If your regular nine-to-five required you to start work at four o'clock in the morning one day, you'd probably drag a bit, and whether or not the start time of today's game had anything to do with it, the Caps did not look as sharp as they had Friday or Saturday night.
And yet, they won.
I could count on one hand (maybe on zero hands) how many times the Caps won games last year that they had no business winning, but that's exactly what they did today and, frankly, it was sweet. Some thoughts on the game:
- Olie Kolzig was a monster today, making 30 saves, many of them tough ones.
- I never thought I'd say this, but "AO: less passy, more shooty." Alex Ovechkin finished today's game with not one shot on goal (he did attempt or misfire six times). It was the first time since November 23, 2005 that Ovechkin failed to register a shot in a game, and only the second time in his NHL career. His move past Marc-Andre Bergeron in the third, however, was beautiful, and he was hitting everything that moved.
- Speaking of shots on goal, 12-31. Yikes.
- Speaking of yikes, the powerplay was 0-for-6 (though one of those was the four second PP at the end of the game) and looked lifeless, registering only one shot in 8:45 of work with the extra attacker (or attackers). With a few days off now, I would expect it to get a lot of work.
- On the flip side, the penalty kill was perfect yet again, killing all four chances against, including a lengthy 5-on-3.
- As for the penalties, Chris Clark committed two bad ones, both in the neutral zone. Yes, the second one was a cheapie, but you can't have your captain taking bad penalties.
- Michael Nylander is such a wizard with the puck. The game-winning goal was vintage Nyls, a great hard, low shot from Brian Pothier and a good job by Brooks Laich to clean up the trash.
John Erskine has left the door open for Sidney Crosby to catch him in the scoring race. Your move, Captain Crysby.
- Does anyone miss Dainius Zubrus? Even just a little bit? Me neither.
- Boyd Gordon won 13 of his 20 draws and the team finished 29-24 (55%).
- At some point down the road, the need for a right wing who can play sixty minutes on the top line will likely have to be addressed.
- Or will it? Donald Brashear finished the game with a plus-2 rating.
Tom Poti's diving poke-check on the Trent Hunter breakaway was brilliantly executed.
- Finally, keep that champagne on ice at least a little longer, 1972 Miami Dolphins.