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Capitals Beat Predators in Shootout, 4-3

Alexander Semin, who had another strong performance with a goal and an assist in regulation along with a pretty shootout goal - he roofed the puck over Dan Ellis and popped the water bottle up off the top of the net - told reporters after the game that Alex Ovechkin sent him a text message after warm ups. Ovechkin asked Semin to tell the team that he was with the team in spirit and wished them good luck against the Predators.

Semin recorded two or more points for the sixth time in nine games this season and moved ahead of Evgeni Malkin (who plays tonight in San Jose) for the league lead with 16 points (8G, 8A).

"He's been really, really good all year," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I really believe he's coming of age now. He's coming out of his shell a little bit. He's a quiet guy but on the ice he's coming out of his shell and he's leading this team right now."

*Boudreau said he played a "hunch" and made a decision late in the day to start Jose Theodore rather than Brent Johnson. Theodore said it was hard to get in a rhythm early with the Predators only recording 11 shots through the first two periods.

"Every time you have (11) shots after two periods I think I would be lying saying you feel on top of your game," Theodore said. "That's when the experience kicks in. In the third I just said: 'It's a one period game.' I think in the third I felt really good. They needed a fluky goal to get one by me."
"For the first two periods you want to feel the puck and you don't really feel the puck and you let in two goals," Theodore added. "Not necessarily two bad goals but it's two goals out of 10 shots."

Here's Boudreau's take on the first two goals that Theodore allowed:

"The first one I think he nicked (Shaone Morrisonn's) skate and didn't get over there quick enough because he tripped," Boudreau said. "The second one he was probably like everybody else and thought it was going to be stopped on the boards then it bounced into the middle and bounced over the stick so it was probably a little slower reacting than he would have liked. But I thought the more the shots came the more he was getting into a zone."

*Dave Steckel got the hard hat tonight, due in part to his second short-handed goal of the young season. He was a plus-1, recorded three hits and earned some praise from Boudreau in the post game presser.

*Nicklas Backstrom, who had an assist on Semin's goal, explained the Capitals situation after the first period quite simply. "I think we should have had a bigger lead in the first period," he said and he wasn't the only one who thought so.

"You always worry when you out shoot the team 19-4 in the first period and you don't have a substantial lead," Boudreau said. "In sports it always comes back to haunt you. They're going to get better and you're not going to able to sustain that same thing."

By Katie Carrera  |  October 28, 2008; 10:44 PM ET
 
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Comments

Well, whoever said this one was going to be closer than we would like, you were dead on.

Thanks again for having me out to the game, Steve R!

Posted by: _jordan | October 28, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,

I was at the game tonight. I saw Green limping off the ice after he blocked a shot during overtime. Is he ok?

Posted by: DannyBoy1975 | October 28, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Katie/Tarik: thanks for the in-game updates!

Posted by: honed | October 28, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,

I also saw green limp off the ice, it was not long after he got slammed headfirst into the boards, is he OK?

Posted by: megs2219 | October 28, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

That's the thing, though, Jordan -- in the first two periods, the game wasn't close at all. The Caps were leading 28-12 in shots in the middle of the second period (maybe even the end of the 2nd). The Caps were outplaying the Predators by a huge margin, and then, for some reason, they decided to take the 3rd period off.

Really, the Preds had no business taking that game to a shoot-out. They stunk in the first two periods, but the Caps just couldn't get anything to go in, even though they were getting a lot of shots.

Too tired to continue right now, I'll post again tomorrow.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | October 28, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Word to drinking partner's thoughts on the team taking the third off. For what it's worth:

From the replays (and my seat on the other end), on the second NASH goal, once the puck went over/by Morrisonn's stick, JT was toast.

Semin took great pride in the pass to Steckel for the goal. He did an OV-like bump into the boards away from the play when he scored. The poise in the PK helps really make him an all-around threat.

Steckel earned the hat, but in addition, I think it served as a confidence boosting game both to him and Backstrom (who would carry the puck into the zone with 2 or 3 defenders against him), so here's hoping the points follow.

Erskine still makes me wonder why he was resigned to an overpriced multi-year contract.

