Keeping Tampa at Bay

[man, even further behind with posting than I thought; this post and the two following were all written after the game in question, but I'm a wee bit slow in getting them up here.]

I was too tired to watch the Caps/Bolts encounter on Saturday evening. We were out at dinner with my parents when it started, and was so tired by the time we got home that I went to sleep right after the kids (bad sleep Friday night, got up early for photography, then played ultimate frisbee, then visited the DC Trolley museum, then dinner. Very full day).

But I turned it on Sunday morning, and greatly enjoyed the first period. Largely, though not entirely, driven by the three power plays (one a double), the Caps had one of their most dominant periods of the season. They only scored once on the power play (the first attempt was actually not a good one, giving up one shot for the two they got), but got two more goals at even strength.

Both of those even-strength ones were on the rush; Hillen put one in from the top of the circles as part of a 4-on-2 and OV got one when Backstrom sprung him behind the defense. Both of those were from near the end of the first period.

The second period also started very strong, and the Caps got another goal three minutes in when Perreault and Chimmer perfectly worked a 2-on-1 to give Chimmer a tap-in to an empty net for the goal.

The Caps were up 4-0 at that point, and were looking so good that I turned the game off shortly after that.

My mind was blown when I checked the paper a few minutes after that for the final score. I was like, "6-5, in OT"?!?

Looking at the box score, the second period appears to have been pretty strongly dominated by the Lightning, with the Caps escaping with two goals (both assisted by Perreault) to match the Bolts' two. And the third appears to have been a complete defensive shell game by the Caps, with a predictable result.

It's quite damning, to my eyes, that the Caps had as many shots in the overtime as in the third period.

I really thought they'd put together a good game, but it seems that they relaxed quite a bit too much.

Shots were very close, although the Caps almost doubled up Tampa on blocked ones.

Overall, I'm glad of the win, but the possession numbers still aren't great. I'd talk about score effects, but the game did get tied after the Caps (twice) got a four-goal lead (teams trailing by more than two goals almost always lead in shots, as the team with the lead plays it "safe").

We'll see. The big challenge comes up now, as the Caps face five straight games against Canadian teams (then play Boston on the last day), starting with Toronto tomorrow. If they can come up with five points, they should be in the playoffs (probably maintaining their position at the top of the Southeast, seeing as they've won the game they had in hand vis a vis Winnipeg).

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