That felt good

The Caps and Flyers game tonight was quite a roller coaster. The first eighteen minutes or so of the game was being pretty solidly dominated by the Flyers. Their forecheck was so good the Caps were regularly having trouble clearing the zone after getting the puck hiding behind their own net. It was pretty frustrating to watch. The shots were actually pretty even, which surprised me when it was pointed out, because it didn't feel even.

And when Giroux got a breakaway during 4-on-4 play which he buried, I was feeling very down. But at least it was only 1-0.

Well, things started looking better just before the end of the period. A good forecheck on our part got Perreault the puck above the circles; he skated over to the side a bit and, seeing both of his line-mates screening the goalie, threw it towards the net. A lucky bounce off a defenseman put it in the net to tie things up. The Caps had it in the zone again a minute later, and Backstrom drove towards the net from behind. His stuff attempt failed, but bounced right to OV on the doorstep, and he buried it.

So things were looking much better going into the second. The second played out pretty evenly, perhaps with a slight edge to the Caps. But there wasn't any scoring, so I was still on edge. The disallowed goal didn't help with that, either. Having to wait a bit to put my daughter to bed, and hence to wait to watch the third period was not helping my peace of mind.

Two minutes in, all hell broke loose. It started when Hamr had the puck at the point, and threw it towards the net. This one also deflected off a defenseman's stick and found the back of the net. A minute later, on the power play, Backstrom passed it to OV in the middle of the defensive box, and he shot it at the net. This one also deflected off a defenseman's stick (and was helped by a nice screen), and found the top of the net. Just about a minute later, Schultz shot it from the point and Ward got a really nice deflection that put it into the top corner.

By that point, the game was, for all intents and purposes, over. The Caps were pretty much content to sit back and wait for it to end. Normally, that drives me batty, but with a four-goal lead, I wasn't too upset.

Vokoun did have to stand on his head a few times to preserve that lead, but he did hold it until there were only fourteen ticks left, so it was all good.

You'd think I'd be thrilled with a three-goal win, but I'm merely pleased. There was a lot of luck involved, with those shots going off the defense and into the goal. None were nearly as fluky as the one that deflected off Green and in (against Tampa, I think), but any of them might well have been stopped without the deflection.

Also, the Caps did end up with a sizeable power play edge, but the edge should have been even larger. The embellishment call on Semin and the interference call on OV both blew my mind. I think there was one other that the Caps did get away with (although I can't remember, other than that I remember thinking they'd gotten away with one), but there could have easily been another eight minutes of power plays for the Caps. OV was tripped three times in the first period, with no calls, and a high stick that broke Laich's nose was only a two-minute penalty. There were also a couple of hits that looked like elbows to the face.

One good thing: there weren't any huge defensive miscues in this game (well, maybe the out-of-zone breakdown that led to a three-on-one, but Alzner and Vokoun took that one in stride) leading to easy goals. But the puck advancement has not been as good as expected.

The 6-0 start is really nice, but the luck is going to go the other way at some point. Still, can't complain about racking up points at this stage of the game. Really, this team can't prove anything until the playoffs. But it's nice to be in the catbird seat for now.

Update: I forgot to mention how good it felt to be able to hear the cheering from the crowd
when the last two Caps goals were scored. Sweet.

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