Tuesday, October 26, 2010

UGLY, but... The Caps Do It Again; Hurting Leads To Another Call To Hershey

A win that was not pretty, and a point given away to a southeast division rival, made for a nail biting night at Verizon Center on Saturday as the Capitals beat the Atlanta Thrashers 4-3 in overtime. While the game did have its bright spots it was still the exact same kind of "win" I had mentioned in this previous post. While they did get the "W", the devil is in the details.

Once again the Caps came out flat in the 1st period. They were out shot 13-4 in the first frame, and gave up their 4th straight power play goal, allowed the opposition to gain the lead first for the 5th straight game, 6th over all, and were shut out in the first period for the 5th time this season. So it seems so far, the Caps are having major problems getting going in the first period. Fortunately for them (and us their fans) they have, thus far, been able to climb out of those holes to win more often than not. However it still is a fairly unsettling. If this trend continues, it is going to cost them some games, probably more than last season. Games that were won last year that were close, may end up either being losses, or at least going to overtime, giving away more points. Something to watch going forward I think.

The Caps are also still hurting. Out with injuries (or still resting from one) for this game were:

Today the Caps announced that they have called up 29 year old veteran AHL blue liner Brian Fahey, (pictured left) presumably to take Poti's place on at least part of the upcoming road trip. Fahey played in his first NHL game on October 16th, when the Caps beat the Nashville Predators in Overtime 3-2 in Nashville. Just joining the Hershey Bears this season, he so far has 1 goal, 1 assist and 10 penalty minutes in 4 games played.

Now, on to the bright spots, since there were a few. The Caps won, and are now 3-0 in overtime games so far this season. Alexander Semin saved the Caps this game with his 4th career hat trick. Matthieu Perreault, who was called up from the AHL Hershey Bears for this game, along with Jay Beagle, had a direct hand in two of Semin's 3 goals, and ended up being a +3 for the game. Michael Neuvirth was back between the pipes for DC and had another solid game for his 5th win of the season. Injured defecemen Mike Green came back and did play, albeit for only 5:39, and all of that was on the power play. Even though he did not factor into the scoring at least he was back, even if not at 100%. Hopefully this 3 day break will give him the chance to get back to top form.

Hats fly as Semin completes his hat trick aginst the Thrashers.
The hero of the night turned out to be Tomas Fleischmann who scored the game winner at 1:37 of over time, collecting a rebound from Eric Fehr's shot while seemingly tied up.

While the two standings points and the victory are great, the Capitals are still seeming to do things the hard way, all the while giving up valuable standings points to their opponents. This time to a division rival. Hopefully a few more bodies will be healthy and things will get even better for the next divisional game which is Wednesday night Raleigh. That game also starts a 3 game road trip which sees the Caps travel out west to visit the Minnesota Wild and Calgary Flames to close out the month of October. Something tells me they are going to have to perform a little better if they want to come away with all 6 of those possible standings points.

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