There's a reason a phrase like "the most important shift is the one right after a goal is scored" becomes cliché - because it's true. After surrendering the game's first goal to Buffalo's Drew Stafford early in the second period, the Caps seemed to lose focus and found themselves in a 2-0 hole just eleven seconds later (similar to the last home game, eh?).
But the Caps got better as the game went on - to be expected with so many veterans making their pre-season debuts. Better, but not good enough.
Ten notes on the game:
- The big number on the night? 13:00. The small number? 3. Those numbers represent the time the Caps spent on the power play on the night and the number of power-play shots they had, respectively. Not good, even if today was the first time the team practiced the power play.
- John Erskine had a typical sandpapery game, including a big, clean hit on Jeff Cowan that prompted Paul Gaustad to seek revenge. I'll ask yet again - where's this stuff in "The Code"™.
- Jose Theodore was much better than he was in the last game he started, and played well enough to win.
- No Brooks Laich, no win. Know Brooks Laich, know win.
- Due to the amount of time the Caps spent playing with the extra man, it's no surprise that Alex Ovechkin (10:41 of PP TOI) and Mike Green (10:24) had high average shift lengths, but 1:16 and 1:12, respectively, is still awfully high.
- Speaking of Green, he's, um, not quite in mid-season form yet (peanut gallery: "No, that was post-season form"). No shots on goals, three giveaways and a minus-two rating. Time to focus, GreenLife52.
- The top line sure has some nice chemistry, with Mike Knuble nearly scoring at least a couple of goals.
Karl Alzner's minus-2 couldn't have helped his cause. Alexandre Giroux's lack of NHL-caliber skills can't be helping his.
- Jeff Schultz was second on the team in shots on goal with three and led the team (tied with Jay Beagle) with four hits. He may not be here "to impress the fans," but the smart ones took notice, as they always do.
- Chris Bourque failed to cash in on a couple of quality scoring chances. If his name was Chris Smith, would the world care?
The Caps, as a team, were not good on Monday night. Individual Caps for whom the game mattered most were not particularly good either. But it's hard to get worked up over this loss. Unless, that is, you're packing your bags for Hershey when you get back to your apartment.