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Sunday Roundup/Devils 6, Caps 5 (SO)

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[AP Recap - Game Summary - Event Summary - Postgame]

On Saturday night, the Caps fought back to tie the Devils at one, three, four and five goals apiece, but ultimately couldn't take the lead when it mattered most as they fell to Jersey in the shootout.

Still, with three out of four points secured this weekend and a 7-1-2 record in their last ten games, the Caps have much to feel good about heading out on a West Coast swing later this week. Some particulars on last night's game:
  • Um, yeah. Nicklas Backstrom's and Alex Ovechkin's slumps are very much officially over. Nick now has 12 points in his last five games and AO now has 13 points in his last six (goals in each of his last four). Backstrom is now plus-eleven on the campaign and Ovi is tied with Alex Semin for the League lead at plus-20.
  • More on Ovechkin: he fired a monstrous 12 shots on goal (one of which dented opposing netminder Scott Clemmensen's mask) and had another eight that he either attempted or had blocked or went wide of the net. Not surprisingly, for the second straight game he had the team's best Corsi Rating, with linemates Backstrom and Viktor Kozlov right there with him.
  • Also not surprisingly, Chris Clark had the worst CR on the team for the third time in the last four games and was a minus-two on the night. I know you can't tell too much from a single game's CR, but The Captain hasn't had a positive rating in seven games. He flat out stinks right now.
  • Tomas Fleischmann showed some nifty moves, but only at one end of the ice - he was another minus-two player, along with Michael Nylander.
  • Boyd Gordon in the shootout? Seriously?
  • No goalie with a .833 save percentage can be said to have had a terribly good night, but Jose Theodore did make some outstanding saves and probably deserved better than what he got from the defense in front of him (and the forwards didn't uphold their end of the bargain in their own zone either).
  • The power play is heading back towards respectability on the season and has scored in each of the last three games and is five-for-14 (35.7%) in its last five games. The PK also seems to be settling in, as it has been between 80% and 82.1% effective on the season for the last eight games. A graphical look at those trends (both of which, mind you, have been on an uptick without key special teams contributor Sergei Fedorov in the lineup):

  • The Caps allowed another first-shot-against goal (the fifth such tally) and an early second-period strike as well. C'mon, boys... focus!
So a stretch of seven games in a dozen days concludes with the Caps picking up five wins and twelve points on the heels of that blowout loss to Buffalo. Now the team gets a couple of days off to rest, recover, re-focus and reload for a tough trip westward. Four games, eight points - I'd think coming home with five points would have to be considered a success, no?

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

Rumor has it the 'Hawks turned down a Nylander trade offer from the Caps (and their interest in him may have cooled off... I wonder why).... This isn't hockey-related (other than that it appears on a hockey blog, but is undeniably bad ass.