I watched around half of the Caps game last night. It was a very uneven effort, with some great shifts and some terrible ones. OV never did score, but almost all of the great shifts I saw were by his line (well, one of his lines; the combos last night were about as predictable as rolling dice, especially in the early second).
The first of those great shifts was about five minutes into the game, when there was no score. But then, a minute and a half, or so, later, after Perreault got sent off for high sticking, The Panthers put one in the net off of Wideman's stick. That was not good, but it got worse thirteen seconds later when Santorelli came in down the right wing and put one over Neuvy's shoulder (Neuvy should have had it).
Things were really looking bad when, after Brouwer took a rather odd interference call (he dropped his stick when trying to pull it out of the grasp of a Panther, and it slid over to the puck carrier), the Panthers scored again on the power play.
Knuble evened it up a little bit forty seconds later with a slap shot from the right circle (huh? A slap shot from Knuble? yep) that beat Clemmenson.
Early in the second, Florida got another power play marker from Bergenheim. I thought about stopping the game then, but soldiered on (through a few good shifts for the Caps) for another nine minutes until Weiss got his second of the game. Down four, and not looking good any more, I gave up.
From looking at the box scores, it looks like my decision was about right. The Caps did come back to score three goals to lessen the margin, but they couldn't get an equalizer. I imagine the team's going to get quite the chewing out during practice this morning about blown defensive assignments. The fifth goal was particularly bad, as the entire team was following Flash as he came into the zone and skated past the net, with nobody marking Weiss, or blocking the pass over to Weiss. This was also the second goal in a row where Neuvy badly overplayed someone going behind the net (Flash passed from the goal line, before he got behind the net on this one), and wasn't nearly able to get back into position.
I'm really not sure what to take from this one. As I said, there were some good plays, but some really miserable ones as well. Neuvy did not have a good game. He did make some very nice saves, but he also gave up some pretty bad ones. Overall, though, this game wasn't as encouraging as the last two.
I guess we'll see what happens tomorrow night, as they'll see the Senators again, this time in Ottawa.