Hey, at least no one got hurt... right?
The Caps, playing their third game in roughly 72 hours (and second in less than 24), looked tired. The 'Canes - who didn't have to travel, but were also playing their third game in four days - looked tired. Unfortunately, the one man on the ice who shouldn't have looked tired having not played a game since Tuesday, looked more exhausted than anyone.
Whether it was a slow recovery after stopping Joni Pitkanen's blast from the point that allowed Ray Whitney to easily deposit the rebound in the first period or allowing a pair of goals on just six shots against while the game was still in doubt in the third, Jose Theodore wasn't as good as he needed to be and was badly outplayed by his counterpart at the other end of the ice, Michael Leighton (who faced 70 shots in two games this weekend and looked sharp throughout, despite the heavy workload... perhaps unsurprisingly).
A few thoughts on the game:
- If the Caps were remotely healthy, they win this game 5-2 or so. But they're not, and they didn't.
Nicklas Backstrom's goal may have been the nicest shot of his career, ripping a one-timer home on the power play. We'd all love to see more of this from Nick (and less of the drop passes in the defensive zone like the one that led to the first Carolina goal).
- Sami Lepisto continues to struggle. Somehow he wasn't credited with a single giveaway. Then again, as I'm typing this, the official score sheet still doesn't have him as being on the ice for the second goal on which he was manhandled by the mighty Sergei Samsonov behind the net (where was the help, by the way?), so apparently we can add the official scorer to the list of the exhausted.
- The Caps were positively slaughtered in the faceoff circle, losing 63% of the game's draws, including 86% while shorthanded and 75% in the defensive zone. Damn you, Rod Brind'Amour.
- The Caps got a ton of shots on goal, and from decent spots on the ice, but couldn't solve Leighton at even strength. Viktor Kozlov's chance off a nice Backstrom drop pass in deep may have been the best of the night, but Kozzy shot it over the net.
- Why the deuce can't Alex Ovechkin score on penalty shots?
- Donald Brashear had a great game, registering six hits and two shots on goal in less than ten minutes of ice time. Still, I was hoping to see him drop the mittens with Tim Clownboy.
- Karl Alzner led the team in non-PP ice time (again). Those are hard minutes, and he's certainly handling them now.
Unfortunately for the Caps, the relatively soft Columbus/Florida/Islanders/Leafs/'Canes portion of the schedule is now over, and the Caps have four points to show for it. With the Bruins looming on Wednesday, things could get ugly if the Caps don't get healthy, and fast. One thing is fairly certain, though - Jose Theodore will likely be the least tired Cap in the locker room following that game.
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
Karl Alzner's first week or so in the NHL is profiled by the CP.... Here's that Hockey Night In Canada piece on Bruce Boudreau and John Anderson that we were talking about in Saturday night's open thread.... Dale Hunter is Pierre LeBrun's Number One "Player you love to hate." Personally, I might go with the fourth guy on his list for missing that empty net against Detroit.... TSN.ca takes an in-depth look at the Caps' top prospects.... New feature alert! "Cap of the Day" - be sure to check in daily and leave your memories of these names from the past.