Striking it even

Tonight was a pretty lousy night for the Caps' skaters. They spent way too much time in their own end of the ice, and didn't get nearly enough pucks directed at Tim Thomas.

Despite that, they did manage to get a pair of goals. The first, by MarJo, came on a 2-on-1 with him and Laich in the second minute. The second came on the power play, with Semin putting it into the far, upper corner from the left half wall came in the penultimate minute of the middle period.

Other than that, it was pretty butt-ugly. They gave up several odd-man rushes, on one of which, Peverley scored (MarJo broke up another with a phenomenal back-check). Scoring chances were 6-3 in the first, and 7-6 in the second. Shots, overall, were 45-21.

One of the few things that did go well for them was that they stayed out of the penalty box, giving the Bruins only one chance with the man advantage.

Other than that, though, it was the Braden Holtby show. He was an absolute wall, only giving up that one Peverley tally (which was, actually, not a good effort by him. We'll forgive him).

So the ultimate result was the Caps evening the series at a pair apiece. It's not encouraging for the Caps future, but it's a great present.

Two important notes related to Monday's game. One was the Perreault only played four minutes the entire game. This again speaks to Hunter's bad personnel management. If you don't trust him enough to play more minutes, put someone else in the lineup. Oh, and you should trust him more. What's this team's biggest weakness? Puck possession. Where does Perreault rate? Number three (Aucoin is a hair better in far fewer games, and Collins was better (or, more likely, luckier) in his two games).

And the second was that Backstrom failed to keep his cool when he saw OV tripped, and had a stick thrust into his face (by Peverley, I believe. Who was, according to Shanahan, maintaining a defensive posture. Not sure how you are purely being defensive when you've got your stick right up in someone's face, but the NHL thinks it's possible). He retaliated, getting a game misconduct (this was as time expired for the game), which was later expanded into a one game suspension. So he didn't play tonight at all, which certainly didn't help matters.

Also, Erskine played tonight, instead of Shultz, and wasn't too bad. He had some really good hits, and didn't get too out of position, that I can recall. I'd still rather have Dima or Shultz instead of him, but he wasn't a disaster.

In any event, Holtby assured the Caps of one more home game for the season, and the team heads back to Boston for game five on Saturday. Let's hope they can bring home another win. Preferably without being outplayed as badly as they were tonight.

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