Plumbing the Oil depths

Last night's [I wrote this Friday] Caps game against the Oilers didn't start out so great. My DVR wasn't recording, but, luckily, I was only a few minutes late turning it on. So when I finally got the game (the box was having some trouble that extended the time a couple more minutes) on, things were turning up. Alzner, of all people, scored less than a minute later. And things continued to look pretty good for the rest of the period, with the Caps getting quite a lot more chances.

Some of the penalty calling was a bit suspect, with some really ticky-tack Caps penalties getting called, while more blatant ones for the Oil were ignored. And a blatant tripping call on the Oil was nullified by a call for diving.

In the second period, things really went off the rails, as many more questionable calls went against the Caps (hitting a puck out of the air, and into the stands, was called Delay of Game, rather than just being considered a deflection? Never seen that one before. Calling slashing on a weak shot that (apparently; the player dropped it but there was no visible damage when it was laying on the ice) broke a stick. That one wouldn't bother me as much if they had made the same call in the third when OV's [I remembered it as OV, others have said it was Backstrom; I am not sure] stick was broken. Calling hooking when Alzner tied up the stick of a forward? It might, technically, be true, but that's another one I've never seen called. It does happen EVERY game (it's kind of like calling palming in basketball). No goalie interference when two Oilers forwards tripped each other, one falling on top of Vokoun and the other across the crease? Actually, that one was even worse, because the ref was right there, and when Vokoun complained, he seemed to be mocked for thinking that that might be a penalty. And there were several elbows to the head and crosschecks by the Oil that were ignored.

It was incredibly frustrating, and again led to multiple 5-on-3 disadvantages. Unsurprisingly, the Oil got two goals on all those power plays. Frankly, I thought the PK (and Vokoun, of course) was doing a great job to keep the game so close.

And, outside of those power plays, the Caps were absolutely dominating the game. They were just destroying Edmonton on possession, and in keeping play in the offensive zone.

It was just so frustrating to see them getting so little chance to play.

Coming into the third, the Caps really turned on the afterburners. It really took a Herculean effort by Khabibulin to keep the Caps out of the net. An Oiler analysis had the Caps advantage 10-2 on scoring chances in the third.

But the Bulin wall was in full effect; he looked fantastic out there. As I said, he kept the Caps off the scoresheet, somehow.

So the game was very frustrating, but perhaps balances out the Pittsburgh game, where the Caps didn't deserve their victory.

In any event, the Oilers definitely have an incredibly fast and talented team. The Caps definitely weren't used to seeing such speed rushing at them. The defense seemed to be continuously getting surprised by that on the rush. And the first goal for the Oil was a very pretty, tic-tac-toe to an open shot. Kudos to them for that.

So we've got a day off before we visit the Canuck-leheads in Vancouver. That should be quite the challenge, despite the Canucks not doing so great so far (or so I've heard). I don't think they'll have any trouble with motivation in facing the Caps. And we'll hope that the Caps feel more hungry after the disappointing result last night.

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