Posts tagged “Capitals”

Wings 3, Caps 5

Update (3:50 PM): Corrected headline. Had the score reversed like a moron. Sorry. - Matt

Uh, Bad Start: The Caps gave the Wings very little margin for error in that first period. The Wings looked to be in reasonable shape, but once they started making mistakes, they found there would be no forgiveness. Generally, for example, it is a bad idea to leave Alexander Ovechkin open in the slot. As they did on the first Washington goal. And even Mike Knuble has been known to score from the slot if left uncovered. Also, letting Ovechkin walk up the gut with impunity should be frowned upon in defensive circles.

Jimmy: Hung out to dry, for sure. Yet not his usual sharp self, either. Now we have an idea why.

Holmstrom: This dumb rock is embarrassed by his decision to throw a guy into the goalie on the Emmerton goal in the first period. Love you, Homer, but that was stupid.

Slew Foot: Google it and you should see the Caps’ fourth goal. But only if you’re not a ref—your vision will black out if you are.

Power Play: The Wings finally got a PPG. But the PP wasn’t particularly great the rest of the night. They’ve still got some work to do.

On the Board Again: The Bertuzzi goal sparked something in the Wings, as they looked more involved after that point. Unfortunately, they were too far behind the eight-ball by that point.

Smith: Still often has his baby D-man moments, but sprinkles in plenty of real NHLer moments, too. Last night was no exception.

Zetterberg: Stupid, stupid penalty. I’m still annoyed about it. He’s a leader on this team and has to be better than that, with the team in a position to tie it up. Dumb.

The Race: No points gained. That’s not good. They’re now sitting four points up on the Hawks, and could well slip into 6th. That may beat facing Nashville in the first round, but considering how close the Sharks are to overtaking the Stars, I’m not such a fan. The last thing this group needs is the mental crap that comes with San Jose, even if the Sharks are not the team they have been.

Game Day Notes: vs. Washington

… This is the second of two meetings between the Wings and Caps this season. The first was a battle of undefeated teams back in October and ended with a 7-1 Washington win.

… The Capitals aren’t undefeated any more, having gone 29-30-6 since that game. At 78 points, they’re in 8th place in the East, just five points back of third place thanks to the division leader privilege (Florida leads with 83). They’re further back from the 7th place team than they are from a home-ice spot. Crazy.

… They played last night in Chicago in the third stop of a five-game road swing that had them in Winnepeg on Friday. They lost to both the Hawks and Jets, but managed to win the road stretch opener against the Islanders last Tuesday. But they had to go to a shootout to do it. That win capped a four-game streak for them, so their recent record isn’t bad.

… The loss to the Hawks was bad news for their playoff hopes, but they got a lucky break with the Hurricanes beating the team just below them in the standings, the Jets. But it’s a potential sign of their ability to step it up when facing a definite must-win situation.

… They had an optional skate after getting in late last night. Hardly anybody took the option.

… The Caps are without Tom Poti, Nicklas Backstrom and Tomas Vokoun.

No word on the starter for the Caps. Neuvirth started last night.

… The Wings are coming off a brutal road stretch where they went 0-3-1, starting with a one-off trip to Nashville and continuing with three games in California. They managed to force overtime on Saturday and took a point against the Sharks, but other than that, there was very little positive in the past four games.

… They’ll be looking to retake fourth place tonight after losing it with the Predators’ 3-1 win over the Ducks yesterday. They’re currently losing the ROW tie breaker at 92 points.

… They’ll be without Johan Franzen, out still with a back injury, and Darren Helm, who went down with a leg injury Saturday night. Gustav Nyquist was recalled to fill in for Helm, and he’ll apparently skate with Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi.

… Nick Lidstrom remains out as well, but he skated today after taking the weekend off. That’s a promising sign, even if Babcock’s not optimistic.

… Jimmy Howard gets the start, and will be backed up by Jordan Pearce as Joey MacDonald’s still out.

… The Wings need points tonight. The Caps are fighting for a playoff spot, but the Wings need to consider themselves to be fighting for one too: the best one they can get. The Predators did their part last night. The Wings need to do theirs here.

Wings 3, Capitals 2

Upswing: The Wings look to be on it. The played a solid game Friday but got very little luck, dipped a little with a nearly-blown win on Saturday, and came out of the gates strong against the hottest team in the League last night. They dipped again in the second a bit, but altogether a good effort.

Jimmy: Look really good, I thought. He had little chance on the Caps’ first goal, which came through a crowd packed tight enough to throw a blanket over.

And the Ovechkin goal? No goalie in the league makes that save unless touched by sheer luck. Down year or not, Ovechkin can still bring one of the best shots in the League.

Speaking of: The Joe crowd saw fit to boo Ovechkin. They’re paying customers and have that right, so don’t misconstrue my next comments as anything other than my exercising of my own rights: to think that’s incredibly stupid and to say so. That’s something an uneducated, young fan base does. It’s one thing to boo an established public enemy: Sidney Crosby, for example, or Getzlaf/Perry, or even Kane. But what, exactly, has Ovechkin done, aside from be freaking good?

Come on, people.

Stuart: I saw some chatter about Stuart on the Ovechkin goal. I’m going to assume it came out of people’s deep-seated irrational bias against the guy, because I don’t know what else he could have done. Murphy is laughable at times, but the guy sometimes says something smart, and to point out that Ovechkin had half a zone of momentum built up before he even reached Stuart fits the bill. Ovechkin had Stuart on his heels and it was all Stuart could do to back  up and try to get his stick in there. Maybe Nick Lidstrom would have gotten that puck, but much like with Jimmy on that play, Stuart was just overmatched by a player who can tap another tier.

