Caps-Ducks recap

There’s a lot of angles you can go with for tonight’s game when trying to find a way to describe it. There’s the Caps offense finally making a return by scoring 7 goals tonight, Alex Semin’s 4th hat trick of the season (coming on the first time he’s scored since late November), the awful defense and goaltending display for both teams and the Ducks top line generating 10 points and still losing. Either way you cut it, it’s a win for Washington and they leap frog Montreal in the standings for now by getting their 70th point of the season. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen the Caps in a game like this and I don’t think we want to see them give up 6 goals again for while but the win is nice and the great showing on offense is even nicer. I think Washington has shown plenty of times this year that they can play a defensively responsible game and win games that way but it’s been awhile since they showed they could win the old fashioned way with this style of firewagon hockey. Not exactly something we want to see come playoff time but when you’re just trying to get points, this works for now.

Thoughts/Observations:

– Tonight’s game was really a microcosm of Alexander Semin’s season. He had a brutal first period and looked completely off for a good portion of the game but he came to life by scoring the Caps first game tying goal in the second period to make it 4-4. Resulted from a great 3-on-1 with Johansson and Ovechkin. Second goal also tied the game in the third at 6-6 where he did a great job of driving the net to score. Then finally there was the game winner with less than 2 minutes left on a sick back-hander. All three of those goals were the first he scored since November 28th. I think Alex Semin is the only player who would record a hat trick after going goalless in nearly three months. Oh, and that was his fourth hatty of the season which ties him with Drew Stafford for the lead. Seriously, I don’t get it.

– The Caps offense seemed to generate chances and score goals at the “right time” if you know what I mean. When they fell behind 4-2, they responded quickly by pinning Anaheim’s top line in their zone and David Steckel crashed the net to tap in a pass from Boyd Gordon. The biggest one came at the beginning of the 3rd period where Mike Knuble took a great feed from Nicklas Backstrom and scored on a break-away to tie it at 5. Huge momentum boost for the team. It also helps when you play a goalie like Curtis McElhinney who gives up bad goals from time to time.

– While were on that subject, this was a pitiful display of goaltending from both teams. McElhinney hung in there for all 7 goals Anaheim gave up (24 saves on 31 shots) while Semyon Varlamov was chased after allowing 3 goals on 9 shots. Neuvirth wasn’t much better as he allowed 3 more on 12 shots. Plenty of those could have been stopped but the defense wasn’t exactly helping them out at all. John Carlson and Karl Alzner need to do a better job of getting the Anaheim forwards out of the crease and allowing them to screen the goaltender with ease. Scott Hannan was also guilty of letting Ryan Getzlaf hang around the net, which can’t happen. Neuvirth will likely get the next start, though since he made a couple big saves tonight.

– The defense was pretty brutal tonight and the duo of Hannan and Schultz was guilty of allowing 10 points from Aneheim’s top line tonight. Interesting that those two would get assigned that duty because they sure struggled at it. The D clamped down at the right time, though since the goaltending clearly wasn’t getting the job done. After Bobby Ryan’s goal in the third period, they didn’t allow a shot on goal after that. That’s what needs to happen when you’re trying to make a comeback and the goaltending isn’t 100%. Karl Alzner also made a nice play at the goal line from keeping the game from being 6-4

– Three point night for King Karl. That along with that goal line save should earn him player of the game honors but this is a night where someone had a hat trick so it’s different.

– Alex Semin’s hat trick might overshadow a beautiful goal from Alexander Ovechkin in the first period which got things started early for Washington. Great game from #8 again as he was doing all he could to generate chances and create offense. Ended the game with 2 points, which is a good follow-up to his game against Phoenix.

– Teemu Selanne is one of my favorite players ever so it was appropriate to see him set-up Brooks Laich like that in the first period. Uncharacteristic turnover from the veteran there.

– The powerplay still sucks. 3 shots generated tonight with the man advantage. 2 were ours, 1 was Anaheim’s. Guess which one ended up being a goal.

– I can see why the officials at the Honda Center get such a bad rep since they were awful tonight. I’ll just leave at that since I don’t want to get too into it.

This probably wasn’t the best game to have before a back-to-back road game against a team like the Sharks tomorrow but a win’s a win in my books even if this was in thrilling, crazy fashion. Here’s to hoping that we can win with a little better goaltending and responsible play tomorrow. The offense can stay though. 😉

Three Stars

1. Alexander Semin

2. Karl Alzner

3. Corey Perry

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