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Thursday Roundup/Thrash 3, Caps 2 (SO)

[AP Recap - Game Summary - Super Stats]

Isn't Kari Lehtonen about due for a groin pull?

With his shootout win last night, the Finnish netminder has now won his last two starts against the Caps in dominant fashion, with a GAA under one and a save percentage of .974 (to say nothing of that pass to spring Marian Hossa). Without question, he was the difference in a game that the Caps dominated for stretches at a time. Some thoughts on the game:
  • All eyes immediately turn to the Tom Poti injury which, if I'm not mistaken, was not mentioned by the boys in the booth.
  • That game was vintage Olie Kolzig, with a handful of great stops and brilliant positioning (forget about the sideshow junk that ended the game).
  • Mike Green played 33:07, had a beauty assist on the Alex Ovechkin goal, and was plus-two for the game. But man, did he miss a golden opportunity on an unreal Alex Semin cross-ice pass late.
  • How can you have a shootout in which neither Ovechkin nor Viktor Kozlov gets an attempt?
  • Speaking of questionable coaching in the shootout, as KB noted, it's a shame that Joe Benanati knew what Eric Perrin was going to do but no one on the Caps seemed to.
  • Faceoffs were an atrocious 35% successful. This team might need to go get a second-line center if they want to make the playoffs. An-toine Ver-mette (clap clap clap-clap-clap).
  • Nicklas Backstrom - at what point can we use the word "great"? Now? Cool. He's got great vision and is a great passer (and also was great at losing faceoffs last night - 24%? Ouch). Great player? I'll hold out a little longer, but not much.
  • At some point, the power play will stop trying to be so damn cute... you'd hope.
So a four-point game turned into a two-point game thanks to Red Jesus, and the boys will be back at it on Friday night in South Beach. With three goals in their last three intra-divisional games (all three losses), the Caps will need to start lighting the lamp more frequently, and soon.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

Happy 33rd Birthday, Viktor Kozlov.... Caps love from The Maven.... Green love from up north.... Aside from the plagarism here, the underlying idea is pretty cool, and would be great for the NHL to try.... Allan Muir notes something about Jeff Halpern that Caps fans have known forever.... Finally, one year ago today we sent a Valentine to a very special someone, accepted one on AO's behalf and watched a little CourtTV.

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Ryan Miller (35-save shutout win)
  • Ross: 12 players tied with 2 points each
  • Norris: Brent Seabrook (G, A, +2, 5 SOG, 3 hits)
  • Vezina: Ryan Miller (35-save shutout win)
  • Richard: Dustin Byfuglien (2G)
  • Calder: Nicklas Backstrom (2A, +1, 3 SOG)
  • Aiken: Pascal Leclaire (1 goal allowed on 3 shots against in just 4:50 of work)