Capitals-Senators recap

How was your Friday night? Mine could have been better. Decided to stay in and watch one of the dullest and poorest officiating games I can remember seeing in recent memory. The Caps have no one to blame but themselves for letting the Ottawa Senators shut them out 2-0 but the awful officiating, numerous icing penalties and minimal action after the first period really made this game borderline unwatchable. Of course, it didn’t help that the Caps looked kind of lifeless for most of the game and all of their best chances either went wide or were shut down by Craig Anderson. I have to hand it to the Sens, though because they are definitely playing better right now but still, this isn’t a game I would point to if you’re looking to get someone into hockey. Oh well, nothing to do but throw it in the trash and look forward to tomorrow’s game against the Canadiens. Hopefully a better result.

Notes/Observations:

– According to referees Stephane Auger and Kelly Sutherland, Hendricks was clipped high with the skate of David Hale mid-way through the first period. Nevermind the fact that in the replay you could clearly see that Hale hit Hendricks with his stick from trying to avoid a hit. It was also the first time in a while I saw a referee signal a penalty, send someone to the box and then tell him to leave the box. They also thought that boarding is when you hit a player hard from inside the face-off circle and send him crashing into the boards. The Senators first goal I’ll let slide even though it looked like he kicked it into Varlamov’s pad and then it ricocheted back in. They initially ruled it a goal and there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn it. However, goaltender interference wasn’t in their minds at the time either. Why isn’t that play reviewable, by the way? I usually refrain from griping at the officials since they have a tough job but this was one of the worst officiated games I have ever seen. I should have expected it from Auger, though.

– Matt Bradley absolutely didn’t need to fight Zack Smith after hitting Patrick Wiercoch but he did anyway and got busted open pretty badly. Seeing players having to face “retribution” for clean hits like that just pisses me off.

– Craig Anderson had 31 saves en route to his shutout tonight and he had to look great in a few spots tonight. Made three or four impressive stops during a netmouth scramble and stopped a couple of breakaways, as well. Still think his contract was a bad idea but this team looks a lot more confident with him between the pipes.

– Semyon Varlamov looked decent in his first game back. 21 saves on 23 shots isn’t the best stat-line and he had a couple of bad rebounds but not a terrible outing for him by any means. I wonder if we start him in the game against Montreal tomorrow if Neuvirth is still feeling ill or if we use a call-up to give Braden Holtby the nod. Can anyone remember a time when all three goalies were healthy on this team?

– Not a good night at the face-off circle for everyone. Most brutal was Johansson’s 1/10 but Backstrom’s 7/20 rate isn’t exactly pretty either

– The top two lines seemed to have a good night territorial-wise. I did notice most of the chances were coming from either Brooks Laich or Alexander Semin. Still doesn’t mean much if you can’t finish them, though.

– You certainly can’t say the Caps didn’t try. Outshot the Sens 12-5 in the final frame but they seemed to lose their legs by the third period and it didn’t seem like they could generate a lot of chances.

– Cory Clouston may still have a job next season since he’s getting this Ottawa team that’s way out of the playoff picture to play tough every night.

Like I said, nothing to see here. Let’s forget about this and just move onto the next game….

Three Stars

1. Craig Anderson

2. Erik Condra

3. Jason Spezza

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