Panthers-Caps recap

Definitely one of the least entertaining Caps games in awhile that resulted in a win. Can’t complain about the final result, though. Both Florida and Washington had a similar tactic for shutting down each other. Contain them in the neutral zone and prevent them from getting any momentum offensively. That’s pretty much what most of this game was. Shots even at 27 a piece and not a lot of action going on for either team. Ever since Boudreau has implemented the trap, the team hasn’t been scoring much and they’ve been winning a lot of 3-2, 3-1, 2-0 games but they are 6-0-2 in their last 8 games…hard to complain with that. I have to say that it is interesting how not too long ago we thought that defense, goaltending and penalty killing were our main issues when now it seems like scoring, the powerplay and finding chemistry with lines are what’s keeping this team now. The wins speak for themselves, though.

Thoughts/Observations:

– Florida definitely looked like a team who was playing their second night of a back-to-back. Their early lead was due to Marcus Johansson making a bad play in the neutral zone and leaving Mike Santorelli wide open for a tap-in goal. The rest of the game, they didn’t respond well when the Caps kept them in their zone and it showed. I do see some promise in this Florida team despite how boring they are to watch. There should be some great young talent there very soon as evidenced by the many participants they had in the World Junior Championship. There’s a few good pieces there already but not enough to make a winning team now.

– Speaking of the key pieces, David Booth and Stephen Weiss looked invisible for most of this game. 2 assists for Booth though and I couldn’t even tell if he was playing or not. Hiuh, how about that.

– On the Caps side of things, the key players still aren’t exactly getting the job done but it’s nice to have guys like Eric Fehr who are producing while Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin are going through scoring slumps. Fehr has 6 points in his last 6 games. Alex Ovechkin scored a nice goal tonight and hopefully that should get things going back in the right direction for him. He’s played well so far but not “Ovechkin good.”

– One top player who has been showing up the past few weeks is Mike Green and he had another great game tonight. One goal and an assist and played responsible in his own end. He’s not the offensive juggernaut that he was the last couple of seasons but he’s proving to be a great all-around defenseman. Can’t complain about that at all.

– This win catapulted Washington into first place! Until the Lightning beat the Sens 2-1 today. Being in a division race is so exciting!

– The powerplay may have scored tonight but it looked awful tonight. No zone presence at all and too many times I saw the puck being cleared seconds after we shot the puck. It definitely has to get better.The penalty kill on the other hand was perfect again. 180 of what it was last couple of seasons. It was especially good in the last seconds where we fended off Florida’s 6-on-4 advantage (which was thanks to a stupid penalty by Backstrom).

– Alex Semin was injured in the 2nd period and didn’t return. Uh oh.

So we don’t play again until Tuesday and the game is against these same Panthers. Then we follow it with a very important game against the Lightning. Feels good to say that.

Three Stars

1. Mike Green

2. Mike Santorelli

3. Eric Fehr

 

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