Isling the Night Away

I'm not sure how I wrote previously that the Caps would be playing the Rangers last night. I know I looked it up at least once. I guess I must have just seen New York, and turned off my brain. In any event, the Islanders were the opponent for the game last night.

Due to some technical screw-up (I couldn't get my Blu-ray player on the internet without disconnecting my dvr; it should have worked with both. I'll fix it later, so that it does), I missed the first several minutes of the game. So I missed Chimmer's early goal fed by OV and Backstrom. But at least I saw Backstrom's later goal that broke him out of his 21-game goal-less streak.

Both of these goals, though, were caused by OV going to the outside. As we can see, he becomes a whole lot more effective when he isn't just cutting inside to his forehand (no matter how good that move is. And it is). If last night is any indication (please, please, please, please), he'll be fine the rest of the season.

Moving on, things looked pretty good otherwise. The penalty kill was good; the power play didn't score, but did generate good chances. Holtby looked pretty good; not fantastic, but not overmatched, either (one goal on 25 shots is nothing to sneeze at). I even saw a good defensive play by Erskine, where he tied up a forward's stick so that the guy couldn't get a deflection on a shot (Holtby gloved the shot).

On the whole, the team looked pretty good. The effort was there, at least, and that's the single biggest thing I'm looking for, these days. I didn't see the line-shuffling of the last several games (though maybe I just missed it), so maybe we'll get a bit more chemistry. DJ played again, but got even fewer minutes than last game (a hair under 3-1/2).

I am surprised the Islanders don't have more points. Their forecheck looked very good last night, and definitely gave the Caps problems.

Perrault looked pretty good last night. It'd definitely be good if he could become more effective on the boards (given his size, that's tough to do, I know), but he's still doing a good job of driving possession. And he even won the majority of his face-offs last night. Woot!

MarJo, on the other hand, looked generally good, but lost all of his faceoffs. If he can't start winning at least 45% of his faceoffs (and we'd really like to see 50, of course), I don't know if he can really be an effective center, despite his other abilities (and I do like the rest of his game).

My only other comment on the game was that the officiating was, at best, uneven. Really, the Caps should have had several more power plays. I thought the same thing in the Philly game the other night, but at least in that one, the Flyers weren't getting many either. Grr.

Next up, the away streak continues with the Leafs in Toronto. Let's hope that the effort keeps up. And maybe, that Semin returns. We could really use some more scoring.

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