Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sleeping Giant Awakens: Caps Turn Saddledome Into House Of Horrors For Flames: Caps 7-2 Flames

AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh
Even after tinkering with the lines and reuniting the the high powered scoring trio of Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Semin, it once again, it looked like it was going to be a long night for the Washington Capitals and us Caps fans late last night. The Caps took on the Calgary Flames in a game that went well past midnight local time and it appeared as if it may not even be worth staying up so late to watch. Again the Caps allowed the first goal to the opposition, another early goal, this time only 44 seconds into the game, and were down 2-0 by the time the game was barely 11 minutes old. In the first period the Caps once again looked sloppy and lazy, and were lucky to find themselves down by only 2-1 by the end of the first period. Michael Neuvirth, as he very often has been, was once again the reason the Capitals still had a chance to win this game. Even though the Caps lone first period goal came from Nicklas Backstrom on the power play, the same old nagging questions kept entering into many peoples minds about the power play, the top line, Ovechkin, what was wrong..etc. They just seemed off. Not like the Capitals we had come to know over the past few seasons, especially last season.

The Caps came out to start the second period, and looked a bit more energized, composed, and skated with more of a purpose in their step. At just 1:54 the Caps would get a another chance to put the power play to work when the Flames took a bad penalty for too many men on the ice. Just 16 seconds later, the Caps would get the opportunity of the night. They finally took full advantage. Alexander Ovechkin exploded for two goals in just 12 seconds to put the Caps in the lead for the night. The Caps went on to explode for a whopping total of 6 goals in the second period, 7 unanswered in the game, effectively ending the game by the time the horn sounded after the first 40 minutes of play leading by a 7-2 margin which would hold to be the final score. Mike Green and Matt Bradley also scored a mere 13 seconds apart at 10:28 and 10:41 to really break the game wide open. Although Bradley's goal was more of a gift, since he actually didn't score the goal. Calgary defencemen Cory Sarich attempted to clear the puck from high in the slot, but in stead whipped a wrist shot into his own net. It was clear at this point that things were coming apart at the seems for the Flames.  The final Caps goal, and goal of the night came at 18:23 of the period with the Caps shorthanded. David Steckel was held, and hauled down on a breakaway by Flames defencemen Mark Giordano. The offcial raised his arm to make the call and after Steckel had slid  on his stomach almost into the goal, pointed to center ice signaling a penalty shot. It was David Steckel's first career penalty shot and he nailed it. All of the sudden, the Caps once again looked like the offencive juggernaut of last season that we all knew and loved. The Caps got goals from:
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh

  • Nicklas Backstrom - 1 goal, 3 assists, 4pts.
  • Alex Ovechkin - 2 goals,  1 assist, 3 pts
  • Mike Green - 1 goal, 2 assists, 3pts
  • Matt Bradley - 1 goal, 1pt
  • Alexander Semin 1 goal, 1pt
  • David Steckel - 1 goal, 1pt

The Caps power play finally seemed to be clicking, scoring on 3 of 6 chances. They just seemed to be doing everything right, where up until the end of the first period last night the seemed to be doing not much of anything right. Perhaps it was that Boudreau opted for a team meeting to show them just how ugly of a game they had in Minnesota, or perhaps he let the team have it in the locker room between periods. Whatever it was, the Caps need to show the NHL more of it this year. This is only the third game this season where the Caps have won by more than one goal, and only the second where the Caps have scored 4 or more. That said, it was a dramatic improvement, and one that we hope will finally continue. The injury riddled Caps will get a much needed and deserved 3 day rest as they are off until next Wednesday night when the finally return home to Verizon Center to take on their second straight Canadian foe, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

For now, I'll leave you with Bruce Boudreau's post game presser for last night:

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Which team is the Capitals biggest threat in the Southeast division this season?