I didn't get a chance to write about last Thursday's game until yesterday; saw it late Friday and was busy on Saturday (and when I wrote this yesterday, I wasn't able to post it).
It was mostly a good game. The first period was mostly good, but with a few serious breakdowns. Unlike many of the recent games, though, they got great goaltending from Neuvy when those happened. I imagine that Coach Hunter was pretty upset about those breakdowns, though, because a team with aspirations to contending for the title can't have those.
The second and third periods had the Caps taking control, putting a lot of pressure on the Jets, who kept getting bailed out by Pavelec. The Caps didn't get a lot of chances in the third, but they managed to give the Jets even fewer. What's more, with a little over a minute left, OV (with help from Johansson and Backstrom) managed to finally get one past Pavelec.
That ended up being the only goal of the contest, so the Caps left town with a pair of points.
In Saturday's game, I was a bit apprehensive when the paper mentioned that Colorado was 25th in the league. Why did that make me apprehensive? Well, it seemed like every time I looked at one of their scores, they had won. So they must have won just about every game I'd noticed, and I was definitely going to be noticing this one.
One slight disappointment was that Giguere was in net; I'd hoped to see Varly again, even knowing that his season has been incredibly up and down.
The first period was pretty good for the Caps, as they held slight edges in most categories that one would care about. And that was despite losing the face-off battle 15-3. But the one category that you'd definitely care about where they were losing was on the scoreboard.
McLeod put a soft wrist shot from the blue line off Carlson's skate and into the top of the net. Neuvy didn't seem to see it until it was past him, which is fairly damning on a soft shot from that far out with no screen. He had a good night outside of that shot, and the team should be able to score three, but that was still a terrible goal to let in.
The second period did not go well for the Caps either, as they were outplayed by a fair bit from start to finish. They did have a definite bright spot as Semin got a breakaway, putting one over Giguere's shoulder to tie the game.
Unfortunately, they again failed to use that as a confidence builder, allowing another go-ahead goal less than a minute later.
That was it for scoring in the second period, leaving the Caps going into the third period down yet again. Did that motivate them to play harder for the last period? To show desperation? Not until the last minute or so, as they were outplayed pretty badly up to that point. Neuvy kept them in the game, but he can't score goals by himself.
I was very surprised to learn, at the end of the period, that the shots were even, but the play certainly wasn't. A large percentage of the period was played in the Caps end, and far too much of it with the 'lanche holding the puck. Kudos to the Avs, as they played very well; it was a very frustrating game to watch.
One part of that is that, while the Caps are a very young team (not as young as the Avs, though), the Avs seemed much, much faster in the game. At times it felt like the team, especially Erskine and Hamr, were just cones to be skated around. As I said, very frustrating.
Adding to the frustration was that the power play was atrocious; they couldn't even bring the puck into the offensive zone. You can see the futility there by noting that they got only one shot on the four power plays (although one of those, at the end of the game, was only fourteen seconds long).
And the face-offs were terrible. I mentioned the first period, which was horrifying, but the margin only increased over the remaining two periods (though not by much).
Let's hope that the team learned some lessons from the game, and applies them tomorrow night against Nashville. And let's hope that that leads to a better result than the last game against the Predators.