Leaf-ing it all on the Ice

Wasn't able to watch yesterday's Caps game until this morning; wish I'd been able to watch it live.

The effort was very good, OV broke out in a major way, Hendricks had a nice breakaway goal, and Holtby looked awesome. Unfortunately, after waiting all day to write this, and watching both football games in the meanwhile, I'm forgetting some of the details.

The penalty kill looked quite good, killing off all three chances (and I only remember a couple of good chances in there, so I think they did so with little drama). The power play did not score on its only chance, but the only real specific I remember there was Matty P and MarJo both being out on the second power play unit. Oh, and nobody scored on the power play.

As I mentioned, OV had a fantastic game, getting a hat trick (giving him eight goals in six career games against Giggy, if I remember correctly). He also managed to plant himself into the goal camera on one other play, where he made an outside power move, and fell down just in front of the net (couldn't really tell if he was helped with that, or not). One weird thing: he hit Schenn early in the game, and went down. Can't remember the last time he went down without having his skates go out from under him (a trip or just losing an edge). But he obviously got the last laugh.

Also as I mentioned, Hendricks had a very nice breakaway goal. He poked the puck away from the point man in the zone, which caught both defenders leaning the wrong way. Since he had momentum, that put him way, way behind the defense. He faked a wrist shot from between the circles, pulled the puck way off to his right (leaving Giggy feeling wiggy), and softly deposited the biscuit into the open net. Incidentally, Hendricks had had an earlier fight with Brown right off a face-off. It was a quick fight, but Hendricks was slightly bloodied and looked overmatched. No idea what precipitated that, but it certainly didn't look like a good play for Hendricks. I'm sure he felt a great deal better after the goal.

And speaking of enforcers, King got a jersey again last night. He didn't do much, but I noticed him several times, and he wasn't looking completely lost. So while that wasn't a huge change, it was a nice one. And I suppose you could say he was rewarded, as his ice time cleared five minutes for the game.

Getting back to Holtby, he allowed one on thirty-five shots, so... Yeah, he was awesome. That included one save (I believe after Toronto had pulled Giguere) where he had to go all the way from coast to coast, and gloved the waist-high shot while still moving. Damn, that was a nice grab. I should also point out that he was very ambitious with his stick-handling four or five times (including a nice penalty kill clear), and did not make us regret the attempts.

The game still only pulled his save percentage up to .897, so he's still pretty marginal as an NHL goalie, but that's hardly a criticism at his age. He'll be good, and probably sooner, rather than later. He's certainly looking like a steal, for having come out of the 4th round.

So, overall, nothing to not like in this game (well, other than the injuries that put Holtby and King on the ice to begin with, I suppose). Hopefully, we can carry the good play into tomorrow's game with the Rangers. Given the result of the last game against them, and that the Caps are only a few points clear of the Rangers in the standings, they better play well. We could also use the points to try catching up to Tampa Bay, who stomped on the Thrashers last night.

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