Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Post-Game: Capitals @ Wild

The Capitals give up four goals for the fifth straight game and take a loss in the final game of their road trip, 4-3. Washington attempted to make it interesting by scoring three goals in the final six minutes, but it was too little, too late.

Cal Clutterbuck (of all people) scored his first and second goals of his career in the first two periods and gave the Wild a 2-0 lead heading into the third. Goalie, Niklas Backstrom is something like 42-0-3 when leading after two periods.

Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom kept their point streaks alive (eight and nine games, respectivley), but their goals late in the third served to pad their stats...Minnesota outplayed Washington, and without Jose Theodore's superb game in net, this game could have gotten out-of-hand early.

The real story of this game was the Capitals' injuries. With Alex Semin, Mike Green, and Sergei Fedorov already sitting out, they could not afford any more bumps and bruises. Unfortunately, the opposite happened... Jeff Schultz and Boyd Gordon skated just three minutes each and did not return after the first period. In addition, John Erskine left later in the game with a back injury. This forced Brooks Laich to play on the blue line and forced Tom Poti to play almost 30 minutes. Shultz is listed as week-to-week while the others are still day-to-day.

Here's what I also saw during the game:

  • Ovechkin took a slap shot to the ankle in the first minute of the second period and limped over to the bench. He was able to return, but that is our franchise player throwing his body around on the penalty kill. I love the fact he can get scoring opportunities while the Caps are a man down, but if the Capitals aren't careful about using OV, one of these shots will send him straight to the IR.
  • It looked as though Tom Poti caught former-Cap, Andrew Brunette across the face with his stick, but the refs missed this one... What they didn't miss was three "closing hand on puck" penalties. One was whistled on the Wild (Marek Zidlicky), and two on the Caps (Poti and Ovechkin). Zidlicky scored on the 5-3 while the before-mentioned Capitals were in the box.
The Capitals will return to Verizon Center to host the Atlanta Thrashers the day before the holiday, and the Montreal Canadians the day after the holiday. Expect a call-up by then (Lepisto? Alzner? I don't care, but we need both). Theodore had a good game, but has conceded 14 goals in his last three games (4.67 goals against per game). What Bruce might do is start Brent Johnson on Wedesday (the "easier" game) against Atlanta, and play Theo against his former team on Friday.

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