Thursday, February 7, 2013

2013 Game #12: Caps @ Pens

As the resident Caps fan in Pittsburgh, I feel obligated to do a recap. Because who would really want to recap that mess? Not me, that's who.

Star: Ovechkin. Possibly his best game yet. He had some great chances on Fleury and MAF and his buddy Posty came up huge  on all but one of those chances. Throw in an assist and several huge hits and there wasn't much more that you could ask for from the Great 8. Honorable Mentions to Green and Fehr for driving play into the offensive zone and doing their best to keep Crosby at bay, and to Ribeiro for another multi-point game.

Goat: Everyone else. I think that's self-explanatory.

  • I think Neuvirth can certainly be blamed for the second goal he allowed, and Holtby for his first. Malkin's shot was nigh unstoppable, it was just perfect and those go in the net. The fourth and fifth goals (and to an extent even the third goal) are on some combination of Kundratek, Carlson, Hamrlik, and Schultz. Between poor coverage (Kundratek, Carlson), screening Holtby (Hamrlik, Schultz), and deflecting what would have been easy saves (Schultz), the game should have been much closer than it was, and it lead to far too much criticism of both goalies.
  • This was a special teams battle, and one in which the Caps (again) got slaughtered. The Pens scored three powerplay goals and allowed one. The PK and the defense need serious work. At this point, I think the best fix might be to get rid of Johansson. Not Marcus (at least not for these reasons). Calle. Most of these guys have been around for at least two years, if not longer, and the only one who seems to have improved with the new defensive coach is Erskine, and he didn't have much further to fall as it was. Something is amiss on the blue line, and I am of the opinion that is the core issue this squad has.
  • The other issue is, and has been for years, roster management. Kundratek has been doing fine on the third pair as a rookie, but there is no reason he should be on the penalty kill against three of the league's top scorers in Crosby, Malkin, and Neal. With Erskine suspended and Poti injured (this is my shocked face), he had to be in there tonight, but as soon as the Caps have seven other healthy and available defensemen, it's time for him to go back to Hershey.
  • Back to Marcus, though, he led forwards in shifts, along with Backstrom, at 22 apiece. So how did he follow up his first goal of the season last game? By taking yet another 0 shots in 15:37 of ice time. Only he, Chimera, Schultz, and Hamrlik failed to register a shot on net tonight. That means that only Hamrlik and Jack "I have played some of one game" Hillen have less shots on the season. MoJo has absolutely none of his nickname, and more and more people are starting to shake the old trade-tree and see if something falls out with his name on it. He is a pending RFA, is young, speedy, and theoretically has some offensive ability, so he should get something decent in return. As long as it isn't another bottom-six winger, the Caps might actually be able to use that something, too.
  • Roman Hamrlik was healthy scratched for quite a while, and when the other options to start were a rookie and a guy who hadn't played hockey in two years. Seemed ridiculous. Then he played tonight, and it seemed a little less so. At the same time, he didn't really do any worse than Poti or Kundratek, but that's not such a good thing. 
  • Bonus!
Onward and upward, mehopes. Also, if you have not read this, you must. The definitive summary of  the Caps' past two years.