All in all, it was another case of not playing a consistently hard 60 minutes, yet it's 2 points I'll gladly take, with some good things to look to within the lines.

Posted by: Section117 | October 28, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and much-deserved big ups to Katie for providing in-game updates for those who couldn't go.

Posted by: Section117 | October 28, 2008 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Well, it was quite a game! There is no reason it should have gone to OT, but thank God they registered a W, anyway. It was SO nice to see them play a strong first period for a change, and then they fell apart ... Whoever said Ellis was not standing on his head, I disagree. He kept the Preds in the game first period. They had no D, no O and he made some big saves. Maybe not the entire game, but certainly first period - we just couldn't get anything past him.

From the pre-pre-pre-previous:

Jim:
Don't worry - I got your back!! ;-)

doughless:
Don't patronize me ... (kidding - just kidding!! ;-)).

Posted by: Boo- | October 28, 2008 11:32 PM | Report abuse

BTW, I can't look at Erskine anymore without thinking sexy lumberjack ... thanks to whoever started that! :-P

Posted by: Boo- | October 28, 2008 11:34 PM | Report abuse

@jordan - I'll take credit for that, even if I was slightly off on the final score...

"Getting ready to head down to the game. Caps 3, Preds 2 in a game much closer than it should be.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | October 28, 2008 4:51 PM "

Posted by: SombreroGuy | October 28, 2008 11:46 PM | Report abuse

And even though I was fortunate enough to attend the game, big thank you to Katie for the excellent work tonight.

Semin is a beast on the PK. I like his aggressiveness. Does anybody else think we play a much more passive penalty kill than other teams play against us? Its almost as if we're content to let them take a shot hoping we can just sweep away a rebound.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | October 28, 2008 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Where was Sam (Horn Guy) today? :\

Good game, but it should NOT have required a shootout, or even overtime for that matter. I apologized to my friend who was attending their first hockey game in at least a decade. He seemed to enjoy himself anyway, but there was something weird about this game. And the crowd just isn't the same without Sam and his horn.

I predicted Steckel would have a decent game, and I turned out to be right. I wish I'd made the prediction here on the blog so I could prove I predicted that BEFORE the game. ;) Props on making your prediction in public, Sombrero.

Anyway, two points are two points, and the fact that Nashville got one is largely irrelevant because they are in the West.

Posted by: GregAnnapolis | October 29, 2008 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Greg:
Now that you mention it, I did not hear Goat, either.

Posted by: Boo- | October 29, 2008 12:06 AM | Report abuse

@Sombrero Guy - great yakking with you on the way home. As promised, here is a link to the photos I've been shooting.

Advance warning: the last three games, including the Bears game last Saturday, I've been using a new lens, and while I like the speed on it, I do NOT like the focal length. It's just too shallow, when the number on the jersey is in focus and the name is not. (((>.

And to make it easy to find, here is the shot of Chris Bourque and his pink bubblegum bubble. :-) Enjoy!

Posted by: irockthered | October 29, 2008 12:08 AM | Report abuse

@Sombrero Guy - Drop me an e-mail tomorrow and I'll toss you a link to my non-hockey photography. :)

Posted by: irockthered | October 29, 2008 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Boo, I thought I heard the Goat but it could have just been someone else with a booming voice. I also tried starting cheers every once in a while but there just wasn't that same level of energy in the crowd. I was successful a few times though. :)

Posted by: GregAnnapolis | October 29, 2008 12:10 AM | Report abuse

@irockthered
I don't know if you're shooting film or digital, but try using a faster film speed and a tighter aperture. Your photos will be grainier, but it should get you a better depth of field.

I haven't posted on this blog in almost a year, and when I do it's a photography tip. Clearly I need to post more and read less.

Posted by: theGelf | October 29, 2008 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Tarik: I noticed from checking forward that the Caps are playing at 7 pm a number of Tuesdays throughout the season. My rough count is that another 6-10 games or so will be "blacked out" due to this (apparently new) Versus thing. Is this worthy of an article by the Post? I feel that missing this number of games (I get Center Ice in FL) is significant. Is it possible for the team to reschedule games to 7:15 or 7:30 to avoid being Versused? Why did the NHL do this, knowing full well that many fans would get shut out of their games? I know on commercials they all keep saying we need "Change," but this kind of change stinks. Thanks.

