Taking it on the Run

We had friends over last night to watch the basketball games, so I didn't watch the Caps game until this morning. Unfortunately, I didn't set enough automatic recording for the basketball game, so when I came up to add more recording for basketball, I was stuck seeing a minute or so from the third period of the Caps game.

Because of that, after the Caps scored their second goal in the first five minutes, I fast-forwarded to the third period. I was astounded at how quickly the Caps let Buffalo back in the game, allowing two in the second five minutes. Then there was a whole lot of nothing (really; no scoring and no penalties) until the last ten minutes of the game.

Those last ten minutes provided time for four more goals, two for each side. The Caps twice went a goal behind, and then came back. In fact, the last of those goals was quite dramatic, coming on the power play, with the goalie pulled. OV took a shot, Arnott was camped in front of the goal. He smoothly took the rebound, pulled it over to his backhand, and calmly dumped it into the middle of the empty net.

The overtime was looking like it was also going to be a whole lot of nothing, but OV got the puck in the corner, wheeled out around a defender to the half-wall, then into the middle. Finally, he fired a shot that was headed towards the far corner when it deflected off a defender's stick, then off another defender's skate, and finally slid into the far bottom corner of the goal. I think I'd rate that as OV's second-most lucky goal of the season, behind only the one fairly early in the season that had missed the goal short-side, but the goalie stuck his stick out in mid-air (I still don't have any idea what the goalie was trying to do with that). The blade of the stick (vertical, at this point) deflected that one on goal; I can't remember if it hit the goalie again before going into the net.

The parts of the game that I saw looked pretty good, but it sounded like the intervening span did not, based on the Post's quotes of Boudreau. Certainly, that was more shots against than you want to see, and more pucks getting past your goalie. John Carlson had looked really good, earlier in the night, but one of the two later goals (I think Stafford's) was totally his fault, as he got trapped too far up ice, and was a little out of control getting back. He ended up hitting Neuvy, slipping the puck past him.

One definite positive of the game was that, not only did both power plays score, but they both looked good in doing so. I liked the strategy on the last power play, in particular (where Neuvy had already been pulled), parking Knuble and Arnott in front of the goalie. I don't know that there will be too many chances to replicate that, but it was very nice.

So, the win put the Caps in front in the East, although the Flyers caught back up in their overtime loss to the Rangers today. But tied on points and games (though not ROW, sadly) is still a pretty good place to be.

Now if we can just get some defensemen back, that would be nice. A third pair of Sloan and Collins (hadn't even heard of him before the game, I don't think) did not inspire confidence. I think I would have felt better if Orlov had been the call-up (despite him only having played 10-ish games in North America), although I think he's on a Hershey-only contract for the rest of this season, so I think he wasn't an option.

Hopefully, whatever the state of our blue line, we can take at least two of the remaining three. The last two being a home-and-home with Florida, currently mired in last place in the East, would seem to make that feasible. Well, that and that the Caps have generally done well with Toronto.

I guess we'll see about the latter on Tuesday.

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