Check out recaps, notes, and video from NHL.com, TPP, Japers’ Rink, Puckhead’s Thoughts, Corey Masisak, Tarik El Bashir, Washington Post, Washingtoncaps.com, Bruce Boudreau, Jose Theodore, and Brian Pothier.
Through five games, we’re now 2-2-1. Last year through five, we were 3-1-1, including a season opening 7-4 loss to Atlanta. I wouldn’t worry just yet, but here are a few things, good and bad, that I noticed last night in the loss at The Joe. (Bear with me. I’m trying out a few different formats for game notes/recaps. I’ll try Hot/Cold today.)
JT60 was ON. He made quite a few dazzling saves. His glove did not fail him last night. He snared two chances from Kronwall and Zetterberg and finished with 34 saves on 37 shots. Theo definitely deserved a win tonight, but he can’t help it if his team takes too many costly penalties.
Even without getting a goal, Alex Ovechkin played well enough to be the 2nd star of the game. On the Brendan Morrison goal, he had the primary assist. His 10 hits amassed for about a third of the Caps total on the night. He had a game high nine shots on goal and was second in TOI (22:57).
We finally got our first bit of secondary scoring in the season. Isn’t it funny how last year secondary scoring meant guys other than Ovechkin, and this year, it means players other than the top two lines? Matt Bradley looked like he was in playoff form last night. He had the opening goal on a slapper from the left circle, drew a penalty, and had a nice shot block with a couple seconds left in a Detroit power play. If they gave out the hard hat for loses, they would’ve cut it in half for Theo and Brads.
The compete was coming back. Against the Rangers, the last minutes were kind of lackadaisical, and it looked like no one cared. Last night, it wasn’t incredibley intense in the end, but the boys were working a lot harder to try and tie it up.
Defensively, we looked more like we did against Boston in the season opener. There were a few times when the Red Wings got caught offside because of the defensive positioning. More sticks were getting in the way and disturbing the Wings’ handling of the puck. Other times, there would have been guys like Datsyuk and Zetterberg just constantly rolling through the zone.
Mike Green is not helping anyone’s cause. He took two stupid penalties, the latter of which led to the Holmstrom game winner. (The one bright spot–albeit a selfish bright spot–is that those four PIM are helping me edge out my fantasy opponent by three in that category.) Right now, he’s second in minor penalties with six, just one behind Evgeni Malkin. He had one shot and was a -1 in a game high 26:50 TOI. Apparently, according to Joe B and Locker, Greenie is trying out some new gloves because that’s the new problem he has. First, the stick. Now, the gloves. His performance hasn’t helped the Caps, and it’s certainly not helping his bid for a spot on Canada’s Olympic roster.
To go off of that, we took some more stupid penalties. Still. The discipline is still not there. Alexander Semin took two, along with Green’s two and Chris Clark‘s one. It’s better than that horrendous nine minor night against Philly, but it’s still not good considering two of those penalties (one of Semin’s and one of Green’s) turned into goals for Detroit. We can’t rely on our penalty killers for the whole game. Our scorers need to be out there. From the mouth of Gabby, “We played a hell of a game tonight. We take two bad penalties and it costs us.”
We were outshot 37-24. Ovechkin had nine of our shots himself, and Mike Knuble had four. That would be a total of 13 shot by two guys alone. Even though Brads got that secondary scoring in, it’s not going to help if a few guys don’t even get one shot fired at net.
Eric Fehr had his first game back after double shoulder surgery this summer. While he didn’t have a SOG, he was credited with three hits in 8:15 of ice time. Pretty good considering he all the rehabbing he had to do on the shoulders.
We stayed pretty good on the faceoff dot. As a team, we were 55%. Brooks Laich and Dave Steckel were both 7-of-11 for 64%. That would be better than Pavel Datsyuk’s 50% on 20 draws.
1-for-3 on the power play thanks to a BMo goal. (And the refs making the right call at our end.)
While the Wings had more giveaways (15 to our 10), they also had more takeaways (9 to our 3).
But we had more blocked shots (20-7) and we outhit them 31-26.
The leader in shorthanded TOI was Tom Poti with 5:08, Milan Jurcina was second with 4:30, and Stecks logged the most time by a forward with 4:08.