Blue Jackets-Capitals recap

For a good portion of this game, you could tell that the Blue Jackets were missing their best player and captain Rick Nash. The Capitals outshot them 15-4 in the first period and continued to dominate them for most of the second. The only thing keeping it from getting worse was the best efforts of Steve Mason (and a few shots that went wide) and the Jackets managed to pull it together and tie the game late in the third with a bullet from Scottie Upshall. The Caps then finished things off in OT with the former Jacket Jason Chimera pounding in a rebound and getting Washington 101 points on the season leaving them only one behind the Flyers for first place in the East. Another OT win but the Caps played a solid game despite that. The win caps off one hell of a month for the Caps (12-3-2) but it would be nice to see some more 60 minute efforts with the playoffs only a couple weeks away.

Notes/Observations

– With Dennis Wideman out for what appears to be awhile, the great depth that our defense has is beginning to fall apart. Tyler Sloan is not someone I want getting ice-time in the playoffs so I’m praying that either Tom Poti or Mike Green will get healthy soon. That said, the D did a solid job tonight with a big workload at limiting the Jackets to only 23 shots. This was without their best player, though.

– Continuing with the defensive depth problems, John Erskine only skated one shift after fighting Jared Boll in the second period. I love fighting in the game but with three top defensemen out, I don’t think Erskine should be dropping the gloves, especially this late in the season. Scott Hannan and Jeff Schultz took A LOT of shifts tonight to make up for him being out. They had ice times over 25 minutes a piece.

– Out of the defensive corps, I thought either John Carlson or Scott Hannan had the best night. Carlson had a goal and assist on the game winner and did well on both the powerplay and penalty kill. Hannan played over 28 minutes, blocked 6 shots and was also good on the PK. These two should hopefully make the loss of Wideman less painful.

– The first line played very well early on and were by far the best territorially. Ovechkin did have a few chances tonight but didn’t finished but he was a key part in Mike Knuble’s goal. Mason cheated towards him a bit which allowed Knuble to slip in untouched next to the net and bang in the rebound from Backstrom’s shot. Knuble’s really been on fire to close out this season.

– Steve Mason did all he could to keep the Jackets in this game but he made a few critical mistakes which all resulted in goals. Three of his goals (including the game winner) were from bad rebounds and he over-committed  on Knuble’s goal. Though it would help if the Jackets defense would clear some of the rebounds because there was no one around Knuble or Chimera on their goals.

– At the other crease, Neuvirth wasn’t great tonight. 20/23 is better than most goalies but I thought he gave up a couple of bad rebounds and that Fedor Tyutin goal probably should have been stopped. Not a bad night, but not particularly good either.

– The second line had a rough night territorially despite getting quite a few offensive zone starts and Jason Arnott was 5/19 on face-offs. However, Arnott and Sturm connected on a nice goal so it wasn’t a completely rough night for them.

– Most of our goals tonight came on rebounds. You know what the folks at RMNB say, “CRASH THE NET!” Hey, it works sometimes! most times! Chimera and Laich in particular did a fine job at that and Chimera’s game-winner was the result of it.

– This was my reaction to Tyler Sloan turning the puck over behind the net resulting in a golden opportunity for the Jackets. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNY8xiKgdIs

C’mon Son.

– 3rd consecutive year with 100 points for the Caps. I feel like I complain about this team too much.

Not much else to say about this game except that I hope all is well with Dennis Wideman. Hematoma’s an injury that can seriously affect a player’s career and I hope he has a successful recovery with this. Let’s also hope that some of our other defensemen can get healthy quick.

Three Stars

1. John Carlson

2. Scottie Upshall

3. Jason Chimera

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