The Caps overcame a horrid second period to defeat a weak Islanders team 5-2, securing a victory for Bruce Boudreau against the last Eastern Conference team against whom he did not yet have one along the way.
A few thoughts on the game:
- If you were at the game and paid good money to sit at the end of the ice that the Caps defend in the first and third periods, you probably deserve a refund. Forty-eight of the game's 76 shots on goal fired and six of the game's seven goals were scored at the opposite end of the rink.
- You might assume that last night was Milan Jurcina's first career two-point night, but you'd be very wrong - he had back-to-back two-goal games back in January of 2006. So. Much. Promise.
Keith Aucoin "couldn't settle the puck down on [his] breakaway." No ice issue here.
- Congrats to Karl Alzner on his first NHL point, a smart assist on a puck he intentionally shot wide of the net and off the end board that Donald Brashear converted after shrugging Doug Weight aside. King Karl also led the team in shifts (32) and ice time (20:16, which indicates remarkable distribution up and down the roster).
- There's a line in Full Metal Jacket where Gunnery Sergeant Hartman describes Private Pyle's obstacle-climbing style (you know the line). For some reason, it comes to mind every time I see Sami Lepisto try to take the puck out from behind his own net.
Alex Ovechkin attempted 15 shots, 11 of which were on goal. When you saw him scheduled to be skating with the Swedes, you knew he'd be letting 'em rip from any and everywhere. Still, Alex looked somewhat frustrated and more interested in getting even with Tim (Rick? Barret? Hugh?) Jackman than skating at times (note to Matt Bradley: this is where you come in).
- Nice hands by Eric Fehr on the coffin nail goal, and good work by Brooks Laich in front of the net (why does it feel like a month since I've thought that?).
- With a massive 35-18 edge in even strength shots on goal, you'd expect some big Corsi numbers, and you've got 'em - seven Caps skaters in double digits on the plus side, and Andy Sutton with a ridiculous minus-20 rating all to himself for the Isles.
- Speaking of Sutton, it's good to see that he's still embarrassing himself on a nightly basis, not only with his defense, but with his embellishment of the hit that sent AO to the box for the second time on the night.
- Nicklas Backstrom won 11 of his 16 faceoffs? F'real?
- Jurcina and Bryan Helmer were the only Caps without a shot on goal.
- How about a little love for Boyd Gordon? The penalty kill was very good (7-for-8) and needed to be (the Caps were shorthanded for 10:53, or % of the game), and that was in large part due to Gordo's team-high 6:16 on the kill (though he did win only two of seven defensive zone draws on the night).
- I didn't notice Shaone Morrisonn much, which has turned into a sign that he has had a good game. He's becoming an offensive lineman in that respect.
So the Caps snag two crucial points (and on a night where the 'Canes got blasted by Pittsburgh) and head north to tangle with Toronto - hopefully, there are a few players on that flight today who weren't on the ice last night.
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
Mike Green: Norris candidate.... AO's lady is in town. Make that "one of" AO's ladies is in town.... Graham Mink apparently enjoyed his time in D.C.... Kostya Kennedy has a man-crush (and we, in turn, have douche chills).