At least one of my teams decided to have an offense today. The Caps prevailed in a 6-5 nail biter earlier this evening, powered by Sergei Federov (2 goals), The Flash (2 goals), and a strong effort from netminder Jose Theodore (28 saves). Not the prettiest wins, but considering the lackluster performances at Calgary and Phoenix, this win was well needed and well deserved. A few thoughts about the win, both positives and negatives...
What I Liked:
- Creating Strong Scoring Chances- The Caps seemed to spend the entire third period making Marty Turco stand on his head. Turco earned his keep tonight, and despite giving up six goals, he had a strong showing without much defensive support. The Caps offense moved with great fluidity and seemed to create space for scoring opportunities while confusing the Stars' defenders. Without Turco's efforts in the 3rd period, the game could have easily gotten out of hand.
- Young and Old- Sergei Federov is playing like a selfless 28-year-old in a 38-year-old body, and his play is energizing his linemates and the team as a whole. The Caps also have to like the efforts of Tomas Fleischmann (24), who picked up the slack tonight when the team needed some secondary scoring.
- Alex Semin's Dominating Presence- Semin has now accounted for 14 points in 8 games, and is showing no signs of slowing down. He continues to come through in the clutch, and did a great job of generating opportunities tonight with his great positioning. That game-winning wrister was a special shot by a special kind of player.
- "Power" Play- While we went 1 for 4 tonight, the power play attack only generated 3 shots and didn't seem to intimidate the defense at all. Crashing the net doesn't seem to be an option, and the offense is being out-muscled on every contested puck. This team must become more physical if they hope to repeat as Southeast Champions, let alone a Stanley Cup.
- Ovie's Absence- Obviously we're looking at a six-game goal drought. While it's nice to see other Caps picking up the slack, it's never good to have your star player in a scoring funk.
- Defensive Toughness- The blue-liners are really missing the presence of Tom Poti, and it showed in at least 4 of the Stars' goals tonight. Washington's defense is not clearing people out of Theodore's face, and rebound chances are getting out of hand. Someone needs to step up as an enforcer in front of the net, and fast.
Tyler Sloan for his first career NHL goal. Congratulations go out to the Calgary native, who's certainly not known for lighting the lamp.
Next up: Nashville Predators @ Verizon Center, 10/28 7:00pm