CAPS 3, Predators 2 OT

Predators Capitals Hockey(Photo: AP)

After that bad four game losing skid, we’re on a better streak. After beating the Predators in a shootout, we’ve got two wins in a row.

  • This definitely was not one of the prettiest wins we’ll see out of the Caps.  We played well for about the first half of the game (minus the first PP where we let the Preds have two breakaways), and the second half seemed to become a little too loose. But like Brendan Morrison and Eric Fehr said, it wasn’t because of guys taking bad or risky chances, more because of being too relaxed. The first goal was from bad backchecking by Nicklas Backstrom, and the second was a miscue by Jeff Schultz and bad positioning by Semyon Varlamov.
  • The running joke of the day was how Alex Ovechkin had as many goals (seven) as the entire Predators offense. Then, Ovi lit the lamp twice in the first period and got the lone shootout goal. He got his first PPG and his second was off a flip pass from Morrison. One last joke out of it: OVECHKIN 9 – Predators 9.
  • Mike Knuble had a ton of very good chances, mainly in the third period. There was one, I believe a Brooks Laich pass, where Noobs had an open net, and it just wouldn’t go. He did have two assists, however. That makes 11 points for the first line of Ovi-BMo-Noobs (two points each against SJ, and two each from Ovi and Knuble, one from Morrison tonight).
  • Varlamov looked pretty solid aside from the softie he let in for Nashville’s equalizer, which, by the way, looked kind of Matt Bradley vs. Henrik Lundqvist-esque. His mental toughness seems to have gotten better. After the softie, he was still able to get through regulation, OT, and didn’t give up a goal in the shootout. On our first power play, he also made two fabulous saves on breakaway attempts by the Preds. (And that second goal may have happened because he was falling asleep a bit in the second.)
  • The fourth line of Quintin Laing-Dave Steckel-Matt Bradley played well, so much so that Bruce Boudreau awarded them with more TOI. Their ATOIs respectively are 10:39, 13:54, and 11:18. Tonight, their times were bummed up to 17:21, 17:02, and 14:02. Stecks also got the hardhat for his work tonight.

Some other interesting stats from the night:

  • While he hasn’t had much ice time, Eric Fehr is definitely helping the team by getting them a man advantage. The past two games, he’s drawn quite a few penalties. Last night, he drew two out of Nashville’s three in his 5:09 TOI.
  • We lost the faceoff battle tonight, winning just 46%. Steckel was the only center above the 50% mark after winning 56% of his 28 draws. He’s currently third in the league in FO% with 65.5%. Morrison was 50% on the night, Backstrom and Laich won 33%, and Keith Aucoin won 25%.
  • Despite scoring the only two Caps goals in regulation, Ovechkin was also on ice for both Predators goals, making him even on the night. Tom Poti and Knuble were the only two plus players for us (both +1), as opposed to the seven plus players for the Preds (all +1, except Hornqvist +2). As a team, we were -5, and the Predators were +5.
  • We’ve got more people taking shots on net. Only three players, Brian Pothier, Keith Aucoin, and Schultz didn’t register a SOG, They all had at least one attempt blocked. Of course, Ovi had the most shots with 6, Laich followed with 5, and Alexander Semin had 4.
  • Even though Backstrom had three takeaways, he also had two giveaways.
  • When Mike Knuble is a plus player, we’re 4-0-1.
  • This season, we are 3-0-1 when Ovi has a multi-goal game, 4-0-2 when he has a multi-point game, 4-0-1 when he scores at least one goal, and 2-0-0 when he gets the game winner. Goals from Ovi are good. Very good.
  • Japers’ Rink also has an interesting stat: “[I]t’s worth noting that now seven of his nine goals have come with Varly in net, and he hasn’t scored for Jose Theodore (who has played about 60% of the total minutes thus far) since opening night.”
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