Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rough Finishes

Capitals 3, Predators 2 OT/SO (1-0)
Scoresheet - Post - Times

Just when you think the Capitals are unstoppable, they always seem to shoot themselves in the foot. On a night when it looked as if Washington was going to run away with a win, they once again allowed a lesser team to get back into the game. The Nashville Predators were able to erase a 2-0 deficit to tie and send the game to a shoot out. They would eventually lose to the Capitals 3-2.

Alex Ovechkin had another stellar start. He netted his first power play goal of the year then followed that up with a lucky bounce off the boards to give him two goals in the first period. The Caps looked as if they might dominate again, but mental breakdowns and unfortunate bounces gave the Preds a chance to get back into the game.

First periods for the Caps have been awesome. They have outscored their opponents 13 to 2 in the opening frame and have never trailed. Eric Fehr drew a couple of penalties that eventually led to the Ovechkin power play goal. Their execution in the first shows how dangerous this team can be.

But the Caps have once again failed to preserve that lead and fail to score when they seem to need it the most. The Caps had some very good opportunities to take to add to their score or to take the lead back, but failed to so. Either teams are making adjustments after the first period to counteract the Caps' offense or the Caps are just failing to execute what they were able to accomplish just one intermission ago.

The power play was a disaster to start with. The Predators seemed to be able to turn the puck over at their blue line and get a jump on the Caps aggressive defenders (Ovechkin and Mike Green were the defensive pair). It would give them two back to back breakaways on Semyon Varlamov. Varly would come up with both saves, bailing out the Caps power play that would eventually lead to Ovi's PP goal later. Varlamov, who came in for the injured Jose Theodore, played solidly through out the game but couldn't overcome a bad defensive play and a puck that he should have been able to stop.

A shoot-out was inevitable after the Preds played a much better defensive scheme and their goaltender, Dan Ellis, was able to bail them out with some great saves. The Caps dodged a bullet as the first two Nashville shooters missed the net and Varly came up with the save on the last one. Ovechkin's goal in the shootout was a show in stick handling and deke, as he got Ellis to move to the left as Ovi went right. The goal prompted a few fans to throw their hats on the ice, but it is not a hattrick for the Caps' winger.

Caps Notes:
  • Shaone Morrisonn was scratch after he suffered a lower body injury in the last game. Tyler Sloan was his replacement. Sloan nearly had a goal after an aggressive play, he shot the puck and the rebound came right back to him. He rang the rebound off the post.
  • Braden Holtby was called in to be Varlamov's back up. His stay with the club didn't last long, as he was sent back to South Carolina following the game. Theodore claims his back is now a dull pain rather than a sharp one that prevented him from finishing the game against San Jose.
  • The Capitals are second in the league in 5 on 5 goals with 20. They are second to Edmonton (22). On 5 on 4 power plays the Caps are tied in 8th place with 5 other teams at 7 goals. They are ranked 5th in the league in goals for average per game with 3.50.

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