Flying high

Well, I wasn't feeling terribly great going into tonight's Caps game.  OV is out with a shoulder injury (hopefully not for long), and Erskine is out for a fairly long time (went straight to LTIR).  To help cope, Orlov and Latta were both called up from Hershey.

But missing OV?  Ow.  He's fired over 20% of the teams total shots (ie: on-goal, misses, and blocked shots), so it's a tremendous loss.

To add to things, from a personal point of view, I realized about twenty minutes before the game started that it was on NHLN, so my DVR wasn't set.  We were having dinner at the time, and about to go pick up the new minivan we'll need in a month or so.  So I knew I wouldn't have a chance to go home and set it.

Well, I ignored it for a while, but I did check on the game while we were at the dealership to see that the Caps were up four.  It was definitely a muted joy, since it appeared that they were doing well, and I wasn't able to see it.

Well, by the time we finished, got home, and put the kids to bed, the game actually finished, so I didn't get a chance to watch any of it.  And boy was I wishing I had, as I was able to get the highlights shortly after.  7-0?  Ward with the hat trick?  Over half fenwick close?  Which planet is this report coming from?

Obviously, there was a fair bit of puck luck, on both ends.  Especially obviously, the shutout, but shooting 29% 5-on-5 close?  The power play got another pair (in seven attempts), and the PK stopped everything (obviously), but allowed seven shots in five power plays.

Yeah, that power play is really close to a serious crash and burn.  I wouldn't be surprised if they allow three-four power play goals one night very soon.  They're just allowing way too many shots.

Anyway, the other thing I missed was a full line brawl at 5:31 of the third period (eight seconds after the final goal).  I did see some of the "highlights" of that, including Holtby getting his ass handed to him.  Braden, you want to stop the pucks with your body, not his fists.  Most everyone got thrown out, so benches were a wee bit short for the remainder of the game.

Yet Wilson still got the most minutes he'd yet played, despite being one of the ones thrown out.  Go figure.  I guess the fourth was getting a bit more ice time, with that large lead.

And geeze, I just realized that the Caps scored one goal on FOUR shots in the first.  And their shooting percentage went UP over the remainder of the game.  I'm not sure what's more surprising: the pathetic shot total for the period, or that it wasn't their highest shooting percentage of the game.

Anyway, major kudos to Wardo for his excellent game.  Chimmer also did very well, with a breakaway goal of his own and assists on all three of Wardo's goals.  Grabo also had three assists, to round out the incredible night for that line.  Backstrom had a pair of impressive snipes also.

There ended up being a second line of MarJo, Laich, and Brouwer.  I was worried (having heard the line combinations earlier today) that that line would get killed.  MarJo was slightly negative, but Laich and Brouwer were massively negative (-31% and -23%, respectively), making me wonder if they weren't together all that much.  Nevertheless, that does not look like a promising line, and I hope it ends up as a one game experiment.

But overall, there was a lot to like about the game.  Now if only I could have watched it.  Preferably live.

But it's the first night of a back-to-back, so we won't have to wait long to see if momentum carries over.  Let's hope so; tomorrow's being a home game against Florida certainly improves the odds.  And let's hope OV's healthy (yes, I know, that's a long shot).

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