Zetterberg: He’d been kept off the scoresheet for a while, but I wasn’t thinking he was playing horribly lately. That said, it was good to see him finally net a couple. His first was in a style I’d like to see more of, with the whole cannon act. His second was another one we could stand to see more often, given how many times he goes down the right wing with the aim of getting off a backhander.

Rafalski: There are nights where the guy can be frustrating. Last night was not one of those nights. It was a good reminder of the guy’s immense importance to the team and of what he’s capable of. I’ll take a few shifts of inexplicable defensive decisions and turnovers in exchange for that. He’s a major piece of the blueline.

Next: The Wings face off in Columbus for an early one. The Jackets are 1-2-1 in their last four and are coming off a 3-2 SO loss to the Bruins on Tuesday. They’ll play the Wings hard as they try to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

The Wings will have to do it without Hudler, who’s sick. Eaves and Miller will both be in.

Joey MacDonald will get the start for the Wngs, as Osgood’s still sore, apparently.

If the Wings can get off to a similar start tonight, they’ll be in good shape. They’ll need to work hard to be on the puck.

George has more complete rundowns here and here.

Game Day Notes: vs. Washington

Update (2:08 PM): More from Osgood himself via St. James. - Matt

Update (1:17 PM): Bill Roose reports Osgood has mentioned some soreness, so it is him that’s out. Ugh.

That means “no” on a Twitter theory about Mrs. Osgood and having another baby (due any day—ever think about an off-season baby, guys?) - Matt

Update (1:14 PM): Team press release says MacDonald’s been recalled. Either Osgood’s had a setback or Jimmy’s sick/tweaked something. Guessing the former. Not good. - Matt

… This is the only time we’ll see the Caps this year.

… Washington has won their last nine, including a 4-2 win in Montreal last night. Their last loss came in February, to the Rangers. They were stomped on 6-0 then, but have done pretty well for themselves since. The Caps’ game notes points out that they’re 12-2-0 in their last 14 and have won more games than any other team since February 16 (17).

… The Caps are 41-20-10 overall, with 92 points and a second place slot in the East, just a point back of Philadelphia.

… Apparently, they’ve had some problems in the third period this year. Not so much lately, though: during their 9-game tear, they’ve outgunned their opponents 13-2 in the third. The Wings will need to be on top of their game in the final frame.

… The Caps are dealing with a number of injuries and added a new one to the list last night: Eric Fehr. He’ll join Jason Arnott, Mike Green, Niklas Backstrom, Tom Poti John Erskine and Semyon Varlamov on the Caps’ list of injured guys.

… This is not your crappy defensively Caps team of yesteryear: they’re sitting at 4th place in goals against per game (2.37) and apparently made defense more a part of their game than it was during their high-flying offensive days. The change even has Boudreau in the Adams talk, something I find laughable, but whatever.

Meanwhile, the Wings are at 18th with 2.84. Not acceptable.

… Their lineup for last night’s game is here and should roughly match tonight’s, plus whoever replaces Fehr (looks like DJ King).

… Michael Neuvirth will get the start for the Caps. He’s 22-10-4 this year with 3 shutouts.

… The Wings have won their last two, starting with a skid-halting 2-1 OT win over the Oilers on Friday, and continuing with a blown-lead infused win over the Blues on Saturday. They’ll look to win on less shaky ground against a much more dangerous team tonight.

… Brian Rafalski is in the lineup again, finally, but Ruslan Salei is out with being a good husband and father. Patrick Eaves is reportedly healthy, but won’t play tonight after taking a personal day yesterday instead of practicing.

… They skated with these units on Monday and Tuesday:



… Jimmy Howard gets the start tonight, and will be backed up by Chris Osgood, finally.

… The Wings have just a 2 point lead on the Sharks now, but have played two fewer games. Their lead over Chicago’s a little wider at 4 points. But both are good reason to kick it into gear tonight and make sure the Caps’ streak doesn’t hit double digits.

Ovadia: Be Like the Wings

Making Ovechkin a net-front player or finding someone else who can do that for the Caps would be smart. But Ovadia misses what from the Wings’ game would really help the Caps: a commitment to team defense.

They may not quite fill the stereotype that they don’t care about D at all, but there’s no denying that it’s a part of their game that’s neglected. The point of the game might be to outscore the opponent, as Caps fans put it to me recently, but hand-in-hand with that is preventing the opponent from scoring. Follow in the Wings’ footsteps and leverage crazy offensive talent together with hardcore commitment to defense and the Caps could be a true force.

The Caps’ issues in the Habs series went beyond defense, but the cliche that defense wins championships is, you know, actually true.

The New Story to Watch

I doubt there’s anything there, but you don’t want to see “hockey” and “steroids” in the headlines together. And you know no matter what happens, people are always going to suspect the Capitals now (“Ovechkin’s a beast. How’d you think he got that way?!”). Ugly.

Ovechkin Facing Suspension Due to Campbell Injuries

Via Bob McKenzie:

I will be surprised if Ovechkin is not suspended for a couple of games. Campbell’s injury is the big factor now.

Campbell reportedly suffered a broken clavicle and rib on the play.

Gotta say I disagree with the reasoning that says you determine a suspension based on the results of the play. To me, a hit is bad whether or not the victim happened to get injured. The results of a dirty hit can be a coin toss. Does the fact that a player escaped without injury absolve the hitter of responsibility for making the hit? I don’t think so.

As far as I’m concerned, intent needs to be the biggest factor. The Cooke hit wasn’t bad because it injured Savard. It was bad because there was clear intent to injure. Had Savard somehow managed to escape without a concussion, I’d still be appalled the NHL didn’t suspend Cooke.

As for this case, I just don’t think you can argue there was intent. Suspend him for being reckless and too stupid to know when to hold up, but don’t base it on Campbell’s injury.