This morning we pointed to an article noting that Jose Theodore was leading the League in goal support (i.e. the goals his team provides for him per start), and that his record really ought to be better than it is, given that backing.
Well, tonight he stole one for his teammates, stopping 44 of the 46 Detroit shots he faced (including all ten power play shots) and keeping the Caps in the game long enough for the offense to show up... and skate off with a 3-2 win. Theodore also picked up an assist (his first since February 5 of last year), and was about as easy a first star selection as one could imagine. In his last four appearances, he's 4-0-0 with a 1.68 goals against average and .951 save percentage. Yeah, he's feelin' it.
Ten more notes on the game:
- Not only were the 46 shots allowed a season high for the Caps, but the 23 shots for were the second-lowest total of the season, just one better than Sunday's 22-shot effort (which followed up a 24-shot outing against the Leafs). Where have all the shooters gone?
- Seriously - Alex Ovechkin didn't register a single shot on goal tonight for the first time since October 8, 2007 and only the third time in his career. Yeah, I suppose Nicklas Lidstrom is pretty good.
Nicklas Backstrom scored on the Caps' first power play shot of the game, which might be impressive if it wasn't 35 seconds into the team's fourth extra-man opportunity of the night, after three full failed two-minute chances.
- Despite the primary assist on the game-winner, Alexander Semin may have been the Caps' worst forward tonight, turning over the puck in his own zone moments before the Brian Rafalski goal and getting absolutely hammered in Corsi on the evening.
- The dynamic Detroit duo of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg was held off the scoresheet entirely, in part due to luck, but also in part due to Tom Poti, who was out against the pair more than any other Cap and played 5:59 for a penalty kill that didn't yield a goal.
- What a night for
secondary tertiaryquaternary scoring, with Matt Bradley scoring on a beautiful feed from Boyd Gordon and David Steckel redirecting the game-winner past Chris Osgood.
Karl Alzner returned to the lineup and was quietly plus-one on the night with an assist. He made a bad decision on a pinch relatively early on, but better to make those mistakes and learn from them here than in Hershey, for my money.
- Mike Green led the Caps in blocked shots with a whopping seven. He also extended his point streak to nine games and was on the ice for two goals for and one against.
- Remember when Todd Bertuzzi was good? Yeah, me neither.
- Back to Steckel - his plus-two rating and six hits each were team highs, and his goal was a thing of beauty. It's on nights like this that you can see him as a third-line center, matching up with some of the Conference's other big (in minutes and size) pivots.
And now, forty-eight hours after facing a team that has been in each of the last two Cup Finals - Detroit - the Caps will face... a team that has been in each of the last two Cup Finals - Pittsburgh. Something tells me that the energy and jump that was lacking for the Caps early in this one will be there in spades on Thursday night. At least, it had better be.