Capitals 10, Bruins 2
In my original pregame post for last night's game between the Capitals and Bruins my original 'Key to the Game' for Boston was "Pray. The Capitals will be fuming after their loss to Toronto, playing Boudreau's aggressive system to 'T' and having acclimated their new players it's going to be a challenge for Boston to slow the Caps down, let alone stop them", but I discarded it thinking that it was too presumptuous (and out of fear of ending up looking stupid). Turns out I probably would have been right as the Capitals were ready from the opening faceoffs, racking up four goals before the Bruins tallied their second shot
and finishing the first period with as many goals (six) as the Bruins had shots.*
Like everything else going on with the Capitals, it would be impossible to extradite this game from the team's current goaltending situation. I think you'd be a little off base to say the Capitals potted ten goals because Cristobal Huet was in net but I think there has been a pronounced difference in the way the rest of the team played in the games Huet started compared with the ones Olaf Kolzig has started. The cause is most likely rebound control - it's been a problem for Kolzig all season and it's a strength of Huet's game and so far it has looked like the team is much more confident with Huet in net, whereas with Kolzig they seem to feel the need to collapse around the net to try and protect against second chances. With Huet in net it looks like the team is able to get out of the zone a step quicker, a major advantage when you're trying to play up-tempo and control the play, the way Bruce Boudreau wants. Nothing's definite yet, but it's just a little something to chew on.
DMG's 3 Stars
(1) Alex Ovechkin - 3 goals, 2 assists, +3. And the chase for 60 is back on.
(2) Nicklas Backstrom - 1 goal, 3 assists, +3
(3a) Matt Bradley - 2 goals, 1 assist, +1
(3b) Brooks Laich - 2 goals
(3c) Matt Cooke - 1 goal, 2 assists, +2
(3d) Eric Fehr - 3 assists, +1
(3e) Donald Brashear - 1 goal, 2 fights, +1
- Fight fans would have to have been licking their chops at the prospect of a Donald Brashear/Zdeno Chara scrap, but man it could not have been more disappointing.
- Domination is four goals when your opponent only has one shot.
- The pass/tip in for Ovechkin's fourth goal was absolutely perfect - it couldn't have been drawn up any better.
- One thought on Mike Green's board on Chara - that's getting your two minutes worth.
- Only two Capitals players (Milan Jurcina and Sergei Fedorov) didn't have at least one point.
- With his three assists Eric Fehr more than doubled his NHL assist total and increased his NHL point total 60%.
- I've ripped on them enough this season so credit where credit's due - the referees did a good job of keeping this game under control, without getting ridiculous.
*The official scoring changed after I wrote this, giving Boston credit for eight shots in the first.
All photos AP/Getty by way of Yahoo!