A game that well-played deserved a better ending than the one it got, but such is life in the big leagues (and if that's not the worst lede you've ever read on this site, I'm not sure what is).
Some thoughts on the game:
Jose Theodore continues to impress
everyone other than John Feinstein. He's now 9-3-1/2.03/.925 since getting yanked at MSG on December 23, and made some real ten-bell stops last night. Overall, he has given up one even strength goal in the last 260:29.
- To absolutely no one's surprise, scratching David Steckel didn't help the penalty kill (3-for-5 on the night). Had he played, of course, there's no guarantee that that number would have been any better, but benching a trusted penalty killer on the road against the Conference's best home PP... I dunno.
- And before anyone says, "Yeah, but that would have meant Michael Nylander would've been scratched, and he had a good game," I'd agree with the second part before asking "Why?" on the first part. If Chris Clark is going to get the fewest shifts of any skater other than Donald Brashear and isn't going to play on either special teams unit, why does he continue to get a sweater? Throw Boyd Gordon on the right wing and dress Stecks. And on Saturday, against a pretty tame Detroit team, sit Brash and play Eric Fehr. That's my two cents, at least.
- Tomas Fleischmann had a strong game, highlighted by his strong move to the net that resulted in the Nylander goal and a great defensive play at the top of the defensive zone on a late Boston power play.
- Karl Alzner got a "career high" 1:16 of power play time. Interesting.
- Speaking of the power play, it was officially 0-for-6, but Mike Green's goal came just a second after Marc Savard's penalty expired, and long before the latter could get into the play. Still, an "unofficial" 1-for-6 is nothing about which to write home, and after some early buzzing, the power play went and hid (not having Alex Ovechkin available for one of them, of course, didn't help).
- And speaking of AO, nine shots on goal, seven hits (and plenty of big ones), and an assist. We all should have similar off nights (and kudos to Dennis Wideman for his work on Ovie).
- One last point on Alex. If his turnover on the Shawn Thornton goal wasn't scored as a giveaway (and it wasn't - Thornton was credited with a takeaway) what the hell is a giveaway? Kinda makes you want to disregard those stats, eh?
- It'll be nice for the Caps to get Nicklas Backstrom back on Saturday after his one-game suspension for bailing on the YoungStars game. Wait, what?
- Tim Thomas showed every bit of why he was an All-Star... and yet, I'm still not sold.
- Brooks Laich had a strong game, but has just one more chance to avoid a goal-less January.
- Good for Byron Bitz for having a dance with The Donald, and even better for him to know to stay in close and weather the storm.