[note: I wrote this yesterday, but forgot to post it last night. Also, forgot to mention the positive that Mike Green skated in pre-game warm-ups, hopefully indicating that his injury that prevented him playing against the Rangers is not serious.]
Last night's Caps game was rather... disappointing. I was frequently interrupted through the first period, but was able to watch the rest straight through (let's hear it, again, for DVRs).
The first period was hardly a good start; New Jersey was all over them, but didn't manage to find the net (Holtby did well, from what I could see between interruptions from the kids). The Caps had a few decent moments, but nothing especially sustained. They were very lucky to escape the period scoreless.
The second period largely reversed the first period, with lots of sustained pressure (and even some breakaways). Oddly, all the scoring in this period came on the Caps power play. The Caps had two nice power play goals: one where Perreault followed up a beautiful Brouwer drive, potting the rebound as the defense stood around; and one where they worked it down the right half-wall, and got it to Ribeiro in the slot, who shot it home.
It wasn't all good news, though. At the beginning of the same powerplay where Ribeiro scored, Carlson had two brainfarts in a row trying to collect the puck behind the net. That allowed Henrique to control the puck and get it to Elias, out front, who scored. Ugh-ly.
The third period, the Caps gamely tried to stay with NJ, but they couldn't stay out of the box. The Devils got five (!) power plays in the period, including two lengthy 5-on-3s. Given all that, the Caps did well to only give up one power play goal, but were obviously unable to sustain any offense. In fact, the PK did so well, that the first of those 5-on-3s (1:53, worth, IIRC) generated NO shots on goal. Carlson and Backstrom were particularly good at the blocking, here.
Unfortunately, the Devils also got an even strength goal in the third, which made the later power play goal the game-winner.
It was an extremely frustrating period (especially for the guys not on the PK, I'm sure, who were largely stapled to the bench). What was especially galling was that the first 5-on-3 came about as the Devils were able to argue for a delay of game penalty that wasn't called. Gallows humor, here, but I was amused that Kundratek served the penalty when Beagle hit it out. Oh, and it was pretty funny that Brouwer managed to get a misconduct after the game ended, as he really let the refs have it as he was heading off the ice.
So, ignoring how frustrating it was to watch a team spend so much time in the penalty box, there were some positives. The biggest one was that OV had a fantastic game. Even though he didn't score, he was threatening all night, and looked like he'd score several.
The third line again looked very good, generating pressure and generally tilting the ice in Washington's favor. Too bad they didn't get any ice time in the third, due to all those penalties.
I already pointed out both sides of why, but Carlson had a very mixed game, with some very good and some very bad.
Brouwer had an excellent game; his toe-drag right before his shot on which Perreault scored off the rebound was a thing of beauty. I love seeing him going strong to the net.
But, that's about the most I can say as positives. But it did still make me hopeful; if OV keeps playing like that, he'll score bunches of goals.
I think they're toast, as far as the playoffs are concerned, but I love seeing OV playing like that. That would give something positive for the season. We'll have to wait for tomorrow at noon to find out.