitals. But we will get into that more next week.

The Capitals finish their season breaking a boat load of records. Franchise records for wins and points, Green's amazing 8 game scoring streak (most by any NHL defenseman), Ovechkin's third season with 50+ goals, and the list goes on.

It was definitely a season to remember, 82 games is just the ice cream base and the accomplishments are the condiments. Now all that is left is to put the cherry on top.

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