Thursday, March 25, 2010

ReCAP (3/24/10)

Once again, the Flightless Fowl from Pittsburgh came and played the Washington Capitals. Once again they played a dramatic and exciting game that required extra time to finish. And, once again the Penguins went home with a loss.

APTOPIX Penguins Capitals Hockey

Mike Knuble (22) with the first goal of the game. (Photo from Yahoo)

Before we continue, my three stars of the game...

* - Jose Theodore, Capitals
** - Mike Knuble, Capitals
*** - Alexander Semin, Capitals

The Pens and Caps played another close, tense game yesterday. Verizon Center had a playoff feel, and both teams played rough, physical games. In terms of statistics, the game was incredibly even. They were totally neck-and-neck in hits, face-offs, etc. 

In terms of scoring, the game was pretty even too. Mike Knuble opened the scoring for the Caps in the start of the second period with a nice goal on a rebound behind Marc-Andre Fleury. Beautiful goal.

However, the Pens scored two straight shortly after Knuble's goal. Max Talbot tapped in a shot and Bill Guerin score on a pass from Crosby, during the power play, that Theodore had no chance of stopping. The Penguins took that 2-1 lead into the 2nd intermission.

The Capitals definitely increased the pressure in the third period, but were consistently stopped by the Penguins defense and Fleury. The Penguins continued to get power plays, and the Caps remained behind, 2-1.

The tide of the game soon changed to Washington's favor. With the Pens on the power play, Alexander Semin intercepted a shot by Crosby and went all the way up the ice, cutting through the Penguins' defense, and scored a beautiful shorthanded goal against Fleury. Eric Fehr, less than 2 minutes later, would score another goal for the Caps, and the lead became 3-2 Washington.

I looked as if the Caps would he able to hang onto the slim, one-goal margin, as Jose Theodore made a series of incredible saves that stopped a handful of prime scoring chances by Pittsburgh. However, Theo could keep it going, and Jordan Staal scored one to tie the game up a 3-a-piece with minutes to go. The Caps didn't get another goal, and the game went to overtime.

After a scoreless overtime period, where Jose Theodore was lights-out for the Caps, the game went to the shootout. This didn't look good for the Capitals, as Pittsburgh had gone 7-1 in the shootout this season. After Jose Theodore let in the first two Pittsburgh attempts, and Fleury stopped Nicklas Backstrom's attempt, it was up to Alexander Ovechkin to convert or loose the game to the Penguins.

Ovechkin scored.
Theodore stopped Bill Guerin.
Semin scored.
Theodore stopped Chris Kunitz.

With a chance to win the game, Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau chose Mike Knuble to go next in the shootout. Knuble, known for crashing the net, had gone 0-for-4 in the shootout in his career. Knuble was an incredibly bold decision by Boudreau, one that would have been questioned if the Caps didn't win this game.

Knuble went onto the ice, and started skating toward Fleury. He deked a bit, shot, and SCORED! Mike Knuble, with no prior shootout success, scored in the fourth round of the shootout and won the game for the Washington Capitals, 4-3 SO.


So thoughts on yesterday's game....
- Sidney Crosbyhas never, ever scored in a game when Evgeni Malkin is out. Yesterday, Malkin was out, and Crosby was without a goal.
- Jose Theodore has my full confidence. I came into this season with zero confidence in him, and he has earned all of it with his played over the last two months.
- Theodore is playing his best hockey in 8 years, and his best hockey as a Capitals player.
- Theo's 17-0-2 streak with no regulation losses is a Capitals franchise record, by the way!
- I really want to see Alexander Semin play a full 82 games, consistently. He'd probably lead the league in points and goals, I think.
- Its frustrating that Semin isn't more consistent, because he always makes scoring look effortless.
- Eric Fehr really needs more ice time next year.
- Alexander Ovechkin almost had a repeat of "The Goal" in yesterday's game. "The Goal" was scored in his rookie season when he was flat on his back, on the side of the goal, and still managed to score. Search "Alexander Ovechkin The Goal" on YouTube.
- I officially appoint Mike Knuble the Capitals' Penguin-Killer; 3 goals and a shootout winner in 3 games this season- I like it!
- Another game, another shot of the crossbar for John Carlson; keep on shooting and one will go in eventually!
- Finally, I hope Brooks Laich gets better soon.

Around the Rink (3/24/10); and a PreCAP (3/25/10) for tonight's game versus the Carolina Hurricanes! Enjoy!

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