For two periods last night the Caps, thanks mostly to the sparkling goaltending of Maxime Ouellet, were tied with the Flyers. Max had saved 17 of 18 shots and Miroslav Zalesak's power play goal had the two teams tied at one. But just 31 seconds into the third period Flyers rookie Mike Richards scored, a tally that was answered by Brian Sutherby's goal with the extra skater eight minutes later. A Brendan Witt hooking call (Witt? A penalty? No...) half a minute later put Philly a man to the good and Jon Sim scored the goal that put the Flyers ahead to stay. Sim, who had scored the game's first goal, completed the hat trick with under three minutes left and Joni Pitkanen added an empty netter to finish off the Caps (0-3-1) 5-2.
The Caps were once again victimized by penalties at inopportune times, leading Witt to remark that "The game was played one way for 100 years or more, and now they are changing it." Apparently Witt is not taking issue with the shootout, removal of the redline, 4-on-4 overtime, or the advent of the slapshot or goalie masks for that matter. No, the change Witt has a problem with is the enforcement of rules that have been on the books, some for 100 years or more. You see, Witt's real problem is that unskilled, slow defensemen like him can no longer clutch and grab as much as they used to. The Brendan Witts of the NHL are an endangered species. To his credit, Witt seems to recognize this, noting "[y]ou have to learn what you can and can't get away with." He'd better learn fast, because under the new strict-enforcement regime, it is definitely not Brendan Witt's NHL.
Back to the game and, well, there's not much more to say. The shootout sounded exciting, as neither goalie could stop anything and the Caps actually won it. Cheers.
The WaPo's coverage is here, the WTimes' is here. George Solomon also has a blurb on the Caps here in which calls on McPhee and Leonsis to bulk up the blueline:
I know all about Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis's youth program and his $25 million budget, but being outscored, 18-4, in four preseason games, including a 4-0 loss to Buffalo at MCI Wednesday night, doesn't bode well for the upcoming NHL season.
The Caps had nearly 18 months to prepare for the resumption of hockey and owe their fans more than what they've shown. So how about spending some money on acquiring some defensemen to put in front of goalie Olie Kolzig and cut the philosophic manifestos.
Tonight's game: Pittsburgh @ Washington (in Hershey), 5:00 PM.
- Mike Dunham saved 36 of 38 shots for Atlanta as the Thrash beat Carolina 4-2. It was Atlanta's first win and Carolina's first regulation loss of the preseason.
- The Senators pounded the Penguins 6-2 and some guy scored his first career NHL goal.
- Jose Theodore went the distance and made 20 saves in the Candadiens' 3-2 win over Toronto.
- Glen Murray scored twice in his first preseason game to help the Bruins crush the Isles 6-2.
- Speaking of blowouts, Tampa beat in-state rival Florida 5-0 behind (or in front of) a 26-save shutout by Sean Burke.
- Patrick Lalime's 28 saves held off Nashville as the Blues beat the Preds 2-1.
- It was a great night for a pair of Ducks rookies in Vancouver as Corey Perry potted two goals and Ryan Getzlaf had three assists in Anaheim's 4-2 win over the Canucks.
- Former Cap captain Steve Konowalchuk scored in overtime to lift the Avalanche over the Kings 2-1 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but both teams apparently had left their offense at home.
In other news of note around the League:
- I've got nothing. Enjoy the President's Cup and a day of NFL football.