Saturday Roundup/'Canes 4, Caps 3/Gamenight: Caps @ Cats

[AP Recap - Game Summary - Super Stats - AP Preview - WashingtonCaps.com Preview]

On Friday afternoon, Ted Leonsis called out his offense. On Friday night, everyone in white who wasn't wearing the number eight combined for one goal. Guess they're not much into blogs.

Still, there was a lot to like about last night's game, and a lot to dislike. Let's take a look at some of it:
  • Michael Nylander (who now is in sole possession of the worst plus/minus in hockey) won just one of his four faceoffs in the first period, but oh what a win it was, beating Jeff Hamilton clean to set up the Alex Ovechkin goal just two seconds into the Caps' first power play.
  • The Caps got caught with their fourth line and third defensive pairing on the ice against Carolina's top unit and it cost them the first goal of the game.
  • Would it have killed Comcast to show a replay of the apparently controversial Tom Poti delay of game penalty?
  • Speaking of Poti, he had only 26:31 of ice time. I say "only" because even though he lead the team in ice time Friday night, he'd been up over 30 minutes in each of the previous two games. The difference? On Friday night he only had 1:06 (of a possible 9:34) of power-play time. Poti was also the only Cap to finish the game on the good side of the plus/minus ledger (+1).
  • The Caps did an excellent job of protecting the puck, turning it over just six times (three each of giveaways and Carolina takeaways).
  • Quintin Laing had three blocked shots in 5:02 of ice time in the first period. Tomas Fleischmann has two blocked shots in 270:01 of ice time on the season.
  • Bruce Boudreau sure does like his colored shirts, doesn't he?
  • If Brian Pothier was willing to take a hit to make a play, the second 'Canes goal may never have happened. Of course, if they froze the pucks and/or had decent ice in Raleigh, we wouldn't be talking about this right now.
  • Mike Green's curl-and-drag at the end of the second was brilliant, and his goal a split second after the period ended was great. I'm bumping his goal total to 5.5 for the year.
  • Alex Semin came closer to scoring on Olie Kolzig than he did on Cam Ward. That's not good. Of course, Semin's fellow countryman actually did score on Kolzig, but he also put a pair past Ward, so all we're cool there.
  • November is now mercifully over for Viktor Kozlov and Matt Pettinger who combined for one goal in 28 man-games during the month.
  • The Caps are averaging 33.4 shots per game under Bruce Boudreau (which would be good for third-highest average in the NHL over the course of the season) and have topped 30 shots on goal in each of their last eight outings dating back to the previous administration. The goals have to follow, no?
  • Jeff Schultz was minus-three.
  • The special teams were special: 2-for-7 on the power play and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.
Next up, yet another date with the Panthers tonight in Sunrise. That'll make Florida the Caps' opponent in four of their last ten games and all in a 17-day span (in the most recent meeting, the Cats took a 2-1 shootout win home with them from the Verizon Center on Wednesday night).

The Panthers didn't play last night and catch a Caps team playing the second of back-to-back games and their sixth game in nine days. Needless to say, the Caps - who are 2-4-1 on the back ends of games on consecutive days - have a tough challenge facing them tonight. But then again, they have a tough challenge facing them every night this season, don't they?

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

Despite sagging ratings, Hockey Night In Canada is doing their take on the "hockey bloggers with access" story. The good folks at CBC interviewed a handful of local blogging types during Wednesday night's Caps game, yours truly among them, and presumably will run the segment at some point during tonight's coverage - because if there's anything that can spike ratings, it's my made-for-radio mug.... On this date back in 2000, Calle Johansson notched his 331st assist as a Cap to surpass Scott Stevens for most helpers by a blueliner in franchise history, a mark that still stands today (and is in absolutely no danger of being challenged any time soon - Steve Eminger's 36 lead the current rearguards).... Howard Fendrich has penned, err, typed a nice profile of Gabby.... NHL Tournament of Logos takes a shot at rebranding the Caps.... Finally, I'm on Ice Sheet duty over at FanHouse, so be sure to head over there and check out what you might have missed last night while you were pondering whether Dennis Seidenberg's slash to Alex Semin's leg was as bad as Semin made it look (he's apparently okay, by the way).

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Dustin Byfuglien (3G, A, +1, 5 SOG, 5 hits)
  • Ross: Zach Parise, Dustin Byfuglien (4 points each)
  • Norris: Dustin Byfuglien (3G, A, +1, 5 SOG, 5 hits)
  • Vezina: Martin Brodeur (27-save shutout win)
  • Richard: Zach Parise, Dustin Byfuglien (3G each)
  • Calder: Jonathan Toews (Game-winning goal, 2A,
  • Aiken: Ilya Bryzgalov (L, 5 goals allowed on 7 shots against in just 10:30 of work)


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