Posted by: tominfl1 | October 29, 2008 6:49 AM | Report abuse

Does anybody else finds the nhl.com website cumbersome? They changed it into a flash-player thingie, it can be slow... and the tv feature as well, last year was better.

I wouldn't mind except the Caps website is using it for the summary/interviews.


Posted by: mauree | October 29, 2008 6:50 AM | Report abuse

OK, I just went to the Versus website and checked. The following games it seems will be unavailable for TV:

Tue Dec 2 vs Panthers
Tue Dec 23 at Rangers
Tue Dec 30 at Buffalo

Versus changes its "Exclusivity Night" starting in January (after MNF ends, I guess) to Monday nights. Caps rarely play Monday at 7 pm, only game during this timeframe being March 16 at Atlanta and that one is listed as the VS game. Still, the same thing will happen next year, and the club should consider scheduling games on "Versus Exclusivity" dates to 7:30, and then moving up to 7 pm if VS asks to have the game.

Posted by: tominfl1 | October 29, 2008 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like I missed a very entertaining game.....FRICKING VS.!!!!!!!!!!......Semin is just turning into a beast!!!

Posted by: PhilR | October 29, 2008 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone have an email address for the NHL commish so I can email to complain about this whole VS thing???!!!

Posted by: PhilR | October 29, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

tominfl1:

Looking at the Vs. schedule, the exclusive games move to Monday nights in the middle of December. So the only game that would still be affected is the one against Florida on Dec 2. The other two you list are not on Vs. exclusive nights.

Posted by: kenjabi | October 29, 2008 7:47 AM | Report abuse

So I'm watching NHL on the Fly and they just showed the recap of the Caps game. That begs the question, who the heck was watching the feed?

Posted by: Boo- | October 29, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR

I am not positive but try gbettman@nhl.com
courtesy of www.firebettman.com

Posted by: _Tim | October 29, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Another game with adventures in goaltending. The first goal was a long shot from the point JT could see all the way, ANY NHL goalie should have that shot. Second shot was stoppable and the third was not. I saw in the game notes last night that BJ is much better than Josie in his starts, 1.9 GA and over 900 save %. Lets go back to last year, the guy playing better gets the starts! Not really fair to hold it against BJ when he came in for Josie in games that were lost already.

Posted by: majiksea | October 29, 2008 8:09 AM | Report abuse

The obvious solution to the VS thing has already been suggested. You don't change VS, you simply schedule Caps games on VS nights at 7:30 and then if VS wants to show the game you announce it has been resheduled to 7. No pain, no drama, simply schedule around them. The Caps could do this with ease.

Posted by: majiksea | October 29, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

@theGelf - digital, but I shot film for many, many years. And I'm familiar with jacking up the ISO and tightening the aperture. I was playing with the new lens to see what happened if I let more light in so that I could use a faster shutter speed. Since I bought the lens for its f/2.8 aperture, using it at a tighter aperture defeats the purpose - and it isn't really a long enough lens from where I sit anyway. ;-)

It was a failed experiment, so I'll be going back to the other lens for future games.

I've been getting away with shooting ISO 100 with the old lens (for the most part), and I'd like to stick with the low ISO, because the grain is MUCH more pronounced in digital photography, I've found. I can get away with shooting f/4.8 (fastest the old zoom lens goes) without losing focus between the number and the name... (((>.<)))!

The new lens, OTOH, is great for shooting Bears games with, from the 5th row back from the ice!

Posted by: irockthered | October 29, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Tominfl1, you can just check the Caps' website to see the broadcast schedule. Only the Dec. 2 game has no broadcast info. The NHL's website has the same info. (e.g. MIN@DAL tonight is available on FSN-N and FSN-SW according to the NHL schedule)

I think Tarik did write about the two "no broadcast" dates in the season preview.

