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Friday Roundup/Caps 4, Stars 3

[NHL.com Recap - WashingtonCaps.com Postgame Coverage]

Was there ever any doubt? Check Washington Hockey Daily for all your recaps of the Caps' 4-3 win over the Stars, but I had a couple of impressions that I'll share here:

  • Given the ice time, Jakub Klepis can look like an NHL-caliber center for long stretches of time. Maintaining a high level of concentration and effort may be a constant struggle for him, however.
  • John Erskine was very solid on the blueline yet again, with perhaps his best play of the night coming on a diving sweep-check to poke the puck away from Eric Lindros who was otherwise unabated towards Olie Kolzig. Unfortunately, Erskine took the rarely-called (and inexplicably-stupid) "playing with a broken stick" penalty seconds later.
  • Alex Semin's confidence is back in a big way. Alex Ovechkin's isn't.
  • Secondary scoring, baby - that's two straight games (two straight wins) with four non-AO goals. Consistent secondary scoring = wins.
  • The Caps still gave up waaay too many third period shots and chances, but on the plus side played another very disciplined game.
  • The Caps were gracious hosts to former captain Jeff Halpern, doing all the could to make him feel comfortable - after all, he's used to losing at the Verizon Center, right?
  • Jamie Heward suffered a pretty nasty injury (a skate to the face), so I guess I won't mention how god-awfully he misplayed the puck that led to the first Dallas goal.
  • Stars defenseman Darryl Sydor almost made the worst mistake of his career when he seemed headed for reluctantly challenging The Donald to a fight. Luckily, the two parted ways before the gloves were dropped.
  • Without getting into specifics, Brian Sutherby had a pretty terrible game.
Daily Awards
  • Hart: Marian Hossa (3G, including game-winner, A, +1, 7 SOG)
  • Ross: Marian Hossa, Slava Kozlov, Ladislav Nagy (4 points each)
  • Norris: Zbynek Michalek (G, 2A, +4)
  • Vezina: Kari Lehtonen (36-save shutout win)
  • Richard: Marian Hossa (3G)
  • Calder: Alexandre Picard (PHI) (2A, 5 blocked shots)
  • Aiken: Dan Cloutier* (3 goals allowed on 5 shots against in just 9:26 of work)
* There were many worthy Aiken nominees last night as seven goalies had GAAs over 4.50 for the evening and Eric Brewer and Anze Kopitar were each a woeful -4, but once again Cloutier walks away with the much-coveted award. Congrats, Danny Boy.