In the shark tank

I didn't go into last night's game against San Jose with a great feeling; not only was there the long string of losses and a tie in San Jose, but Backstrom was declared unavailable because of that elbow to the head.

Things started out pretty well though. They played a pretty much mistake-free game for the first period, and managed to tilt the ice in their own favor (though not heavily; like 12-8 on shots). The period ended scoreless, however, so they didn't get much out of that excellent play.

In the second, things stayed pretty quiet for five minutes. But then Demers put in a fluky shot from the point (it deflected off a defender (OV, I think), off the back boards, off of both of TVo's legs, and slid into the net). The Caps responded well, though, helped by a very obvious goaltender interference call a minute later. The Caps won the faceoff, and put on a pretty passing display with WIdeman putting the puck in the net half a minute after the call.

Things continued to look pretty good for the rest of the period (though slightly in San Jose's favor), but then Wideman missed on a lift check and hit one of the Sharks in the face. They looked like they were going to escape the period despite that, but San Jose managed to put one past TVo with eight seconds left. Ugh. Suddenly, things weren't looking so good.

I didn't realize it until a little bit into the third, but things were actually looking even worse than I thought. Green only took three shifts in the second, and never returned for the third. Ugh. Ugh.

They got things off to a good start in the third, with the checking line potting a goal forty-five seconds in (Ward got it, from Wideman and Chimmer). But things quickly went downhill, as the Sharks' top line put one in on a defensive breakdown (Alzner lost his man) only sixteen seconds later. The rest of the game wasn't terrible, but it sure wasn't good, either, as they ended up allowing two more goals (one and empty-netter), and had very little sustained pressure (MarJo's line had one awesome shift, which I believe was in the third, with basically the entire shift in the offensive zone).

Overall, I'd rate it as a decent game. They came out strong, and played really well for almost two periods before surrendering. The power play looked good in its lone opportunity. The PK was so-so, with one allowed on two chances.

The team was definitely missing Backstrom (and, for half the game, Green). While I hope neither is rushed back before they're ready, I do hope they're ready soon. We'll keep our fingers crossed. One good thing is that both Shultz and Erskine are with the team, and can step in for Green in LA (Geeze, I hope it's nothing serious; but it wasn't anything really obvious, and I only remember him getting hit once. Maybe he aggravated his groin pull. Of course, if so, that'll keep him out for a while).

Anyway, tomorrow night's game is in LA. Let's hope we can learn something from Columbus' win there last night or the night before.

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