Monday, February 18, 2013
The Caps had a very up and two weekend with their last two games of their three game road trip. It started on Thursday when the Caps would hold on to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in a competitive divisional matchup. Eric Fehr and his line mates Mathieu Perreault and Joel Ward would be the talk of the night logging a combined six points in the game. Fehr scored two goals in the contest and his hard work is starting to cement him in the lineup each night. The Caps withstood a late third period comeback from the Bolts with the aid of Braden Holtby stopping 27 of 30 shots. In the win over Tampa Bay Troy Brouwer scored his seventh goal of the season on the power play. It was the sixth consecutive game the Caps scored on the extra man.
Last night in New York the Caps would not have the same luck against the Rangers. The Capitals didn’t waste time to hit the scoreboard when John Carlson hammered a slap shot past Henrik Lundqvist one minute into the game. However, Washington would not reach the scoreboard again which would result in a 2-1 loss to the Rangers ending the Caps three game winning streak.
The story of this game was the PP and the PK. The Caps went 0 for 4 on the PP and killed 4 of 5 penalties. This team with its injuries cannot afford to take five penalties in a game and expect to win. Penalties not only kill team endurance, but they also keep Alex Ovechkin off the ice for two minutes each time. I do believe the referees have been very soft in this shortened season with calls, but the Caps have to adapt to that.
One positive that the Caps can take away from this game is the play of Braden Holtby in net. Holtby had 38 saves on 40 shots and made several spectacular saves that prevented the game from being far from close. Both goals that were scored in this game were completely out of his capabilities to stop. He is starting to step into that #1 goalie position each night which is what the Caps are in dire need of for this season. The goals will come on offense, but Holtby needs to keep bringing his A game.
The Caps have a three day break with their next two games being vs. the New Jersey Devils on Thursday and Saturday. The Caps have their biggest break of the season, but they have a lot of work to do to prepare for these upcoming games. Mike Green is day to day with a lower body injury and the Caps hope this little break will bring him back in the lineup. His puck moving abilities, power play presence, and defensive positioning are all key components to the Caps winning. I’d expect Braden Holtby to get the start once again on Thursday. Keep the faith. Rock the Red.
Player of the Weekend: Eric Fehr (2 goals)
Stat of the Weekend: 65 saves on 70 shots (Braden Holtby)
Unsung Hero: Mathieu Perreault