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Lightning 3, Capitals 2 (OT)

Every once in a while there are games that would appear from the date or the standings or some other traditional barometer of importance to be relatively meaningless but which, for varying reasons, carry with them the intensity usually reserved for only the most crucial of tilts. Announcers, analysts and writers are contractually-bound to refer to these games as having "playoff-like atmospheres," and the fans lucky enough to be in attendance for these battles spend the night on the edge of their seats with elevated heart rates screaming themselves hoarse.

Last night's game was not one of those games.

The Caps dropped a 3-2 game to the Lightning in front of just over 8,000, and, as Dave Fay put it, the loss "looked familiar," rife with bad penalties, an ineffective powerplay and mediocre penalty-killing (though mediocre penalty-killing may actually be a step up for this squad).

A quick run-down of what I liked and what I didn't from last night (and for more, check out this thread from the Caps message board recapping the game):
  • Alex Semin looked good, though at times tried to dance with the puck too much in his own zone. His goal was a beautiful shot, and he was actually 4-for-7 in the faceoff dot - pretty impressive, especially for a winger. He also went face-first into the boards and lay on the ice for a few minutes for the scary moment of the night. The way that kid plays, he could get killed on any given shift.
  • Olie Kolzig looked very sharp, for the most part.
  • Ben Clymer was solid if not spectacular on D, catching up to a few partial breakaways from behind and playing Vinny Lecavalier well in a 1-v-1 situation. He did, however, fail to tie up the man in front on Tampa's first goal.
  • I like Mike Green. A lot.
  • Kris Beech made a couple of nice passes that were not converted.
  • Richard Zednik is just as disappointing as when he left, showing nothing over sixty minutes except a propensity to be out of position and in other people's way.
  • Brian Pothier looked mediocre, especially when he kicked Tampa's second goal into his own net. Remember all the good bounces you got in Ottawa, Brian? Don't expect 'em here.
  • The faceoffs were pretty bad and will continue to be so all year, I fear. Other than Semin's win percentage, the one brightspot in the faceoff dot was the Brooks Laich draw win that led to the Semin goal.
  • Eric Fehr looked terrible, failing multiple times to clear the puck out of the defensive zone on set plays and taking two bad penalties.
  • Rico Fata and Matt Bradley are just taking up space at this point.
  • Finally, the biggest ovation of the night may have gone up when the Arena showed some Asian kid doing The Robot (among other killer moves), further confirming what I've noted before: Caps fans love dancing Asians.

That's pretty much all I've got for now, though I feel I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that the Lightning dressed a guy (Mitch Fritz) who is listed at 6'8", 258 and looks even bigger - an absolute mountain of a man.