Imagine a team that combined the astounding offensive skill of the Washington Capitals with the unyielding drive to the net and relentless goal crease presence of the Philadelphia Flyers. Cup worthy, right? Fortunately, just one half of the formula was enough to prevail and, to bollix a phrase from baseball, good hitting beat good pitching tonight. Secondary scoring? Who needs it? I kid.
Ten more notes on the game:
- A fresh sheet of ice set down following last Sunday's Washington International Horse Show made for quite a bouncy puck and some fanned shots. Both Alexander Semin and Shaone Morrisonn had glorious chances to put the Flyers behind very early tonight but, well, you know.
- The reunited top line of 8-19-28 overwhelmed: thirteen shots; 9 points; 4 goals. The second line of Brooks Laich, Mike Knuble, and Brendan Morrison, however, were overwhelmed by Mike Richards' line. And all that hooking to boot.
- José Théodore. Unconscious. The most saves in a game (41) for JT in three years. Left precious few rebounds. Too bad he got run most of the night, and battled constant traffic left largely unchecked. That cannot stand.
- Twenty shots against in the third? At home? My goodness, way to reel 'er in boys.
- For the Caps' part, they made it much easier for Ray Emery, gracing him with plenty of room to see the puck. Even Laich barely skirted the crease on the PP. Guess the team preferred to allow Emery every advantage before letting the Big Four humble him with lightning-fast releases and unstoppable shots.
- Face-off wins for the Caps were back on track: David Steckel was 16 for 27; Morrison 8 for 14; Keith Aucoin 5 for 8. Of course there's Nick Backstrom trailing behind again, going 6 for 16, and losing a key 5-on-3 offensive zone draw that effectively killed 15 seconds of two man advantage time for DC.
- We need more of Steckel crushing a puck carrier along the wall and Matt Bradley grabbing the loose puck to rip a quick shot from the face-off circle, as we saw in the second period. That line sizzled.
- Shaone Morrisonn saved the game early in the third by blocking a cross-crease pass in front of Théodore, turned away from the pass.
- Worst point of the game to allow Darroll Powe to charge unimpeded down the gut and draw a penalty shot. Fortunately, it was Darroll Powe taking the penalty shot.
- Aucoin sure made the most of his 10:29 TOI, didn't he? And still he was on ice for two more minutes and two extra shifts than Captain Chris Clark.
One more point -- we've talked a lot today about team toughness and retaliation for attacks on our stellar corps of heroes. Well, there's, of course, a human price to be paid for such a punishing brand of play. Caps legendary alum Kevin "Killer" Kaminski was hosting the CSN chat in-game tonight, and someone asked the current Mississippi RiverKings head coach: "How is your health?" His response?
"My body HURTS 24/7, besides the two shoulder and lower back operations, and the 651 stitches, two plates and twelve screws holding the right side of face together... my health couldnt be better... but it was all worth it to play for the Caps... a dream come true."