Kinda late this Monday night and I find myself pressed for time. I'm one game behind in the blog and I'm none too happy about it. I meant to post something right after the game last night but I just blew it...I guess I'm starting to feel like the old guy I used to make fun of a lot.
In any case I'm going to keep this one short and simple. Or will I? Okay how about short and complicated...kinda like...well, we won't go there.
I liked and didn't like some things I saw in the game last night. Here's the rundown as I saw it:
Braden Holtby's eventual confidence, and his big saves.
Both Alex Semin and Mike Green continuing their streaks--and their timely scoring.
The Boyd Gordon Streak lives!
Alex Semin dogging for the puck at BOTH ends of the ice.
All D.C. faceoff takers had a collective 57% win rate.
Nikolay Zherdev getting a goal (I know, I know, but he's on my fantasy team!)
Eric Fehr's wrist shot--let's see more of that. Kinda hard to score sitting down...if you know what I mean!
Braden Holtby's tendency to be wayyyyyyy out in front. He's lucky he never got caught out of position.
Mike Knuble's drought goes into its 12th damn game.
No D.J. King in the lineup. Would have loved to see him pound the heck out of Dan Carcillo.
Another poor defensive showing for David Steckel, Karl Alzner, and John Carlson--all minus 1 each!
Brooks Laich writing his memoirs as an Invisible Man in the third. To be fair he is reported to be injured.
The Caps' overall play in the 3rd. That ice was tilted, and not because it was sloppy, either.
Not much physical play. If this was 15 years ago, there would have been a brawl after the opening faceoff.
Not to cause a (backup) goaltending controversy, but could it be that we're now pretty much set in goal? Semyon Varlamov has spent more time with his physical therapist than with his equipment bag this year. This keeps up and he'll be riding the bus again--or worse. Holtby's done very well for himself in his two games; enough to earn the backup spot after being handed it by default. There's a lot of that "goalie-who-came-out-of-nowhere-and-does-well" going on this year and he's just the latest success story. I'm not saying he's ready for regular duty, but he's obviously aced his first NHL test.
I listened to Japers Rink radio this morning and Russell brought up a pretty good point. The Caps have been great at winning games in overtime and on the power play. Five-on-five? In regulation? Not so much. They haven't played Buffalo Sabres-awful, but there is room for improvement. Last night was yet another OT win, and it's always good to win in a pressure situation. But you have to wonder what it is about this team that they have to be up against it to come out firing on all cylinders.
Case in point--last night they gave up the first goal...again. Maybe I'm used to seeing this team run away with it from the off. But no matter the end result, you never want to see your team start off poorly. This is still another bad habit I feel they need to nip in the bud before next spring. Sure they held one of the league's highest scoring teams to two goals, but how much of that was fatigue? And how much of that was Holtby standing on his head? They should have dominated this game. They ended up lucky not to lose.
I'll end on this note, and it's something I've said before. I'm happy for the win, but there's much that still needs work. Whether it's been Holtby or Michal Neuvirth, the Caps have been the beneficiaries of stellar goaltending. You can ride good goaltending all the way to the Cup if necessary, but the best teams get that way simply by playing like they are the best teams. The standings points may say otherwise, but this team is still far from being at their best. Fortunately for them, the right time to be at their best is over six months away.