A Caps week (or so) in review

I haven't had much chance to write, lately. Lots of things have been going on, mostly for good reasons. And I've had trouble with the Caps games, for both good and bad reasons.

The Chicago game a week and change ago, I missed most of, due to DVR issues. They seemed to play a bit better in the parts I was able to watch, I think (based on comments by the announcers, and such), but they still didn't look very good. And it being 2-0 Chicago when I turned it on didn't incline me towards excessive patience. Adding to all that, I was absolutely exhausted when I finally got a chance to think about writing about it that night.

The Wings game, the night after, I was able to watch from start to finish. I didn't think the Caps were the best team in that game; the Red Wings were more consistent in their play, but the Caps did have a few really nice plays for goals. And it was good to see something like a killer instinct from the Caps for most of the game (I thought they were too content to sit back towards the end of the game).

The Flyers' game, I also managed to catch all of. It certainly got started with a bang, with OV scoring in the first thirty seconds. And the Caps did a good job of dominating play through the first two periods, even if they didn't convert any of their large number of chances, and even if they did allow the Flyers to score one in there. But they were just unlucky not to score more; I was feeling pretty good about the game at that point.

The third period, they were again way too content to sit back and play for overtime. And the habit of doing that carried over into the overtime play, where they were heavily outplayed by Philadelphia. It was mostly luck that they were able to maintain the tied score into the shootout. Because of that, I wasn't feeling good at all in the shoot-out, and wasn't surprised at the result. Hunter's choices, other than OV and Hendricks, were a bit peculiar, but there weren't exactly a plethora of options.

I had said, before the road trip, that I'd be convinced they were a playoff team if they got six points (and yes, I knew that was a stretch, but that was kind of the point). And they finished with five, meaning, I suppose, that their asses were still in the fire.

They returned home for a game they really needed, against the Jets. This one I ended up missing for mostly good reasons; my wife and I were able to go out that night and I saw the score in the paper accidentally before getting around to watching the game. But it's hard to categorize the 4-3 OT loss as anything except disappointing; if they hadn't at least made it to overtime it would have been a huge disappointment.

The homestand continued against Minnesota, and I ended up missing it due to the combination of playing with my kids (when the game was on live) and the DVR erasing the game the next night (just before I turned it on; I guess it was an NBC Sports game, and I only save one game on that channel. So the Flyers game the next night wiped it out. Ugh). I certainly couldn't be upset with that result, 3-0, and the only negative I got from the little I read about it was that OV probably shouldn't be playing 26 minutes in one game. Great that he can, and a good performance, I suppose, but you haven't accomplished much if he's totally wiped out when the playoffs arrive. We'll see.

Tonight's game I watched a good bit of, some of it even live. But there really wasn't anything to be happy about. They had ten giveaways just in the first period (that's generally a total for a so-so game), so finishing the period down 2-0 wasn't a huge shock (although scoring chances being close was a little bit surprising (8-6, bad guys)). I almost turned it off when the score got to 3-0, because they were looking worse, rather than better, to that point in the period. But Semin closed the gap a little bit shortly after that, so I was feeling a little bit of hope.

And I felt better when they finally got another power play chance. But OV made two bad plays back-to-back at the point (failing to hold the puck in, then failing to keep himself between Pominville and the goal (and falling over while trying)), leading to a 2-on-1 going the other way that was converted. I gave up hope, and turned the game off before they even got to the replay of that one.

And thank goodness I did, because the only goal remaining went the wrong way. Ugh.

Holtby had a mostly decent game, although it was his turnover that led directly to the first goal the Sabres scored. I thought he looked pretty good, outside of that one play.

Sadly, none of the skaters really jumped out at me during the game. It was a nice goal by Semin (just his 19th; man, he's been overpaid this year). And Dima looked good the one or two times I noticed him being out there. OV had a few good plays early, but man, those were some bad ones leading to that last goal.

So the Caps stay three points behind the Panthers, and are now two points behind the Sabres. At this rate, they'll be lucky to make the playoffs. And no danger to make any noise if they do get there. I don't know what's up with the Caps' state of mind, but it's pretty terrible.

Barring some impressive collapses, they'll need to win at least four of the remaining five games (three of which are on the road). I'm not holding my breath over their chances. But the first look will be Thursday, against the Bruins in Beantown.

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