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Tuesday Roundup / 'Canes 5, Caps 0 / Gamenight: Caps @ Thrashers

[AP Recap - Game Summary - Super Stats - AP Preview - WashingtonCaps.com Pregame (coming soon)]

Well, that didn't go quite as we would have hoped did it? I'm a bit pressed for time, so let's make this quick:
  • Let's start with the good - Boyd Gordon won 14 of his 22 faceoffs (62%) and Dave Steckel won 10 of his 15 (67%). Gordo actually owned Rod Brind'Amour, winning 9 of the 13 draws (69%) between the two.
  • Tomas Fleischmann had a much guttier game than we're used to from him.
  • Alex Ovechkin continues to be everywhere and hit everything.
  • There were (admittedly small) stretches where the Caps dominated the game but couldn't convert chances. Cam Ward was fantastic.
  • Tonight's game against Atlanta isn't televised. Now that the good is out of the way...
  • It's amazing that all six defensemen could have off nights on the same night. Actually, I take that back - Jeff Schultz wasn't noticeably atrocious.
  • A team-leading 23:25 of ice time is way too much for Brian Pothier to handle. Didn't we learn this lesson last year?
  • If the Caps are stuck icing a team that's heavy on the supposed bangers, they should at least, you know, bang. When Nicklas Backstrom, Michael Nylander and Flash total as many credited hits as Brian Sutherby, Matt Bradley, Matt Pettinger and Donald Brashear combined, there's something very wrong happening (and yes, I know the relative ice times and general silliness of hits as a stat, but the point is that the Caps were badly out-hit and out-worked).
  • Speaking of stats that are laughable in their subjectiveness, the Caps were only dinged with four giveaways. I'll take the over.
  • I thought Ovechkin's boarding penalty was more dangerous than the hit for which they tossed Brash.
  • The penalty kill was both overworked and pourous. The obvious problem there is ineffectiveness - 4-for-7 is horrendous; the less obvious problem is how the lack of discipline limits and/or changes the ice time for the skill forwards (granted, the penalty killers did their best to mitigate that by allowing goals four and eighteen seconds into first period 'Canes power plays).
  • Olie Kolzig lost his focus and temper in the third, but he didn't have a terrible game. He had no chance on at least the first three goals (and on one shot that he somehow did make the save on), but his best work may have been a save on Brashear or on a 'Canes one-timer from the slot after a beautiful feed by Brian Pothier.
  • I've used "atrocious," "awful," and "horrendous" in these notes. Yeah, it was that bad.
  • Finally, was it just me or were the Carolina players smiling and laughing a bit too much for your liking too?
So the Caps will try again Tuesday night in Atlanta. Brent Johnson will, in all likelihood, be between the pipes, and he'll bring with him to Hotlanta a 7-2-1 record with a 2.36 GAA and .916 save percentage lifetime against the Thrash. Alex Ovechkin has also had tremendous success against Atlanta, with more goals (14) and points (29) than he has against any other opponent for his career. But it will likely take 19 guys playing hard for 60 minutes for the Caps to end their current four-game slide... and climb back out of the Southeast cellar.

Why The Thrashers Will Win:
"The defense has settled down after a brutal start and the offense and has really come to life. Since Waddell took over the team's power play is scoring on 20% of their opportunities. And because Ilya Kovalchuk will get his 3rd hat trick in three games." - Do The Thrashers Have Large Talons?

"The Thrashers will win because not only do we have the best Russian player in the league in Ilya "hat trick" Kovalchuk, but also because rumors have it that Superman has started wearing Kovalchuk pajamas. Also, Kovalchuk has reportedly killed Chuck Norris." - Talking Thrash

"The Thrashers will beat the Capitals on Tuesday night because so far this season Ilya Kovalchuk is better than Alex Ovechkin. Ilya Kovalchuk is playing like a man possessed- he's shooting the lights out, playing well in his own end (he's even on a team that has been outscored 31-23 at even strength) and he's the heart and soul of this team. He's having the most fun of his career, and when Ilya has fun the other team usually loses." - Blueland Blog

"The Thrashers are playing with new life and a new belief that no deficit is too great to overcome. The Caps have already started their yearly fizzle as evident is that shut-out loss against the 'Canes on Monday. It might be close until the third, but the Thrash will pull it out in the end thanks to the continued playmaking of Ilya Kolvachuk. Alex Ovechkin and his Capital buddies should prepare themselves for a night of "Ko-vy, Ko-vy Ko-vy" chants because this Battle of the Russian Superstars won't be close." - Southeast Shootout

"Ok, so the reasons the Thrashers will beat the Capitals: Marian Hossa is due -- he can't suck forever. The defense is calming down. Ondrej Pavelec is the next Ken Dryden (or at least the next Phil Myre).

"But most of all, because Brian Pothier is a double agent, ready to emerge after four years of deep cover." - The Post-Pessimist Association
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

McKeen's has released its ranking of the top 30 prospects for the 2008 Entry Draft.... Monday power rankings are out with the Caps at 28th, 28th and (gulp!) 30th.

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Cory Stillman (3G, including the game-winner, A, +2)
  • Ross: Cory Stillman (4 points)
  • Norris: Sergei Zubov (3A, +3)
  • Vezina: Henrik Lundqvist (30-save shutout win)
  • Richard: Cory Stillman (3G)
  • Calder: Chris Conner (G, +1)
  • Aiken: Martin Brodeur (L, 5 goals allowed on 24 shots against in 43:28 of work)