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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Recap 3/16 vs Winnipeg

Well I was hoping for a win to keep the recent streak alive, not to mention the playoff hopes.  What I got what a team that played not to lose and ended up doing so.  Which is exactly what happens when you approach this kind of a game with that attitude.  Especially when you play a team that is more desperate than you are and happens to be backed by 15,000 screaming idiots rabid fans.

Did not like how the Jets pretty much had tilted the ice towards the Caps' end especially during the most critical moments of the game.  Again, playing not to lose will get you that exact result. The Caps looked physically outmatched in every battle, as if drained even though they were coming off a few days rest.  This is one of those inexplicable losses where you know they could have played better and yet somehow didn't. Unfortunately two points slipped away as a result, worse when you consider that the Jets now have new life in their playoff drive.  And Florida keeps on winning.

The game winner was one the Caps' D might like to have back.  How could they not have anticipated that Dustin Byfuglien would not have jumped in on the play?  Unfortunately Karl Alzner realized way too late and worse, played it the way Hugh Hefner would have--on his back. What was that all about?

The offense was just as pathetic, more so perhaps.  Sure they picked up the slack in the third by firing as many shots as the first two periods combined.  But it was simply too late.  (You ever notice nobody ever says "too much too late"?)  The only time offense was generated was as a counter to what the Jets were doing.  You can't afford to counterpunch a team like Winnipeg all night with their skating ability.  In fact, one of the Caps' goals was scored when the Jets' worst skater, Ron Hainsey, was on the ice.  Not sure if he was praying over the puck or what, but Matthieu Perreault gladly took advantage and tied the game temporarily.

There are many things that can turn the course of a hockey game.  Things like a big hit, a fight, or time out followed by a spirited tongue lashing by one's coach.  But there is nothing that can give you momentum like killing off a 3-on-5 disadvantage.  The Caps did just that and would go on to score a game-tying goal on the very next power play they got.  How and why they could put together absolutely nothing after that is beyond me.

Alex Ovechkin picked another bad time to be ineffective.  In a game where he needed to show something, the end result was nothing.  He was credited with five shots on net and the same amount of hits, so the effort was there.  But effort alone doesn't get you standings points.

Tomas Vokoun was named the third star and for good reason.  He kept the Caps in it when the Jets were running wild in the zone at times.  Some of the saves he would literally pull out of the air.  Haven't heard whether or not he or Neuvirth will get the start tonight against Chicago, but Vokoun just might be worth a second look.  He definitely has that competitive fire again.

Other than that, not too many Capitals looked all that impressive.  Jay Beagle had yet another solid outing, with 3 blocked shots and fourteen wins out of 20 draws in the faceoff circles.  Brooks Laich ended up being the only plus player.  The once-vaunted shutdown pair of John Carlson and Karl Alzner both ended up with minus 2 ratings, however.  Pathetic when you consider the fact that they weren't exactly asked to shut down Steven Stamkos or Sidney Crosby.

So it's on to Chicago for the continuation of this make-or-break road trip. Which Caps team will show up is anyone's  guess at this point.  Not sure I even care anymore, so long as whichever team that does show up wins. Because that's all anybody should be caring about at this point, and as such, should do everything it takes to get there.

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