Caps early up, ended late

All of this finally brings us to today's game against the Flyers.  As I mentioned, I would have missed this one if it hadn't been for watching the Bruins game this morning.  As it was, I did miss almost eleven around nine minutes (though, happily, did get the recording started just in time to catch a replay of Dima's goal from the seventh minute).

Looking back, it seems to've taken Washington about five minutes to get started, offensively, but they took off like a rocket when they did.  That resulted in the Orlov slapshot from the point that put the Caps up by a goal, six minutes in.  And they kept pressing, although the next goal came with Philly on the power play, as Giroux' slapshot from the circle beat Holtby (although I've got to say that calling Wilson for roughing when he ran into Mason was a little weird.  Especially when Wilson was trying to stop, and had just been pushed off balance by a Flyer).

Regardless, the Caps got a power play back half a minute later.  They didn't, technically, score on that power play, although MarJo tipped Chimmer's pass from the corner into the net within a second or two of the penalty expiring.

Play went back and forth for the rest of the period, with Washington generally having the advantage, but nobody found the net.

In the second, Philly definitely had the better of the play for the first half, but Holtby stood strong, and kept the score line intact.  Nine minutes in, Downie took a high-sticking double-minor, giving the Caps an extended power play.  They started out fairly well on that, until Laich took a slashing call, negating the advantage.  Nobody really had much advantage for the first part of that, but then Washington starting getting some shots.  And then Laich's minor expired, and everyone apparently said, "We've got this now" and relaxed so much that Cooter was able to steal the puck in Washington's end and surprise Holtby with a pass out front to a charging Hall for a short-handed goal.  OV, in particular, was terribly complicit in this exchange.

It only took a minute for Washington to re-establish it's edge, though, as Green carried in down the side, threw it to the front of the net, where Wardo was fighting with a defender.  Ward managed a nifty behind-the-back pass across the net to Beagle, who put it past a shocked (and completely out of position) Mason.

It took three minutes, but the next shot on goal was a Dima shot from the point that slid under the legs of a prone Chimmer (good job noticing and getting those legs up, big guy!) and into the net, giving Washington their fourth two-goal lead of the post-Olympic season.

And it took a while (thanks to some incredible plays by Holtby), but this one, too, dissolved.  The tying goal came with just over a minute left in the game, on a tip-in from right in front of Braden.

Dima apparently decided to make up for his excellent play up to that point by taking a five-minute major for charging just before the ten-minute mark of the period.  That only led, directly, to one goal, but the team was flailing a lot after that (Erskine taking a minor during that major, even when it was part of off-setting minors, did not help either).

With that, it was certainly not a big surprise when Philly played better in the OT, and eventually got the deciding goal when Vinny Lecavalier got on his horse and slid it past Holtby.

Despite the five goals on thirty-six shots, Holtby had an excellent game behind some occasionally-terrible defense.  He made several stops (three or four) on guys who were completely behind the defense, and there was nothing he could do on three of the goals.

The power play was, to put it bluntly, not good.  It's certainly impossible to say it's good when it allows more goals than it scores, especially when that shortie came due to lack of effort.  They did attempt sixteen shots in nine minutes, which is not terrible (my rule of thumb for good play is two attempts per minute), but man...

In any event, the PK was also not good.  Twenty shot attempts against in under six and a half minutes (eleven on net), with two goals; that's definitely not getting it done.

It's hard to be upset with five points in three games (something the Caps will have to manage another time or two in the remainder of the season), but it's hard to be happy with giving up three two-goal leads in those games also.  And while net 5-on-5 close Fenwick was slightly better than 50%, it was only by a hair.  That doesn't bode terribly well.

I'm still skeptical about the team making the playoffs (let alone doing damage when there), but I guess they largely did what they needed to do.

And at least they won't be mortgaging the farm on a rental of Miller, who got traded to the Blues over the weekend.

We'll see, I guess.  Next up is another game against Philly on Wednesday, this time in Philadelphia.  I suspect the Caps won't be feeling the "Brotherly Love".  Go Caps!

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