Caps were on road, too

I don't have a whole lot to say about the Caps' recently-completed road trip, but there were a few things.

I thought the Caps played very well in Edmonton, but were a little bit unlucky not to win.  Certainly, their possession numbers stayed very good.  I, unfortunately, missed the last period, but mostly enjoyed watching the first two.

The possession numbers remained very good in Calgary, and they were able to win that one.  I wasn't able to watch the whole thing that night.  In fact, I only saw the first period live.  I ended up watching the second and first few minutes of the third the next night while my wife was getting the kids ready for bed.

I thought the first goal of that one was kind of weird, with a Calgary being very generous with the puck while ostensibly playing "four corners" on a penalty kill.  Wardo, I'm sure, was thankful.  It ended up being quite a good game for him, as he got another, early in the second, putting in a rebound from a Latta shot (high caffeine, I'm sure).

And the third had Backstrom showing that Trotz wants him to shoot more (and Alzner showing that he's looking for long passes more often), wristing one in from just inside the blue line.

A good game, any way you want to look at it.

Then the Caps faced Vancouver.  The first period was pretty terrible, possessionally, as the Caps were simply dominated.  Peters kept them in the game, making a number of excellent saves to keep the game scoreless.

The second started with the Caps clawing back, possessionally, and even taking a lead when MarJo buried a beautiful cross-ice feed from Burakovsky.  Things continued to look good for another eight minutes or so, until the wheels fell off, completely.  They allowed three goals in under two minutes (the first of which was on the power play), and did not look good in the process.  A little bit of bad luck, but some rather bad play, as well.

One mote of good news came when, a minute and change after that third goal, Liam O'Brien got his first of the season on a nice deflection of a centering pass from Greenie.

But that was as good as it got; the Canucks cemented the victory with a minute left in the game and Carlson in the box for a delay-of-game penalty.  The puck was in the Vancouver end, as Peters had been pulled, but Vrbata put it in from very long range.

Overall, I was pretty happy with what I saw.  I wish they'd been able to get at least one more point on the trip, but they look like a team that should be doing better, not one lucky to be where they are (as was the case for most of last season).

Burakovsky continues to look very well, and is central to a line shuffling that occurred yesterday at practice.  Tonight, against Detroit, he'll be centering OV and Wardo, with Backstrom being paired with MarJo and Brouwer.  I guess that makes Bura the top-line center, but it seems odd all the way around; the top line has not been part of the team's ... issues, I guess.  And I still don't like splitting Chimmer and Ward; Ward's recent goals notwithstanding, they've been too good together for too long.  Their games just mesh too well.

I hope Bura handles the additional pressure as well as he's handled his situation thus far.  The season could go downhill very quickly if Bura gets frustrated.

One good sign; Wilson is finally well enough to get called up, sending Chris Brown back to Hershey.  Hard not to see that as an upgrade, even if my expectations for Wilson are much more tempered, I think, than those of the Caps' top brass.  (Yes, I'm still a bit bitter about them not sending Tom back to Junior, last year.  And losing Perreault because of it.)

Anyway, as mentioned, tonight's game will be at home against Detroit.  Somehow, this is a 'Rivalry Night' game, despite the Caps and Red Wings only being in the same division for six seasons over their history.

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