Last night's game was in many ways a mirror image of Friday night's game against the Thrashers, with one team jumping out to a big lead while dominating play and the other team coming back to win. Except, of course, last night it was the Caps that left the arena happy. A few observations:
- Let's get one thing clear: there is not now, nor will there ever be a goalie controversy in Washington as long as Olie Kolzig is still wearing a Caps' sweater. That said, Brent Johnson's flawless work in relief in last night's come-from-behind victory have, in my opinion, earned him the start in Thursday night's game in Carolina. But we'll see how Coach Hanlon plays it, especially since the goals that chased Olie were not necessarily his fault.
- Martin Gerber was fighting the puck all night. Very unimpressive.
- Alex Semin played his best game in weeks, getting primary assists on re-directed shots on the last three Caps' goals and finishing with a +2 rating.
- Alex Ovechkin is pretty good at hockey.
- The Sens played the whole third period simply trying to hang on. It's difficult to win games nowadays playing not to lose rather than playing to win.
- Ottawa came into the game with the League's third-best penalty kill percentage, but the Caps finished the game 2-for-4 on the powerplay and that doesn't include the first Ovechkin goal, scored at the same time a Dany Heatley powerplay expired.
- Brian Sutherby won 7 of the 11 draws (64%) he took against Jason Spezza - exactly what you want from your shutdown center against the opponent's top line.
- Three of the four Caps goals were tip-ins, emphasizing just how important it is to get shots to the net.
- Be a good American - go vote.
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
- It's awfully nice of the Penguins to bring some of their fans with them on their West Coast road trip.
- Sure, it's just one man's opinion, but it's a damn good one:
Hello Mr.Cullen, who are your top three players NOT playing in the NHL right now? Chris, Red Deer
Chris, My top three outside the NHL right now would be:
1. Nicklas Backstrom, Brynas (Sweden), property of Capitals
2. Erik Johnson (U. of Minnesota), property of Blues
3. Jack Johnson (U. of Michigan), property of Kings
Hart: Ilya Kovalchuk (3G, A, 9 SOG)
Ross: Ilya Kovalchuk, Slava Kozlov (4 points)
Norris: Filip Kuba (2G, 3 blocked shots)
Vezina: Brent Johnson (W, 0 goals allowed on 21 shots against in 48:57 of relief)
Richard: Ilya Kovalchuk (3G)
Calder: Alexander Edler (A - first career point, +1
Aiken: Olaf Kolzig (3 goals allowed on 5 shots against in 11:51 of work)