Quite an interesting game for the Caps, today. And for the first time all season, I was able to watch the entire game live (well, I was near the TV live; thinking about it, there were lots of interruptions in the first, especially early).
Holtby had quite the game. Like the Canes game the other night, he seemed very nonchalant about everything that came his way. That part was fun to watch. There were a couple of close calls, where he got lucky with scrambles in front of the net, but he was mostly a vaccuum cleaner hoovering up every puck nearby.
My impression, from what I did see of the first, was that the Caps were outplayed, though possibly not quite as badly as the shot totals (15-5) would indicate. Why? Well, possession seemed more even than that, plus, the Caps five shots did include some really good chances. Chimmer got robbed on a point-blank shot; I think that was in the first, and there were definitely one or two more.
But, thankfully Holtby was that good, which allowed the Caps to escape the period with a scoreless tie.
The second period was almost as lopsided for the Caps as the first was against them. And thankfully, a few seconds after taking down Wheeler (who, thankfully, did come back to play in the third) with a slapshot, they did manage to put the puck past Pavelec eleven minutes in. It was definitely not a typical Caps goal, with Hendricks tipping a Ribeiro pass in from the doorstep (the kind of goal I keep wishing the Caps would score).
That was it for the scoring for the period, but the Caps did look very good. In fact, they looked so good that it was hard to believe it was almost the same squad that got squished like bugs by the Flyers the other night. The changes, btw, were that Wolski was benched (WTF? And Crabb got six minutes? Which of these two is more likely to contribute?), Green had a relapse (*sigh* this is getting to be expected, with him. Let's hope it's only this game), and new acquisition Volpatti got five minutes as well (well, five on the ice and five in the box). Oh, and Schultz played (and fairly well, judging by the few times I noticed him).
In the third, the Caps weren't managing much in the way of offense, but were defending well, until, three and a half minutes in, a Brouwer shot took a lucky bounce off a defender into the top of the net. Then, forty-five seconds later, Ribeiro cleaned up an OV rebound to give the Caps a three-goal margin.
I was feeling pretty good, at that point; it isn't often a three goal margin gets squandered in the third. But they definitely spent a lot more time than I would prefer on the defensive. In addition, they didn't try too hard on the double-minor power play they got with five minutes and change left.
But Holtby cleaned up all the messes to get the Caps out of there with the win (and shutout!).
The PK really didn't do a good job of helping him out. They gave up 11 (!) shots on the power play for the game, and that's WAY too many. Particularly when you consider that they only gave up three minors.
The power play showed moments of brilliance, and a lot of lethargy (they gave up more shots than they took). Overall, there was a lot of luck flowing the Caps way. We'll take it, but it isn't a good indicator for the future.
One good indicator was that Perreault had another very good game. His line was buzzing, he made a couple of good backchecking plays, and, more surprisingly, was pretty good along the boards. Oh, and that interference call? Seriously? He pushed a (much) bigger player into Pavelec? Color me skeptical.
Anyway, Boston's coming to visit on Tuesday. If the Caps can manage a point in that one, I'll believe they have a chance at the playoffs.