Capitals-Red Wings recap

I guess it was kind of appropriate that my pregame post was questioning whether or not the Capitals have gotten lucky during this nice winning streak because the Red Wings finally put an end to it tonight. This wasn’t a bad game by any means, though. The Wings are one of the teams I enjoy watching because they do almost everything so well. One of the best passing teams in the league and they usually play solid fundamentally. We saw a lot of that tonight and the Caps played well against them for most of the game…until Mike Knuble took a tripping penalty with ten minutes and change left which led to Henrik Zetterberg sending a back-hander past Michal Neuvirth for what would be the game winning goal. The Capitals best chance went off the crossbar and that was it. The winning streak doesn’t reach double digits but the Caps didn’t play a bad game despite the L.

Notes/Observations

– During the streak, we were dominating other teams in the Corsi and Fenwick battles, this time we got dominated. Outshot 35-28, Fenwick was 42-25 and Corsi was 54-29 all in favor of Detroit. Credit 13 blocked shots to the defensive corps tonight and Wideman led the pack with 6 of them. Karl Alzner was the only defenseman to have a positive Fenwick rating.

– Ovechkin’s line matchup tonight? Niklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart. 13 shots on goal for the first line combined and Ovechkin’s goal was “classic Ovie.” Did great work at using Brad Stuart as a screen and then blasted the puck past Jimmy Howard.

– Pretty poor game by the special teams. Squandered away two powerplay opportunities in the first period and couldn’t kill off the one penalty that mattered. It’s kind of tough when one of your best PK’ers is the one who gets sent to the box, though.

– Not even Scott Hannan can make Tyler Sloan less bad. Those two gave up more chances than anyone else combined in the first period. Hanann added an assist to his point total, at least.

– John Carlson had the best game out of the defensive corps. Scored a great goal and did well when matched up against Pavel Datsyuk’s line. Dealing with Tomas Holmstrom being a pest in front of the net had to be one of his biggest challenges in the NHL so far.

– I know everyone is going to be going crazy about Henrik Zetterberg’s powerplay goal but that’s a shot that Neuvirth HAS to stop in my book. Great effort by Hank to get the shot off from that tough angle but if Neuvirth didn’t crouch down, it likely would have been stopped. Maybe I’m being too hard on him because most coaches tell goalies to hug the post in that situation, which is what Neuvirth did but Zetterberg found a hole and got the puck through it.

– Alex Semin was kind of invisible tonight. Probably had something to do with the brief line juggling and having to face Lidstrom.

– Wings kind of buried us in our own zone for a lot of the game according to the zone start and shot reports. Sort of makes sense why we couldn’t generate much offense for the final 1o minutes. Still a pretty exciting game up until then.

– Brian Rafalski had 3 points and was on ice for more than half the time on both Wings powerplays. Sounds about right.

– Dennis Wideman is an absolute workhorse but let’s cut down on his shift time a bit, Bruce. I could see that happening when Green comes back, though since we’ll have another guy to man the point. Same with Ovechkin. 27 minutes tonight and an average shift time of 1:05.

– Marco Sturm gets 3 minutes of powerplay ice time and I didn’t even notice it. Huh, maybe he really is Mr. Invisible.

Hey, the streak had to end sometime and I figured it would be tonight anyway considering it was the 2nd game of a back to back an injury-riddled lineup. Let’s carry on to Philly and try to get at least a point there.

Three Stars

1. Henrik Zetterberg

2. John Carlson

3. Brian Rafalski

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