Islanders-Capitals recap #4

Wow….I’ll start off by saying that games like tonight are the main reason why I can never turn a game off. I’m always afraid that I’ll miss some kind of amazing finish. Usually I’m let down but tonight, I wasn’t. After having to kill off two consecutive Nicklas Backstrom penalties in the last ten minutes, it looked like the Caps were done and about to be shutout by Nathan Lawson (a goalie who has a save pct. of less than .880) but a Brooks Laich goal with less than a minute left and an amazing goal from Ovechkin in overtime got the Caps two points in the end. Would have liked it to be a lot less hair-pulling but still a win.

Thoughts/Observations:

– As far as the new members go, I think Dennis Wideman had the best night. Skated more ice time than any other Cap and played well on the penalty kill. Also created a couple chances on the powerplay. Jason Arnott did have a great pass to set up Laich’s game tying goal, though. Marco Sturm’s line was effective early on and he had a breakaway chance early but I felt that he was kind of invisible later in the game. Still, not a bad night from the new guys.

– Another rough night for John Carlson as he had a turnover which led to Moulson’s goal, which came off a 2-0n-1. Alzner played very good, though and the duo seemed to halt Michael Grabner’s line a bit in this game.

– Frans Neilsen’s line played well again defensively against us as they were matched up with Ovechkin’s line almost every time. They didn’t allow us to generate much chances through the 2nd and most of the 3rd but it soon died down as the game went on. I feel the game would have been easier had Sturm buried that early breakaway chance, though.

– Since when is Nathan Lawson a good goalie? Stopped 40 of 42 shots tonight and he had to make a few really impressive saves in that effort. Didn’t see that coming from him at all considering I haven’t been impressed from what I’ve seen of him.

– The Islanders defensive corps is beaten up and very vulnerable right now but their forwards were making up for it by playing good defense and Lawson certainly had to bail them out several times. Ovechkin noted this in overtime when Travis Hamoic got buried in his own zone. That left Ovechkin alone against Frans Neilsen, who is good defensively but is still a forward and Ovechkin is a clear mismatch against him. Led to that dazzling OT goal from him.

– Just looked at the powerplay ice time. Wideman skated 3:39 of our powerplay minutes tonight and had a couple  long shifts. I know Bruce wanted to take pressure off Carlson but let’s not completely take away his powerplay responsibilities because he’s still dangerous there. Just manage them the right way.

– The chances were certainly there for the Caps early on but they couldn’t bury them and it was a problem all game until the last minute.

– Wonder how long until we get Craig Laughlin’s twitter update on this game. I’m sure it will be entertaining.

Next game is against a struggling but rebuilding Blues team and I’m feeling a little better about that game coming off a win than a loss.

Three Stars:
1. Alex Ovechkin
2. Nathan Lawson
3. Brooks Laich

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