Caps Struggle Against the Ducks
By: Mark Solway 
Posted: 2006-12-09
Category: Washington Capitals News
Anaheim may have taken the 'Mighty' out of their name, but there was no better word to describe their play on Friday as they handed the Washington Capitals a 6-1 defeat.

After impressive wins against the Buffalo Sabres last Saturday and the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday, the Caps couldn't duplicate the effort against the NHL's best team to date in 2006. Washington came out a little flat, and it cost them as they fell behind 1-0 less than a minute into the game. Shawn Thornton opened the scoring on the Ducks' first shot, and Anaheim never looked back. The line of Thornton, Todd Marchant and Dustin Penner were easily the game's best unit on either team. Not only did they account for the Ducks' first three goals, but Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle also gave them the responsibility of trying to shut down Alexander Ovechkin.

Ovie could only manage one assist on the night despite the fact that he set a career mark for regulation ice time, so it's safe to say that Marchant, Penner and Thornton were very effective. Marchant finished the night with three points as he logged two assists and scored the Ducks' second goal of the game at 14:44 of the first on an unassisted, shorthanded goal. Penner's goal came at 7:16 of the second.

Amazingly the Ducks did not score on any of their three power plays on the night; quite surprising, considering that they registered 16 of their 34 shots on those three odd man advantages. Their power play ranks first in the league, and they came into the game having scored power play goals in twelve of their last thirteen games.

Teemu Selanne, Andy McDonald and Corey Perry rounded out the scoring against the Capitals in the third period.

The Capitals' lone tally on the night came when Alexander Semin converted a fantastic no-look pass from Ovechkin on a third period power play for his twelfth goal of the season. It was the second time this week that a beautiful no-look pass from Ovie to Semin produced a goal.

Donald Brashear also got an assist on the play, just his third assist on the year. Brashear logged his most ice time of the season, and coach Glen Hanlon said after the game in his press conference that he thought that Brashear was the Caps' best player on the night, noting "He got after pucks, forechecked and was strong on the puck." If Brashear could have added a goal, he would have had the Gordie Howe hat trick as he also pasted George Parros in a fight in the first period.

Hanlon was his usual subdued self after the game and took the loss in stride as would be expected. "That's the good thing about playing 82 games is that you get a chance to get back at it tomorrow. We're certainly disappointed but we're not discouraged," Hanlon said.

The Capitals do indeed get right back at it as they travel up the I-95 to face the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night.

Game note: Friday night at the Verizon Center was also USAA’s Military Appreciation Night, and the first 10,000 fans received free miniature American Flags. As an additional promotion, two fans were granted the opportunity to shoot a puck on goal for a chance to win $10,000 courtesy of the USAA. It produced arguably the largest cheer of the night for Caps fans when one of them actually scored and took home the check.
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