Thursday, April 9, 2009
Caps 4 Lightning 2
Today was Mission Accomplished Part 2 as the Caps locked up the #2 seed in the Stanley Cup playoffs via a 4-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Caps will draw either the Montreal Canadiens or the New York Rangers in the first round. New York would have the tiebreaker based on wins.
As for tonight's game, well, there was maybe about 15 minutes of it that could be considered a hockey game. Tampa Bay came storming out of the gate early on, getting a goal 30 seconds in by Steven Stamkos and keeping the heat on the Caps for the next 5 minutes. But the Caps slowly asserted control and the Bolts helped them out by giving the Caps power play a 2-man advantage, leading to Brooks Laich's tying goal. From there on, the Lightning would get a few chances but the Caps controlled the action. After two quick second period goals by Laich and David Steckel, the Bolts spent the rest of the 2nd and most of the third looking like they were ready to make golf reservations, chase tail at a Tampa bar, get a suntan at the beach,anything but keep playing hockey. I suppose I don't blame them, it's been a long, tough year. Their 2nd goal, by former Cap Matt Pettinger, was almost by accident but the Bolts did collectively seem to say, "Fuck it, we can play for another 8 minutes." But the Caps once again reasserted command of the game, Mike Green got an open netter after skating through some Swiss cheese defense and the Caps locked up that #2 seed.
- While most of this game had the feel of a glorified scrimmage, one thing I did like was that after the Lightning got back to within one in the third, the Caps didn't panic and methodically kept playing their game. Tampa is a mess, actually, let's just come out and say they suck, but you do like to see short memories like that in the playoffs.
- I didn't like Bruce Boudreau double-shifting Alex Ovechkin in the 3rd period. I know he was trying to help Ovie get that scoring title, but you don't want to get your star hurt in a game like that. Besides, since there was a rash of penalties early in the game, why not get Keith Aucoin, Steckel and Professor Matt Bradley some extra ice time?
- Professor Matt looked like Cam Neely or Brendan Shanahan on that setup to Steckel's goal.
- Laich's second goal was what my teammate Jeff Hudson would call a "snipe."
- While the Lightning have sucked this year, Stamkos has a very bright future.
- Still don't like that Jeff Schultz-Milan Jurcina defence pairing. I know that will change when Tom Poti comes back, but still, they scare the crap out of me back there.
Here now are the highlights from NHL.com
So that's it for this game. All the Eastern Conference playoff spots have been locked up, so Saturday's game with Florida will be meaningless. Let's hope the Caps can get out of there without any injuries and be ready to go for the playoffs. Until the next time, let's call this one more...for the good guys.