I wasn't able to watch much of the Caps/Leafs game, the other night. I wasn't able to look until after putting the kids to bed, at which point I found out that the game was on the alternate channel (I assume a Wizards game was on the normal Comcast Net channel, but I didn't check). So the part I was able to watch I had to watch live (which sucks; I hate commercials).
But I can say almost exactly when I turned it on; it was a few seconds before Wilson and Ashton dropped their gloves (so, 14:53 of the second period). Not thrilled to see Wilson chucking his knuckles; I'd rather see him show his scoring touch. Having said that, I was glad he won the fight pretty handily (and I thought it was interesting that the knuckles on his left hand ended up bleeding, when he tries to throw big punches with his right. But he jabs (while holding the jersey) a lot with his left, and the jersey he was holding probably led to the bleeding. The jabs are interesting, insofar as not a lot of guys are strong enough to do that.)
And then, of course, I had to watch Erskine and Orr go at it five seconds later. Ho-hum. I'd like to say something about Erskine pulling someone off the ice that we're glad to see go, but Orr? Who cares? Impressed at how well Erskine did, but I still wouldn't cry if there was no more fighting at all.
Anyway, I should mention that lines and defensive pairings were the same as the night before. The one difference is that Neuvy was in goal, rather than Gru. Which leaves me really feeling badly for Holtby; he needs reps to get back into form.
Getting back to the game, that means that I missed the first goal from each team.
I can't say as it felt like either team was dominating, after that. The Caps did get a power play shortly after I turned it on, but nothing came out of that.
The third didn't start out well for the Caps, as Alzner deflected a sharp-angle shot from Kessel over Neuvy's shoulder. He made the percentage play, but it didn't work out.
The "top" line responded a few minutes later, as Backstrom got a turnover on the forecheck, near the goal, and threw it towards the net. There were two defenders there, and one got his skate out of the way, but the other deflected it into the net to tie the game. No surprise that Backstrom is going to be the one carrying that line.
The final goal of the game came seven minutes later, just after a power play expired, and MarJo (from Backstrom's normal spot) found Ward with a bit of space in the middle, and Wardo banged it home.
It was a herky-jerky affair, but the Caps managed to close out the game defensively.
Overall, the power play did decently, as the final goal was, for all intents and purposes, a power play one. And they did have seven shots on net (and fifteen attempts), which isn't bad. The only bad part were the two shorthanded chances allowed.
The PK did not do so well, allowing seven shots (eleven attempted shots) and one goal in almost six minutes. The only thing in their favor was that the did attempt two short-handed shots (if I remember correctly, the one that missed the goal came when Chimmer had a mostly-open net).
And even strength was just about even, across the board. What's odd is that the first and fourth lines were the best on Corsi (I'd expect them to be the worst), which, I guess, is just going to encourage Oates to keep doing what he's doing.
And I don't have anything new to add to the goaltending situation, beyond what I said the other day. I'd have to assume Neuvy (or Gru? that actually might make more sense; his trade value is likely to be as high as it will ever get) will be traded soon. Regardless of the truth of that speculation, kudos to Neuvy for putting in a great game under difficult circumstances.
Anyway, I'm writing this after the Buffalo game was played, so I'll save more general comments until the end of that game.