Tonight, the Capitals lost to the Tamp Bay Lightning in a divisional game at Verizon Center. While loosing is never a good thing, it could have been much worse than tonight. Some musings on tonight's game....
- Tampa Bay obviously came with an energy that the Capitals did not share; this, however, is understandable for two reasons.
- The Capitals just clinched their division title, and while the team admits this is not really a big goal for the season, it means the Caps no longer need to fight for a playoff spot, unlike Tampa Bay.
- Secondly, the Capitals play the Chicago Blackhawks in a nationally-telivised (on NBC, 12:30 PM) game on Sunday; in my opinion, this is a possible, if not likely, Stanley Cup final. It's exusable of they're resting up.
- Bruce Boudreau continues his lineup tinkering, testing out players and stuff; as a result, defensemen John Carlson and Jeff Schultz were not playing today; instead being replaced by John Erskine and Tyler Sloan.
- Most likely do to that, all three Lightning goals were even-strength.
- The Capitals played a very clean game, only taking one penalty... which they killed off, leading to a 100% penalty-kill effectiveness tonight.
- Meanwhile, the powerplay went an excellent 2-for-4 tonight.
- In fact, all the Caps' goals were on the powerplay.
- This speaks about the skill of Lightning goalie Antero Niitymakki, who had a fantastic .933 save percentage.
- Semyon Varlamov, meanwhile, continues to improve, tonight allowing only three goals and having a .889 save percentage behind a worse than normal Capitals defense (due to the scratching of two usual defensemen).
- Tomas Fleischmann got his 20th goal of the season tonight; six Capitals players now have more than 20 goals.
- In comparison, Vancouver is the next closest team, with four.
Anyway, a loss is never plesant, but tonight's wasn't as bad as they come. However, Sunday's game against Chicago is a must-win; it is the only meeting between the two teams in the regular season. I strongly hope this will be the Stanley Cup finals matchup, and a Capitals win Sunday would help their President's Trophy lead, as well as assert their dominance over more Western Conference teams.
All in all, tonight had a pretty decent game. A loss, but still pretty decent.