I don't have a lot of time to write this, but I wanted to jot down a few notes about last night's Caps game, which I was finally able to watch tonight. I wasn't feeling great about it, as last night I turned it on a few seconds after the Flames opened the scoring.
And it didn't really go all that well after. The Flames scored more before seventeen minutes had been reached, and Hillen suffered a leg (probably knee) injury in there as well. Wilson responded to that with a few good punches and a nice takedown on the person delivering the hit that caused the injury (on replay it looked pretty clean, but in full speed I didn't think so). But Holtby was pulled after that third goal.
The Caps did get a few chances in there (OV was close a couple times), but nothing sustained. It really wasn't looking good by the end of the period. The only encouraging thing was that the shots were close (in fact, the Caps were up one, which surprised me quite a bit).
And things didn't look much better for a while in the second. Then Carrick got a hooking minor (weird call; looked like Carrick was the one being fouled). The PK did well this time (the third goal in the first was a PPG, so it hadn't started well), and at the expiration, MarJo got the puck and found Carrick at the other blue line. Carrick took it in on the breakaway and deked Ramo down, calmly depositing the puck behind him.
But, a minute and a half later, Neuvy misplayed the puck behind the net fairly badly, and gave up an open-net goal to restore Calgary's three-goal margin. And the play still wasn't looking too good for the home team, although they did have the occasional chance. Then Jones hit Carlson in the face with his stick to give the Caps the man advantage (and I'm impressed the refs saw this one. It was there, but was very quick).
The Caps won the faceoff, worked it around for a bit, then fed OV for the one-timer for a goal on the first shot (sadly, though, it was the Caps first shot since Carrick had scored).
The Caps got within one four minutes later with OV again finding the back of the net. Off an icing call, Backstrom won the faceoff over to MarJo, who dumped back to OV, who rocketed it into the net.
And the Caps looked great for the remaining four minutes or so of the period. Lots of chances, many of them very close. But none were converted, which took us into the third (other than the bench minor with thirteen seconds left).
The team was doing a good job killing that penalty for the first 59 seconds, then Erskine (with time) cleared it the length of the ice, and over the glass at the far end. How often does that happen? Well, for the Caps, this season, every game, apparently. To their credit, the team did a great job killing the two-man advantage. The remainder of the delay of game wasn't quite as smooth, but they got the job done.
The Caps drew two more penalties, and the second of those provided the tying score. OV wristed it into a defender laying in front of him, the puck bounced around some skates to Grabo, who calmly passed over to Backstrom, who settled it and wristed it between the defender's legs, and past Ramo.
Things didn't look too good after that, but they managed to get into overtime with the tie. The overtime felt pretty heavily Calgary's way, but shots were equal. In fact, they were equal for the entire game, which surprised me. The Caps really didn't seem to have equal control of the play, other than five or six minutes at the end of the second. Although score effects would, normally, help equalize quite a bit. I'm sure it wasn't nearly even when the score was close.
Anyway, they managed to drag it out into the shootout, where Grabo and OV both deked forehand, then scored on the backhand. And Neuvy stopped Baertschi and Hudler to cement the win.
It wasn't pretty (though you've got to figure that being short a defender didn't help with that), but they got the job done. It was actually less encouraging than the Chicago loss, but the result was better.
Holtby definitely had a bad game. Neuvy, outside of that one puck-handling misadventure, looked very good. Erskine did not; he mostly looked pretty terrible (though I'm surprised to see he was even on the night). MarJo was, quietly, very good. In addition to his beautiful helper for Carrick, he had assists on both of OV's goals. And OV was a force; the two goals, nine more shots, second assist on Backstrom's goal, and the shootout winner. The only weakness was taking his second slashing minor, but at least he had company going to the box, this time.
And Grabo looked great. He had a number of nice passes, and was regularly threatening. Fehr's line, I noticed several times looking good, although I suspect I'm forgetting several (maybe many) not-so-good plays. Erat and Wilson looked pretty good; unfortunately, Beagle was centering them. They managed to get a few pretty good chances despite him. But again, I suspect I'm forgetting a number of not-so-good times.
Anyway, hard to know what to make of the game. It was a win, which was nice, but it was a butt-ugly one. Not to mention feeling a bit like the old Cardiac Caps. And I never liked that feeling. Still, we'll take it. Dallas is tomorrow night; we'll get to see Eakin again. Hopefully, the game will go a bit better.