Friday, October 28, 2011

Penalties Stops Caps' Streak Cold

Capitals 1, Oilers 2
Game Summary

The Capitals stormed out in the first period jumping on the young Oilers early with a 1-0 lead and out shooting them 6-1. But then they just could not stay out of the penalty box. The Caps were whistled for 9 penalties and gave up two goals to the Oilers' power play to see their best start in organization histroy halted at seven games. Edmonton jumps on the Caps misfortunes to beat them 2-1.

Karl Alzner scored his first of the season off of a nice slapper from the point to beat Nikolai Khabibulan over the shoulder. Joel Ward set the screen and the Oilers goaltender froze from the distraction. It would be the Caps high water mark in the game despite some heroic effort in the third period to try to tie up the game.

Oilers net minder Khabibulan only needed one good period and he was fantastic in the third. The Caps out shot the Oilers 18-6 in the final period and dominated the play for the most part. But shot after shot was turned away by the Edmonton goaltender. He was spectacular killing off a pair of late penalties for the Oilers. For all the offensive power the Caps poured on in the final period, it was all for not as Khabby got hot late.

The Caps inability to stay out of the box in the second period and having to play catch up for the rest of the game ends their winning streak at seven games. The power play did not see the time it could have, or should have, in this game but it is clear they miss number 52 back on the blue line.

Mike Green sat out for a tweeked ankle and the Caps seemed to miss the quarterback for timely break outs and setting up the power play. They missed his sneaks up the back side on the power play that kept the top penalty killer honest. The power play instead was a mortal 0 for 4.

A lot of this game could be excused away as unfair officiating as the Caps were called for 8 penalties including 5 calls in the second period alone. Four of them were hooking calls, some legit, some borderline. But the Caps just did not make good decisions on the ice and in the end it cost them. Credit the Caps' penalty killers for only allowing two power play goals against as it could have easily been 4-1 or 5-1 at the end of the second period.

Both of the Oilers goals came off of the power play. A tic-tac-toe passing play on the 5 on 3 goal, and a defensive break down and a juicy rebound on the second 5 on 4 goal. Both goals hard to avoid, but good lessons for the Caps to learn. Winning streaks sometimes hides imperfections and the Caps can use this game as a teaching tool, a lesson learned on their way through the season.

Caps catch up with the Western Conference Champs Saturday night and will have to bring a better game with them to Vancouver. The power play will have to reconfigure itself to better create chances with out Green on the back end.

Caps Notes:
  • Alex Ovechkin had six shots in attempt to get the tying goal. But Khabibulan turned aside all six. Alex Semin went through most of the game with out a registered shot on net through most of the game until he snapped two on net in the third.
  • Nine different Capitals were called for penalties, 5 penalties were stick infractions (4 hooking, 1 slash), 2 were delay of game (hand covering puck, puck over glass), a diving call and a holding the stick call.
  • Green is still questionable for Saturday night, Jay Beagle remains a scratch with a concussion.

1 comment:

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