Tuesday Roundup/Caps 6, Pens 5 (SO)

[AP Recap (coming soon) - Game Summary - Super Stats]

Clearly I was off the mark when I thought that Bruce Boudreau had gone to Plan B (i.e. playing the hot goalie). Rather than playing Brent Johnson (who didn't have a chance on any of the three pucks that Florida put past him in Saturday night's win), Boudreau came back with Olie Kolzig and just 4:30 into the first period, Kolzig spotted the Pens a goal when his positioning at his left post was, um, less than perfect.

I don't mean to beat a dead horse here, but there isn't a goalie in the entire NHL whose save percentage (in significant minutes) has taken a bigger fall over last season's mark than has Kolzig's (and that was before last night). On the other hand, Johnny's save percentage has improved more since last year than all but eight netminders and his goals against average is up more than all but four other goalies (granted, he had plenty of room for improvement in both categories). Point being, whether or not Boudreau has gone to Plan B yet, it can only be a matter of time before he does - and the sooner he does, probably the better.

That said, helluva win, eh? Some thoughts on the game:
  • If you don't love Quintin Laing, stop reading this blog and leave now. Seriously.
  • Evgeni Malkin was absolutely brilliant in nearly every way, and I think I got my answer as to what kind of #1 center he is on his own. But to suggest that he's as physical a player as Alex Ovechkin is silly (the late first period collision between the two notwithstanding - and, fyi, this is how it's done, Ovie). To date, Alex has 129 hits. Malkin has 21.
  • The Caps displayed a ridiculous (and uncharacteristic) lack of discipline, including a pair of lazy Alex Semin stick fouls and offensive zone hooks by Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Laich and a killer by Matt Bradley negating a go-ahead goal.
  • The penalty killing - prior to overtime - left a lot to be desired.
  • Milan Jurcina had a strong game, as did his fellow countryman Tomas Fleischman. Could Flash actually be developing into a legit top-six winger?
  • Speaking of Internationals, Russian-born players accounted for six goals, six assists and two shootout tallies on the night.
  • Backstrom has eight points in his last two games, which is more points than Ovechkin or Malkin have ever scored in back-to-back outings. That said, I didn't think he had a particularly good game overall. Neither, for that matter, did Mike Green.
  • "In a pinch [Shaone Morrisonn] probably could have played." The Caps were in 11th place in the Conference and two points out of 14th heading into last night's game in a building they can't win in against an opponent their goalie can't beat. Just out of curiousity, what, exactly, is a "pinch"?
  • In addition to Mo's absence, this team is really feeling the loss of Brian Pothier and approximately 50% of Tom Poti. A depth move to shore up the blueline might be needed.
  • Psst... Bruce... they're called collar stays. Look into 'em.
  • Ovechkin's and Semin's shootout moves were dazzling (as was Jarkko Ruutu's).
  • The Caps won 59% of the faceoffs on the night.
Not to take too much away from a great win, but as Tyler noted to me in an email, "You can play like crap against Scranton and still win." The Caps will need to do a better job against NHL-caliber talent going forward than they did last night, but come April, they're not going to be asking how the Caps got the points they got - they'll be asking how many points they got, and these two sure do help.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

From the "Update on Guys I Don't Miss At All" file, Brian Sutherby is still looking for his first point as a Duck (he's played 19 games for Anaheim).

Daily Awards
  • Coming in the morning


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