Sunday, March 21, 2010

ReCAP (3/20/10)

Another day, another victory as the Washington Capitals roll on toward a franchise points record as well as the President’s Trophy.    

Capitals Lightning Hockey

(Photo from Yahoo)

Last night’s matchup was between the Washington Capitals and the Tampa Bay Lightning. This was the last game of the season between the Caps and the Lightning, and it was a crucial game for Tampa Bay. The Lightning’s playoff hopes are incredibly slim, and they need to start winning, as they only have 11 games left and are 6 points out of the playoffs. Tonight’s game certainly didn’t help.

The first period was surprisingly tense. Tomas Fleischmann and Vincent Lecavalier both scored in the first 10 minutes, and the Capitals only managed to get four shots in the first period. However, Alexander Ovechkin also scored, so half of the Capitals’ shots in the first period got by goalie Antero Niittymaki and into the net.

The second period was scoreless, but both teams continued to pile on the penalties; however, the Capitals penalty kill was incredible last night, going 100%.

In the third period, neither team had a clear advantage, thought the tide was certainly turning in Washington’s favor. Alexander Semin got a goal within the first 10 minutes of the third, and the Capitals managed to hold on for a good 3-1 win over Tampa Bay.

Some thoughts on the game….

- Jose Theodore was incredible. Simply incredible. There were no rebounds, no second chances. He gobbled everything up. After being faced with 35 shots, he only let in 1 goal. That means Theodore had an astounding .971 save percentage. Since playing Tampa Bay in January, Theodore is 16-0-2. I think that the playoff starter job is his to loose.
- The powerplay was less than fantastic…. it had 4 chances and did not convert on any of them. Luckily, Washington does not depend on the powerplay to score, but it would be nice to keep the powerplay success going.
- Meanwhile, the other special team was great. The penalty kill had a 100% success rate, on the road, facing five penalties. I repeat. The penalty kill had a 100% success rate, on the road, facing five penalties. Memo to the Capitals; keep it up!
- Alexander Ovechkin is now, once again, tied with Sidney Crosby for the NHL goal scoring lead. Ovechkin also leads the league in plus/minus and points.
- Nicklas Backstrom is tied with Sidney Crosby for third in terms of points in the NHL. Backstrom also has 12 more assists than Crosby, good third in the NHL in terms of assists. Backstrom is also fourth in points-per-game, and tied for fourth in plus/minus.

The Capitals now have a nice little break before facing the Penguins on Wednesday at home. Should the Penguins lose to Detroit on Monday, a Capitals win would allow them to clinch the Eastern Conference.

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