It's said the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior but, even with that and Jose Theodore's recent history in mind, we're willing to bet more than a few Caps fans were a little anxious about the netminder playing his third game in four days, after having put up an .843 save percentage and 4.90 goals against average in his last two and being pulled Monday night. But Theo, as he's done so many times this season, rebounded well and stopped everything the Panthers threw at him, notching his second shutout of the season in the process.
Of course, Theodore also benefited from a resurgent Capitals blue line led by Tom Poti, who had a bounce-back game of his own. After bearing the brunt of the responsibility for three of Atlanta's five Monday night goals, Poti played a very defensively sound game against Florida's top line and blocked an impressive seven shots, 64% as many as the entire Panthers team. But in reality, Poti was just the impressive on an entire blueline corps deserving of accolades after helping to hold the Panther to nineteen shots.
Some additional thoughts on last night's game:
- Call them "F Street", "The F Bombers", "Triple F", or whatever else you like, that Eric Fehr, Tomas Fleischmann, Sergei Fedorov line is good, in part because it's a rare true instance of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
- Alexander Ovechkin has the streak-down-the-wing-cut-to-the-middle-and-shoot-through-the-defender move, Alexander Semin has the curl-and-drag, Mark Messier has shooting off the wrong foot, and Brooks Laich is one goal away from making "lose the puck with no one around you to draw the goalie out of position" his signature move. Kidding aside, I'll put the over/under on how many times the average Caps fan can watch the goal without getting tired of it at fourteen.
- Pick 'Em of the day: what's more embarrassing, getting beaten by Arron Asham (a la Jeff Schultz) or getting beaten by Nick Tarnasky (a la John Erskine)?
- Panthers Head Coach Pete DeBoer apparently said his team didn't have a single good faceoff man, and it showed - every Capital who took more than one draw was better than fifty percent on the night. Except Michael Nylander, who was two-for-eight.
- Alexander Semin's second period hit on Gregory Campbell was a lot of things. But interference wasn't one of them.
- "Have you met the triplets?" is the new "Saved by Zero".
- The hit of the night has to go to Jeff Schultz on a David Booth drive to the net that ended with Booth looking like he'd hit a brick wall. Still doesn't make up for Sarge's turnover at the Panthers blue line later in the second, though.
- Steve Eminger could still be a valuable player for the Capitals.
- True or false? Tom Poti is to John Erskine as Karl Alzner
iswas to Milan Jurcina.
- Nicklas Backstrom needs a haircut. For serious.
Twenty-four hours ago we Caps fans were frustrated, confused, even angry at the team for their performance Monday night. Funny how much just one game, played with energy, sound fundamentals, and teamwork, softens the blow of a bad loss. Even if it means the boys still lost a team wearing this abomination of a uniform.