Ground Birds

Tonight's game in Pittsburgh was really ugly. I was looking forward to the third line kicking some more butt, but they started the game and were hemmed in their own end quickly. And that was pretty much how the rest of the first period went, as well. The Caps just could not sustain any possession thanks to the Penguins' brutal forecheck (and the Caps inability to help one another), and were lucky to escape the period with only one goal against.

The second was much more even, with the Caps getting a lucky goal when Knuble crashed the net and the defender pushing him off the puck also managed to kick the puck between the goalie's legs. Pittsburgh was still playing better, but it was at least close.

Going into the third, the Caps got a nice goal in the first minute when OV deflected Greenie's shot into the top corner. It actually went in and out so fast that it was initially called a "no goal", but replay clearly showed it going in. Unfortunately, the Caps again lost any ability to keep possession at that point (along with their desire to attack, apparently), and basically tried to play defense for the rest of the period.

Unsurprisingly, Pittsburgh did manage to tie it up with a bit less than four minutes left, even if it did take them a power play to finally do it.

The Caps finally started to get some offense at that point, but not to much result, as they only generated one more shot (making three for the period. Sadly, that matched their total for the first period).

The overtime period didn't start out a whole lot better, until Staal took down OV trying to carry into the zone (the first non-offset penalty on the Pens all night). Vokoun skated off immediately, and they actually managed to set up the offense for a little bit until Pittsburgh got enough of the puck off a rebound to stop play. The Caps never managed to get the offense set up again, but half a minute later, Backstrom carried into the zone and threw a nice saucer pass over to Wideman, breaking in on the right. Wideman rifled it, wide side, just over Johnson's leg for the winning goal.

So, while I'd like to complain about again giving the other team a standings point by going to overtime, the reality is that the Caps were the ones who didn't deserve that standings point, let alone two. Not that we'll turn them down, of course. And we can just chalk both of those points up to Vokoun, who was outstanding. I hope this is the most rubber he sees in any game for the rest of the season, but I'm glad he was there, standing strong.

In fact, to further the point about how much rubber he was seeing, he faced only one fewer shot in the third period than the Caps generated for the entire game. The five-to-one disparity in minor penalties didn't help that, but it's still mighty ugly.

And, in a side note, the Avalanche buried the Senators tonight, 7-1. I was hoping we'd get a lottery pick for Varly, but things aren't looking too good, so far, for that to happen.

And I almost forgot; Beagle was on and got convinced to face off against Asham. He looked pretty good, briefly. Then Asham landed a solid punch and knocked him right out, I think. It was pretty ugly; I really hope he's ok. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if he's concussed, but I hope that's nothing more than my paranoia speaking.

Now, we'll get to face the Senators on Saturday; let's hope things go much better than they did tonight.

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