Sweat of the Brouw

I've been having trouble watching Caps games, lately, with my dad having health problems. But I was able to watch the Caps/Jets game the other day only a couple of hours after initial puck-drop.

It was a game with some definite surprises beforehand. A slight surprise was that Holtby was in net, but the big surprises were at the blue-line. Green and Erskine were both out (still don't know why for Erskine, although Green's injury is a concussion), and Strachan was sent back down, so Wey and Brouillette were called up to be the third pairing. This was a bit concerning, as Wey was underwhelming in his previous game, and Brouillette was getting his first NHL action (after four years mostly spent in the AHL).

I'm not sure why Wey and Brouillette were called up, rather than Oleksy and Schmidt, but it did work out ok.

In fact, the game started out pretty well for the Caps, with play more often in their offensive end. And the MarJo, Wellman, and Brouwer line had a couple of good shifts, culminating in a Brouwer goal (helped by Pavelec playing with a broken stick) five minutes in. Things were significantly downhill after that, and for quite a while. Eight minutes later, Little deflected a Ladd shot past Holtby, and Byfuglien scored six minutes into the second.

But Holtby was huge, and kept the Caps in the game until the end of the second. At that point, they were actually getting outplayed so badly that I was tempted to turn the game off. And that's despite Washington getting three of the four power plays up to that point.

But the Caps woke up a bit in the third. After a small flurry a couple minutes in, they solidly dominated the rest of the way. And that paid off with a Wey->Brouillette->Wilson (?!?) goal in the fourth minute (Wey played across to Brouillette, who shot wide, with the rebound going to Wilson as he skated into the slot). OV added his fortieth four minutes later, when he backhanded in a rebound of a Backstrom shot (itself a rebound of an Alzner shot).

And Brouwer finished out the scoring eight minutes later when he got on a 2-on-1 with MarJo, and MarJo passed to Brouwer so Troy could backhand it over Pavelec from only a few feet out. Interestingly on this one, Carrick had the second assist as he passed ahead to them, and Laich was on the ice by the time the goal was scored (unknown what happened to Wellman being with the other two).

The two goals led to Brouwer getting first star of the game, despite a Corsi For under 30% (5-on-5). MarJo was at the same level. Bad process, good results.

On the flip side, Wey and Brouillette were both a hair over 50%, so that was encouraging. And there was a funny note there, as that goal they both got assists on was the first NHL point for each. Speculation was rampant that they'd be cutting the puck in half, and giving each of them part. Haven't heard anything since on what was done.

The power play for the game was only ok, with eight shots (thirteen attempted) over their eight minutes with the advantage. That's not bad, but a bit less than I'd like to see. They also had two shots against, which is definitely more than I'd prefer.

The PK was not terribly good, with three shots against (and one blocked) in only two minutes. They kept the puck out of the net, but wouldn't do so if they kept allowing that shot rate against for much longer.

But the better part was that they stayed out of the box, and only gave up those two minutes.

And Holtby was again excellent, with only those two goals on thirty-six shots. Granted, worse than he did over two or three games against Winnipeg last year, but nothing to sneeze at.

Overall, a not-terribly-good game for the Caps, but at least Holtby stole one for them.

I'll write about the Devils game separately.

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