Well, the good news is that the Washington Redskins didn’t lose last week (they don’t play until tonight) and neither did the Washington Capitals!
It’s another Monday, so it must be time for another Caps Recap!
After suffering through four straight losses, the Capitals have bounced back and added two more games to the win column last week and have now won four straight. This is certainly worth celebrating, but the fact is, the Caps are still not playing really good hockey. To say their power play is not performing would be an understatement; their power play has proven to be a liability as their opponents scored two shorthanded goals while the Caps went 0-11 on the power play last week alone.
I suppose you could say the Caps went -2 for 11 on the PP.
Something else that is interesting is that Caps superstar Alex Ovechkin was rendered without a goal in both of this past week’s contests. You might say that a large part of the teams woes have to do with the slump that Ovechkin finds himself in, which could have something to do with the absence of Alex Semin on the second line.
Superstars not withstanding; the Caps have seen their B-liner’s step it up and that’s what you need from a good hockey team. Their wins may not have been pretty, but you get no extra points for style.
Let’s get to the recap
Thursday, October 22nd – Caps @ Atlanta – In keeping with their trend, the Caps jumped out to an early lead when Eric Fehr scored on an early breakaway just 2:02 into the game. Atlanta matched them step for step in the first period and both teams went into the locker-room tied at 2 goals apiece. In the second period, the Caps victimized Thrashers’ goalie Ondrej Pavalec by scoring three goals in :88 seconds and ending his night early. The Caps’ special teamers gave up a shorthanded and a power-play goal in the third period, but the team managed to hang on and eek out a 5-4 victory.
Dialing Long Distance – Midway through the second period, Jeff Schultz got the gift of a lifetime scoring a goal from 190 feet away. As he rounded his own net, he received a pass from Caps’ netminder Semyon Varlamov, and tried to pass the puck up the ice to Mike Knuble. As far as passes go, it wasn’t a very good one and never connected with Knuble, but it skipped it’s way up the ice taking an extremely lucky (or unlucky, depending on whom you were rooting for) bounce a mere seven feet from Thrasher’s goalie Ondrej Pavalec shooting right up over his glove and into the net.
Noticeably Absent – The Capital’s “Young Guns” (Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin and Green) were each held without a point in Thursday’s game versus Atlanta (to be fair, Semin wasn’t playing due to injury). The Caps were 0-1 this year when their young stars were held scoreless, and went 1-9-1 in the few times that it happened last year.
Maybe it’s the name Alex… – With Alexander Semin out with an injury, and Alexander Ovechkin having trouble finding the back of the net, it fell to Alexandre Giroux to get an Alex on the score sheet. Giroux’s goal in the first period was his fourth ever NHL goal and it comes against the organization that let him slip away in the minors. Giroux played for the Thrasher’s AHL affiliate in Chicago for the first part of the ‘07-‘08 season where he was coached by the Thrashers’ current head coach, John Anderson.
Saturday, October 24th – Caps @ NY Islanders – Caps’ fans who tuned in late may have been surprised to see their team behind after the first period. It’s the first time the Caps have trailed to start a game this season. The Caps struggled to find an answer all game and rotated several different forward through the Ovechkin-Backstrom line. The Caps still struggled on the power-play, and gave up their second short-handed goal in as many games. The Caps dug deep and finally found their goal scorer mentality and it was Mike Green that led the charge. Keith Aucoin tied the game up, and it was Brooks Laich that won the game in overtime.
That was ugly – This game should not have been as close as it was. The Caps came in with a 5-2-2 record to face an Islander team with only one win for the season. Senior Writer for WashingtonCaps.com had it right when he said “wins are like goals; you don’t ask ‘how,’ you ask ‘how many.’” If the Caps don’t figure out the ‘how’ and soon it’s going to be a long week.
For more Caps Coverage – check out this blog by Bosshog “Caps Steal One in Overtime”
Coming up, the Caps are bringing home the Philadelphia Flyers tomorrow night, and then it’s going to feel like Déjà vu as the Caps square off against the Thrashers (in Atlanta on Thursday) and Islanders (at Verizon Center on Friday) again.
With both of Washington’s teams facing a Philadelphia opponent (Redskins tonight, Capitals tomorrow, both televised nationally) it’s going to smell an awful lot like cheese-steak around here for the next coupla days.
Something tells me it’s going to be up to the Caps to split the difference.