Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Capitals win; move into first in Southeast

Capitals 4, Flyers 3

After a brief heart attack when I thought the NHL Network was airing "Mario Lemieux's top 10 Goals" rather than the Capitals game, I settled in the see if the Capitals could carry over some momentum from last night's win and stake a claim to the top of the Southeast Division and the boys in the red, white and blue did not disappoint.

If the season were to end today, the Washington Capitals would be in the playoffs as a number three seed as the winner of the Southeast Division. Man, does it feel good to be able to say that.

What is just as important is how the Capitals did it, weathering a storm of physical play from a very physical team in the second of back-to-back road and games and getting some secondary scoring. The Capitals got four behind Martin Biron, but Alex Ovechkin only scored one and the goal was his only point as the Capitals got scoring from each of their four lines and Viktor Kozlov, Matt Bradley and Brooks Laich also managed to dent the twine. In all, nine different Capitals had points.

From worst in the league to first in the division in less than half a season. Now that is what I call a feel good story.

DMG's 3 Stars
(1) Mike Green - 2 assists, 3 shots, +2
(2) Alex Ovechkin - 1 goal (game-winner), 4 hits
(3) Olaf Kolzig

Quick Hits

  • Only the Flyers would air a clip of the goalie laying a two-hander on the back of a player's leg as part of their highlight reel. Kind of shows you what their organization is all about, doesn't it? I mean would the Caps air Dale Hunter's cheap shot on Pierre Turgeon in a video tribute to him?

  • Was anyone else confused by the fact Ovechkin was booed every time he touched the puck? I though the color of envy was green, not orange/black.

  • Was it just me or did anyone else get a laugh out of Steve Downie mixing it up with John Erskine after the first whistle of the game. That's not a fight you want Steve, trust me.

  • The Flyers announcers (one of whom was Keith Jones) just about lost it when the Flyers had a goal waived off and repeatedly questioned why this could have happened. Because apparently when Jones played it was legal to push a goaltender who was covering the puck over the goal line to score (I don't know, you tell me).

  • It's too bad Matt Bradley's goal didn't stand as the game winner. Slap shot from the point, off the man in the front who's then greeted by his grinning, toothless teammate? Now that's hockey.

  • I know Randy Jones is defenseman who, coming into the game, had 7 goals in 146 NHL games, but that still doesn't mean you can let him walk through the slot. Especially not when he's already had five shots in the game.

  • The Comcast Philadelphia branch has an interesting definition of chances - after two periods the Flyers had 15 shots on goal and 16 "chances".

Around the (Inter)net
Dion Phaneuf has re-signed with Calgary, breaking my heart because he's never coming to Washington. Although given that he wasn't going to anyway I should mourn something that is truly lost - many more potential uses of my 'Wild Capitals-related fantasies that will never come true' label...What does it take to be a Stanley Cup winning goalie? Mike Vogel's got some idea...Just how good has Ovechkin been this year? James Mirtle takes a look (man do I link to his blog a lot)...Sometimes a parent just knows...More talk about NHL teams chasing Fabian Brunnstrom...Not hockey related, but it's always good to have another reason to dislike politicians.

All photos Getty



1) Don't think even the most ardent Caps fan could have seen this coming back in November when most figured the best case scenario was a return to .500 by season's end
2) Suddenly tomorrow's game is looking like it could be very exciting! Now if you guys can only get your special teams playing better and they might become dangerous

DMG said...

I believe the Caps powerplay is clicking at about 19% since Boudreau took over which would put it at #6 or #7 if it were at that rate for the season.

Penalty kill needs work though. Step one: get Erskine off the ice. He can't keep up with other team's forwards.