Thursday, March 19, 2009

Caps 5 Lightning 2

Pretty easy win for the Caps tonight over the banged-up and hapless Tampa Bay Lightning. The game was close after two periods but Washington was able to turn this into a laugher with yet another strong 3rd period.

The real concern right now is the health of Mike Green who went down awkwardly with the Bolts' Steven Stamkos and came up favoring his left shoulder. It looked like Stamkos pulled Greener down by his arm as Stamkos was falling to the ice. Whatever it was, let's hope Green isn't injured too badly. Losing a potential Norris Trophy winner would be disastrous for the Caps playoff chances.

Other than that, like I said, the game was fairly workmanlike. The Caps are clearly a much better team than Tampa Bay and with Mike McKenna in goal, there was no way the Caps were going to see the same caliber of netminding they did from Kari Lehtonen in Atlanta on Monday.

Of course, the big story tonight (besides the Green injury) was Alex Ovechkin getting his 50th goal. It was a classic Ovechkin goal: darting down the wing and unleashing that lethal wrist shot of his past McKenna. Then he pulled out a celebration that Don Cherry will surely object to Saturday night. Ovie put his stick on the ice and put his hands out like he was warming his hands on a fire. Clever, although a bit awkward looking at first. According to Ovie's 1st intermission interview, Green and Nicklas Backstrom put him up to it. I can just see Cherry now bemoaning this one as the death of "The Canadian Way" of hockey. Yes, we need less of Ovie celebrating and more of Chris Simon slashing guys in the face with his stick. Ovechkin also added two assists tonight.

"You will lose."

Besides the injury, Green had a monster game with two goals, including the game-winner that really seemed to get the Caps into soul-crushing mode. It was also good to see Michael Nylander get a goal, or even shoot the puck. Seriously though, Nyls has been a major whipping boy this year but he's actually played a lot better since he got back into the lineup. Another guy it was good to see get one was Professor Matt Bradley. Professor Matt is like the poor man's Brooks Laich, a guy that is all heart minus Brooksie's skills.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the solid work turned in by Simeon Varlamov. The youngster looked composed, calm and cool in net. If he can learn to stay out of the trainer's room, he's going to be a good one. If he's not already.

So that's it for this recap. Let's hope Greener is OK and its just a stinger or something. As easy as this game was, things will get a lot tougher Saturday night against The Former Hartford Whalers. Until then, let's chalk up one more...for the good guys.

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