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Play twenty minutes and head to Chicago.
Not the gameplan that Bruce Boudreau drew up, to be sure, but the Caps will take those two points and skip town in a hurry. Some quick thoughts on the game:
- You know that in-game "entertainment" at Verizon Center where two fans compete for cheers to determine who butchers a 15-second clip of play-by-play work less? I'm not sure Al Koken would win that promotion more than maybe half the time.
- Alex Ovechkin showing wrap around and passing back short-side to Nicklas Backstrom = money.
- Alex Ovechkin's geometry (and selflessness) = money.
- Alex Ovechkin's shot blocking = nervous.
- I have never in my entire life seen a completely unimpeded player shoot further wide than Donald Brashear did on one first period attempt.
Alex Semin got the "just shoot the damn puck" memo.
Jordin Tootoo's dive into the boards after a Tom Poti love tap was Avery-esque, and the late tripping call on Matt Cooke was junk.
- Sami Lepisto is over-matched right now.
- Cristobal Huet is not.
- The turquoise tank top on the blonde behind the Caps' bench nearly was.
- Can Sergei Fedorov play 20 minutes in the first of back-to-backs in March and have anything left for the second game? We'll find out.
- Speaking of older Russians, Viktor Kozlov was a dog out there last night. Hopefully he was saving himself for the 'Hawks.
- The Caps missed David Steckel, as they were dominated in the faceoff circle (though Boyd Gordon did win 64% of his draws).
- The ice at the Sommet Center appeared to be a bit choppy. Unrelated - Sommet is pronounced So-may? Really?
So it's off to Chicago, where the Blackhawks have to win out to make the playoffs (good luck with that), the Caps will look for another two points, Nicklas Backstrom will look to prove himself against two of his top Calder competitors, and Alex Ovechkin will look to score his 59th goal of the season - which would (completing the loop on Chicago) be more goals than Bobby Hull ever scored in a campaign.
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
In light of Vesa Toskala's one goal allowed last night, there's a great "Best of the Worst" compilation over at PPP... Finally, one year ago today we recapped a huge Caps win that featured a four-point game by Tomas Fleischmann (which is as many points as he has in 11 games since February 15).
Hart: Alexander Ovechkin (G, 2A, +2, 4 SOG, 2 Hits, 3 BkS
Ross: Alexander Ovechkin, Shane Doan, Rick Nash, Sam Gagner, Derek Morris, Ales Hemsky, Tom Gilbert (3 points each)
Norris: Derek Morris (G, 2A)
Vezina: Brian Boucher (W, 29 saves on 30 shots against)
Richard: Sean Avery, Curtis Glencross, Manny Malhotra (2G each)
Calder: Sam Gagner (G, 2A, 4 SOG)
- Aiken: Ilya Bryzgalov (3 goals allowed on 11 shots against in just one period of work)