Green-Winning Goal

Finally finished watching the opener on a bit of a delay. A very uneven game, all the way around. The defense looked pretty good, but it had several very large breakdowns leading to someone all by themself on Neuvy's left with no defender in sight. I suppose there's a small caveat that all of those breakdowns occurred with Carolina having a man advantage (three power plays and once with the goalie pulled).

But, while it's easier to have that sort of breakdown with an extra person to keep track of, it's even more important to not let it happen, as evidenced by the three goals allowed on those four plays (and the fourth was inches away).

So, three goals allowed, but Neuvy can't be faulted with any of them. He played a very solid game. Nothing spectacular, but he was in position and didn't allow any soft goals.

We've already covered most of the defensive side, but I wanted to note that Carlson had quite an up-and-down game. He took both of the penalties that led to Staal goals on the power play (two of those breakdowns), but, in between, he had a really sweet break-out pass to spring Semin in alone for a tying goal. Green looked very good (apart from being part of the breakdown on the first Staal goal), and finished with the overtime goal.

On the forward side, I liked the line selection. I'm not sure I wouldn't rather see Brouwer with OV and Backster, but that's a minor quibble (especially since Knuble looked very good on that wing). The very expensive third line (Chimmer, Ward, Laich) looked very good, wearing down the top line by making them work hard in their own end. The second line did pretty well; as mentioned, Semin had the Caps first goal and mostly played well (he did take a bad penalty at the end of regulation, however). Perreault also looked very good on that line, with several excellent chances (and even one or two good back-checking plays). The fourth line pretty quietly did their job as well.

Laich also had a nice goal off a missed shot by OV (although it took a 5-on-3 to get it).

Chimmer surprised me with a goal where Ward's pass sprung him behind the D, and he potted it over Boucher. I was less surprised to see, on the replay, that his shot went off the shaft of his stick. We'll certainly take it, though. And if he can consistently get chances like that, I certainly won't complain about his lack of finishing ability. (Still confused about the contract extension, though.)

Special teams? The PK did not look very good, for the most part. Two goals surrendered, which is bad enough, but also got pinned down for a minute and a half on one power play (though they managed not to surrender a goal on that possession, somehow).

The power play had two goals, but still did not look all that great, overall. The results were good, but the methodology wasn't. They still need to move around more (although I think they did improve on that a little bit); both goals were somewhat fluky. The first, as I mentioned, was a missed shot off the boards that bounced right to Brooks (nice hands by him, though); the second was a shot from the point that trickled through.

Anyway, as I said, an uneven game, but, happily, we'll take the win. I'll feel a lot better when the D starts meshing better, although the talent is certainly there.

Oh yes, and I should mention that Beagle, who I did not think should be playing (would have preferred MarJo on the third, with Chimmer bumped back to the fourth), still had a pretty decent game. In particular, he had a couple of nice forechecking plays, so we'll look for that to continue.

Plus, we'll hope that OV's thumb isn't in too bad a shape after the slash he took to get the 5-on-3.

So, overall, definitely some things to work on, but a good result.

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