And now thoughts from the game we attended and didn't Tivo tonight:
- You'd look at the shots (advantage Washington 36-13) and think they really carried the play. But they didn't really apply pressure in flurries or come close to scoring that often.
- Atlanta, without their best player in Ilya Kovalchuk, looked like a boxer that wasn't trying to land any punches but was being very cautious about not giving up the knockout blow either. Though the ever dangerous Alex Ovechkin registered 7 shots on net (and 10 more that were either blocked or off-target) he wasn't really that much of a threat.
- Ovechkin did have one golden opportunity, he was close to the net (with Kari Lehtonen out of position) but his back was turned and he rushed the shot. Literally, after he spun around and controlled the puck he had almost the entire net empty but he shot before his balance was set and it sailed high and wide. Unknowingly he could have had another second or two to steady himself and slam in the easy goal; but that's an easy call when you're in the stands and not on the ice.
- Alex Semin continues to be consistently inconsistent. While not news to Caps fans he often takes terrible penalties. Plus it seems like he loses and edge and wipes out at the most inopportune of times. Also we can't find the exact stat category right now but he's got to be among the league leaders in diving penalties...
- Shaone Morrisonn (or however you spell it) seemed a little over anxious in his first game back from injury in pinching in. Considering that he wasn't too effective at it, plus his role is to be the steady partner for the very talented Mike Green it seemed odd. Morrisonn needs to settle down and not try to do too much to be at his best.
- We thought Pascal Dupuis (even though he had just one shot on net and no points) was the most forceful and best offensive forward for the Tbombs throughout the game.
- It was nice to see Old Man Recchi end up with 2 assists on the night, he made the play happen on Todd White's goal (the only goal of consquence in the whole game) and deserved to be a star of the game over Ovechkin.
- Coaches will tell you there's no such thing as a bad idea to throw the puck at the net. We'd disagree. Ovechkin will shoot from anywhere anytime he can. Shooting lanes or angles be damned; he WILL shoot as much as possible (as evidenced above from 10 ten shots either blocked or mis-fired). Ovechkin must be the least efficient superstar of all-time. But considering he's still the goal and points leader in the league at the moment perhaps there's no room for our insight there.
- Point being, if old boy could learn a little bit of patience and try to work to pick his spots a little better he could become an even more effective player. Now that would be a scary thought. It'll be interesting to see if he ever tries to adapt and adjust his strategy towards this or just keep firing away. Maybe there's no use in changing his style, since it's working for him. Maybe we're not in any position to offer advice. Just calling it like it seems.
- Ifwe know Caps fans, some blogger will probably point their injuries (like Captain Chris Clark and top 4 defenseman Brian Pothier) to show the result could have been different. While Clark is a warrior and a heart-and-soul guy and his absence from the lineup is notable, it's an impossible game of "what if" to imagine him actually suiting up and playing.
Overall it was probably one of the most boring and least active games we've seen this season. Both teams--but especially Atlanta, were playing a very conservative playoff style game. For a while, we thought it was actually Minnesota vs. Calgary (minus Jarome Iginla and Marian Gaborik). Literally that much of nothing was happening throughout most of the game. It's a shame it was a vanilla game too, there was a large crowd on hand and we get the feeling more than a couple were taking in a game for the first time....We get this feeling because it was overheard by someone behind us asking a buddy: "So what number is Ovechkin again?"
In the end, Atlanta made one play (courtesy of Recchi and White) and Washington couldn't make any. That was your "ball"game. Whether this game at the end of the year ends up being just 1 out of 82 or a turning point for either club or even the difference in the division race remains to be seen. One does get the feeling though while Atlanta is happy and relieved to get two points on the road, it's more of a disappointment for the Caps to let this opportunity slip away.