Flame on!

I watched the Caps/Flames game the other night, but I almost feel like I didn't. I was only half-watching the first half of the game (needed to keep the kids out of trouble), and don't remember a whole lot from the second half.

I did see all of the goals live, which was something.

It was really nice to see the team come out and take an early lead, and then extend it. In fact, the Caps dominated the first period pretty well, with an 8-4 shots lead and a 4-1 scoring chance lead. The second period was slightly in favor of Calgary, with them having a 9-8 shots deficit, but a 6-3 scoring chance lead. But the Caps had taken a 1-0 lead in the first on a pretty power play goal by OV from MarJo, and stretched that margin in the second with a not-so-pretty power play goal from Brouwer stuffing in the rebound on an OV shot and a nice play with Backstrom passing from behind the net to WIdeman in front for the score. The latter play was actually created by MarJo, too, by him taking both defensemen out of the play on the initial rush.

I'm starting to feel less good about the Caps play, overall, though, as it feels like they're giving up too many shots. They're blocking something like half of the shots they're seeing, so it looks better, but I have my doubts about how sustainable that is as a winning strategy. Yes, it worked great for Montreal in the playoffs a couple of seasons ago, but that felt a lot more like a fluke than anything sustainable. Hopefully, I'm worried about nothing.

The power play was pretty good, scoring on two of their three opportunities, but that was only on four shots, so it wasn't quite as good as it looked.

The penalty kill was very solid, stopping all four chances, and giving up only three shots.

TVo, through the night, was looking very good. The one goal he allowed was on a good play by Calgary (maybe helped by a blown coverage by one of the forwards (Ward was closest, although I'm not sure if that was his man)), so we won't hold that one against him. He also had some very, very good stops on Calgary's one or two breakaways.

And OV, again, looked like OV from a couple of years ago. It's a lot of fun to watch. And Backstrom has remained quietly dominant.

Backster did take an elbow to the head in the third, and only played two more shifts the rest of the way. Hopefully, that's just a migraine and not a concussion. The latter would be a serious blow to the team, and apparently tests yesterday were inconclusive. We're keeping our fingers crossed. On the plus side, Rene Bourque, who delivered that blow, got a five-game suspension. Let's hope that dissuades him from trying to scramble the brains of other players.

In any event, the team's about to embark on a pretty rough stretch, with days off today and tomorrow, but then five games in nine days. And those five start with San Jose, in the Tank, where the Caps haven't won since 1993. Ouch. It isn't a lot of games, but still, ouch.

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