Can anyone out there really say they're all that surprised?
Don't get me wrong, I don't think there's any doubt that Capitals are the more skilled of the two team that played at Verizon Center this afternoon, or any doubt that they'd be the odds-on favorite to win a seven game series or most single-game matchups (especially those played in Washington). But whenever a desperate team plays an uninterested one, the latter's going to have an awfully hard time pulling out a point, let alone a victory. For that reason alone, there's only so much you can evaluate about today's performance from the Capitals, and because of that there's one overriding thought you come away with: Let's not make starts like this one a habit, okay boys?
Ten additional thoughts on this afternoon's game:
- I really wish Quintin Laing was just a little bit better at hockey, because I sure do like watching him play the game.
- The Flames' first goal was a perfect example of how putting an emphasis on hitting can make a defenseman less effective. If John Erskine turns his attention to the play in front of the net rather than trying to nail Rene Bourque, maybe he's there in time to prevent Ales Kotalik from putting the rebound behind Jose Theodore.
- Really rough first period for David Steckel who quit moving his feet on a play that let Jay Bouwmeester get open and score, and then lost Niklas Hagman in front of the net for the Flames fourth goal. Not good for a guy who's supposed to be a defensively responsible grinder. Still, that second period goal was exactly what you want to see from a guy with Steckel's size and, um, skill set.
- For his next game I'd like to politely suggest Eric Belanger put the nine iron back in the golf bag. You know, so some of his shots get on net rather than go screaming over it.
- It was nice to see Mathieu Perreault back in Washington, especially since he seemed to get better as the game went on. Specifically it seemed like Perreault was very cognizant of his size in the early going, shying away from hits and avoiding the more physical areas of the ice, but became more comfortable in the second and third periods - as his goal will attest.
- Jason Chimera was sure playing with a lot of fire after he was boarded by Cory Sarich, which is a great way to see him play.
- Speaking of the Sarich hit - and I'm well aware this may sound like sour grapes comes from a Capitals fan - how that sequence only ends up netting him two minutes in the box (and the five for fighting) is beyond me.
- According to the official stat sheet, the Capitals out-hit the Flames more than three-to-two. I'll just go ahead and say that I politely disagree with that.
- While we're on the topic of the stat sheet: giveaways are a pretty dubious statistic, but when one team is credited with 18 and the other team is credited with four, you can probably make a guess as to which had more to play for.
- With his second period assist, Nicklas Backstom hit 90 points on the season, which makes him just the fifth player in Capitals history to hit that number in single-season scoring. That, like seemingly everything else Backstrom's done this season, is simultaneously good news and bad news. Another milestone for Backstrom? Breaking the franchise record for number of times thrown out of the faceoff circle in one game (note: this may be speculation).
As easy as it is to dismiss a game like this as meaningless - and let's clear, for the Capitals, it is virtually meaningless, there are still aspects of the team's game that need to be worked on. Let's see how Bruce Boudreau gets his guys to come out on Tuesday.