Narrow escape

I had a family emergency yesterday morning, so I didn't get to watch the Caps/Wings game until after half-time for the SuperBowl. On the plus side, I got to watch the entirety of the competitive part of the Super Bowl.

The Caps game had almost the same personnel as the prior game (which included Strachan getting called up for Green, as I forgot to mention). The only change was that Laich was out (guess he really wasn't healed, huh?), with Volpatti coming in.

Despite those changes (collectively, Green, Grabo, and Laich out; Strachan, Volpatti, and Wellman in), the Caps got off to an awesome start. By the time the Caps had gotten their second goal, seven minutes and change in, the Wings had only one missed shot (though I don't have the number, I think they did have a couple of blocked shots).

I was thinking that there was a hope of the Caps getting a fenwick-close shutout (they've suffered two already), but of course not. In fact, they ended up not even getting a majority of fenwick-close (though it was a close call).

For the rest of the game, the Caps were nearly incapable of stopping the Zetterberg, Nyquist, Abdelkader line.

Fortunately, they did have an edge in power play time, which at least slowed down Detroit. And they did finally score in overtime on the power play.

So Washington did win, in overtime. Their scoring was a lot more spread around than Detroit's (that top line had four of Detroit's five goals). The Ward/Chimmer line had three, the top line had one (by Carlson), Brouwer had one, and OV had the overtime PPG.

What was there to like? Well, at this point, winning is hard to overstate as being needed. Neuvy actually had several really awesome saves, although his overall numbers aren't great.

The special teams weren't all that good, though. In eight minutes, the PP had sixteen shot attempts (a bit low), nine on net (quite low). The PK held Detroit to seven shot attempts, leading to two goals (one of which is so-so, the other is terrible).

In terms of specifics, Detroit was putting a man on OV (told to ignore everything except OV, I think), and OV didn't move around enough to cause havok with that. Alternatively, he could have just migrated further from the net, and left a lot of space for Brouwer/Ward. One thing we did see, is that the few times he did migrate a bit, Brouwer couldn't take advantage of that space, but Ward did. For that reason alone, Ward should take the PP1 slot position, I think.

Much of the game really felt like the Caps were just holding on for dear life; praying they would get enough pucks in the net. After the first period, it never really felt like they were going to win. Certainly not comfortably.

I'd like to say something about the injuries, and how that factored in, but Detroit was also hurting, from that perspective. Datsyuk is still out, in particular.

I guess we'll just have to be happy with the result, and move on. And hopefully get healthy (if not immediately, we can at least hope that everyone is back after the Olympics). Next up, the Islanders will be coming to visit on Tuesday. The Caps will need to take advantage of that. Go Caps!

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