Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Caps 2 Predators 1 (OT)

First off, before we start I must toot my own horn and say thanks to Japer's Rink for the shout-out on his blog. If you love the Caps, do read Japer's, it's probably the best Caps blog out there (along with On Frozen Blog).

Now, as for tonight, THAT was a hockey game. Two desperate teams playing with great flow, great hitting, outstanding goaltending, few penalties and great chances at both ends.

This was the best overall game the Caps have played since the Pittsburgh win two weeks ago. It looked like it was going to be another shaky outing against a Western Conference team as the Predators jumped ahead 1-0 within a minute. But the Caps turned it up and were, dare I say, dominant the rest of the night. Only the outstanding goaltending of Nashville's Dan Ellis kept the Preds in this game. The Caps worked hard and deserved the two points tonight. The thing is - they have to play like that ALL THE TIME!

-Some random notes -

- First Star? Ellis. He made some unbelievable saves tonight, especially against Alex Ovechkin and Brooks Laich. This thing would have been a laugher if Ellis did not play out of his mind tonight.

- The line of Alex Semin, Tomas Fleischmann and Sergei Fedorov played their asses off tonight. Semin has been the Caps best player by far this month. He looks inspired and pairing him with Fedorov has really settled his game. Flash played his best game in a long time, showing a grit and hustle he hasn't shown since the turn of the calendar to 2009. Flash has been struggling to score(he had one tonight that was disallowed) but if he plays like that more often, he's skilled enough that the goals will come. Feds played a strong two-way game all night and he was rewarded with the game-winning goal in overtime.

- Does Alex Ovechkin have a hole in his stick? The puck has been bouncing around on him a lot lately.

- Shaone Morrisonn has taken a lot of criticism from Caps fans this year but he played a whale of a game tonight, making a great defensive play on a Preds 2 on 1 and sending Jason Arnott to Dream Street with a tremendous open ice hit.

- Speaking of hits, have you ever seen more big hits in one game than tonight? Jordan Tootoo (the ex-Mr. Kellie Pickler) flattened Donald Brashear, Morrisonn creamed Arnott, Mike Green put Vernon Fiddler in the weight room with a lovely hit and so on and so on.

- Here's hoping Brashear and Matt Bradley are OK after their tussles with Wade Belak and Tootoo, respectively, did not work out so good. Brash never came back to the game after Belak went all Mr. Sandman and KO'd him. Bradley did come back to the lineup but not before Tootoo did his best Super Macho Man impression (see, not one but TWO! "Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!" references)on Brads' face.

"Is this Belak and Tootoo?"

- Both the Caps goals tonight, by Nicklas Backstrom and Fedorov, were the exact same play - they deked Ellis to the forehand, got him out of position and beat him with a backhand. BTW, the pass by Viktor Kozlov on Feds' game-winner? Pretty nice Kozzy, pretty nice.

So that's it for this game as the Caps end that pesky four-game losing streak. Getting on the road again seemed to help as the boys came out with a lot more focus than they had during that lonnng homestand. It won't get any easier for the Caps as they are back on the ice Thursday night in the Chamber Of Horrors - Philadelphia. Thankfully, Scottie Upshall's Diving School is no longer open in the Illadelph. Until then, lets chalk this one up as one more...for the good guys.

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