Leafs-Caps post game thoughts

This is probably the most frustrating kind of loss. It’s when you can see everything coming from a mile away and yet, for some reason, the team you’re rooting for can not. It felt good when the Caps had a 4-1 lead in the 3rd period but I remembered what happened the last time we played the Leafs where we choked that away. It didn’t help that Washington’s play in their own zone was terrible and the only reason it was 4-1 was because the Leafs weren’t taking advantage of our mistakes. Then I thought to myself that it would be a good test to see how Scott Hannan would play since Boudreau was using him and Poti a lot tonight. (Injury to Jeff Schultz had a lot to do with it) Those two don’t come into play until later.

Third period started with Mikhail Grabovski scoring five minutes in. Then despite some shaky work on the PK, the Caps held the Leafs off the scoreboard until there were less than 4 minutes left in the game where Tim Brent tapped in a Tomas Kaberle slapshot. That was due to some poor net coverage by Karl Alzner and John Carlson. Then I think to myself that we should keep pressing and keep the Leafs from getting any momentum. That didn’t happen. Some terrible net coverage by Tom Poti allowed Clark Macarthur to get wide open next to the net and score the game tying goal with less than a minute.

Like I said, all of these things I saw coming. The defense and penalty kill weren’t playing well and Michal Neuvirth was the only thing keeping us in the game for awhile. He can’t do it forever. I don’t know what Poti was thinking leaving Macaruthur wide open or where Scott Hannan was on that play but I had a feeling it was coming. Why am I getting so bent out of shape over one game you ask? Because stuff like this has been happening ALL SEASON and it’s going unnoticed because we’re winning. I am not trying to be “the pessimistic fan” but I don’t see how we can expect to go further than the 2nd round if we keep playing like this. It’s becoming frustrating because it’s happened with a lot of games in the last few weeks. Last week after the Blues game, I praised Boudreau for preparing well against St. Louis. This time, I am going to scrutinize him for the defensive play because I didn’t notice any adjustments the entire game despite the defensive corps as a whole playing terrible. Like I said, I’m not saying the sky is falling but watching the same shit game after game is getting old. Fast.

Hopefully I never have to write a rant like that again. Let’s break down some positive and negatives about this game.

– Mathieu Perrault had another impressive game but I’m not fully on the bandwagon for him like I was before. He is known for making the most of his first game after a call-up but fading away after that. Hopefully he breaks that trend now that he has a chance to stay on the team for good.

– Guess who was on ice for all but one of the Leafs goals? Karl Alzner and John Carlson. Ouch.

– The good news is the powerplay connected again tonight and Mike Knuble is steadily improving. Just keep him on the top line and the powerplay and the goals will come to him like they are now.

– Scott Hannan is going to get a big chance to make an impact the next month or so because Jeff Schultz broke his finger and will be out 4-6 weeks. I could see Hannan being paired with Green since he did get big minutes in Colorado and he could help clean up some of #52’s messes. It’s worth a shot.

– Speaking of Green, on ice for zero goals against, at least that’s something.

– Keith Auile for the Leafs had a very impressive game. Especially since he was up against the top line on some instances.

– DJ King vs. Colton Orr was just about what I expected to be. A very good scrap between these two.

– Great night at the faceoff circle for Nicklas Backstrom and Boyd Gordon. Wish I could say the same about Perrault and Johansson.

– Mikhail Grabovski’s shootout goal will be seen on high lights for a long time.

Anyway, as I said earlier, I hope I don’t have to write a rant like that again for awhile. You’d think it would come about the Panthers before the Caps but I do not want another season ending in a dead end.

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