Heading Home on a High Note

I don't have too much to say about the game the other night in Minnesota. It was kind of a 'meh' type of game to me. The effort was reasonably good (though not great), but nothing really stood out in it to me. They were certainly out-played, perhaps even out-coached. Maybe I was just too tired when I watched it to notice anything more specific.

Last night's game, though, was very interesting. I didn't get to watch it until today (due to the multiple viewings of 'How to Train Your Dragon' that I mentioned).

Man, that was a tale of two games. How badly were the Caps outplayed at the beginning? Well, it took them only 44 seconds to allow the first goal. Their first power play was probably the worst effort I've ever seen; it allowed two 2-on-1 breakaways, and even allowed the Flames to set up in the offensive zone. The only positive was that they still managed to get a scoring chance, somehow. How bad was the ensuing penalty kill? Well, it didn't surrender a goal (I'm still not sure how), but it took about 1:55 to finally clear the zone. Ouch. It was looking so bad, that I almost turned the game off in frustration. In the first period.

Thankfully, only a couple of minutes later (and after Hendricks stirred things up a bit by picking a fight with Tim Jackman, who's much larger than Hendricks. I think that might have woken the team up), the Caps got another chance on the power play and converted after only 22 seconds. So they went into the first intermission down by only a goal, despite being absolutely man-handled for most of the period.

In the second period, I think the Calgary audience thought they'd been transplanted to Indonesia, with a tsunami and a volcano hitting them almost simultaneously. Suddenly, everything clicked, and they dropped a six-spot including OV getting two goals twelve seconds apart (both on the power play). It also included what was pretty much an own-goal, as Sarich tried to get the puck away from out front of the net, and Bradley deflected it (accidentally, I'm sure) into the side of the net. Steckel also finished off the barrage with a shortie (on a penalty shot, no less), after Kiprusoff had been benched for Karlsson. And all of that came on only 14 shots (which is, to be sure, a nice total for a period, but a heck of a lot less than you'd expect for six goals).

The third period didn't have a whole lot going on. The Flames played a bit riskier, and the Caps were happy to take it away from them, but there were no more goals.

Green got out of his scoring funk for the season with a goal (and a pretty one, at that, hitting Kiprusoff's water bottle) and two assists. His assists on that goal came from Semin, who had a goal and another assist as well, and Backstrom, who had a goal and two more assists. It might have been the first time I've ever seen a defensement get behind the other team's defense.

The lines were a bit funky; Semin was moved up to the top line (man, that's a lot of firepower), Flash was moved to the wing with Laich at center (an improvement, I think), and Knuble was on the second line (I somehow failed to notice through the entire game who was centering that line, but it wasn't MarJo or MattyPo, both of whom were scratched). DJ King got a jersey for the night, but didn't really do much beyond take a (non-call) stick to the face early in the first. Fehr was scratched, which I didn't really understand too much. And Fahey got a jersey, which worried me, but he comported himself pretty well on the evening.

Kudos also to Neuvy, who once again kept the game from getting out of hand early on.

So now the Caps come back home, where they'll be facing the Maple Leafs on Wednesday and Bruins on Friday. Hopefully, the home cookin' will keep the offense alive.

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