Posted by: koalatek | October 29, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

@majiksea

But if VS has already claimed these games would the blackout not still stand?? From what I understand they have already claimed the games for the entire season.....

Posted by: PhilR | October 29, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Umm. Changing to 7:30 doesn't change things. Tampa and Carolina had 7:30 games and no local broadcast.

Posted by: koalatek | October 29, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

@mauree - I DO. The new NHL.com website is a pain in the butt!

@majiksea - do the math. Jose saved 29 of 32. That's a 90.625% save ratio, and I won't argue with it! He gets better every game.

Posted by: irockthered | October 29, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Jordan,

You're welcome, I'll be happy to extend the invite for future games as well.

Posted by: Steve_R | October 29, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

The Versus black-out is the 7-9:30 time frame in the U.S. If the games are playing in canadian cities they are broadcast on direc tv, or tsn,or hockey night in canada.Versus only hold the rights in the U.S. on their game nites. I'll try to find the link where I read it yesterday.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | October 29, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

@ majiksea:

Theodore couldn't stop that second goal, especially after Morrisonn (who I think has had a bad couple of games now) couldn't clear it.

And if we were going "back to last year," the two main goalies in the rotation in the stretch run aren't here anymore. Play the hand you're dealt with, and right now the boys are doing that (playing at a 100 point pace).

Posted by: Section117 | October 29, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Koaletek,

I got the 7:30 games on Directv Center Ice - no Caps game or any other 7:00 game except VS Philly game.

Posted by: NJNJ | October 29, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

NJNJ, Center Ice probably carried them because they were broadcast in Canada. The point is that there was no local broadcast of the 7:30 games.

From the Lightning website:
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning will host two watch parties tomorrow night when the team visits the Air Canada Centre in Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs. Parties will take place at Barnacles in Brandon and The Press Box in South Tampa. The game will be available on radio at AM 620 WDAE and will not be available on local television without the NHL Center Ice Package.

Posted by: koalatek | October 29, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I don't know right now whether the adventures were more in D than in goaltending. I was holding out a wait-and-see on Mo, but this is one of several bad games he's had. Jurcina, Schultz, and even Erskine all stepped up this game (in Erskine's case, this means no egregious mistakes that I saw from my end). We need Poti back.

I still want to see more of Fehr.

Glad to see Backstrom get that primary assist - that was a pretty pass. Now if only we can get him a goal. I was so hoping he'd score in the shootout.

Posted by: kittypawz | October 29, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

kenjabi: Yes, you are right, only the Dec 2 game is affected.

NJNJ: You are right too. Last night the only game to get "Versused" was Caps-Predators. I think Tampa game was on but was "blacked out" for me because I live in the Tampa home area. Some folks up there might've lost that one if they also black out Carolina in the Comcast region. Center Ice had a bunch of games, and my understanding was only 7 pm starts were not shown to do "exclusivity." If those Versus people come to Florida, I will show them some "exclusivity" and see what they say.

Posted by: tominfl1 | October 29, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Of course, since Center Ice usually blacks out the home viewing area's team, I wonder if Tampa area fans with Center Ice could even see the Tampa game.

Posted by: koalatek | October 29, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Win or lose, bad goltending is bad goaltending. Josie needs to step up and start playing when they drop the puck, not in the third period when he feels better.

Posted by: majiksea | October 29, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

To way back towards the top-middle:

Yeah! The horn guy definitely wasn't there last night, and I think it definitely hurt the crowd. Last night was a pretty dull night, as far as the crowd was concerned (with the exception of the "Unleash the Fury" video that always gets everyone pumped up -- is that not the greatest in-game video ever? The arena-wide "UNLEASH THE FURY" by everyone at the end is also awesome as it bears down on the opposition).

We needed Horn Guy.

Goat was there, though. I heard him once or twice, but he wasn't his usual beefy-voiced-self either.

Lucky that we won, really, given that 3rd period. Are we 1st in the SE, again, now?

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | October 29, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

i don't know who made the comment about the NHL site but I think it looks way better. the usability on it is way better, and it's quick to get to where you need to go and looks sharp.

hey majiksea, have you ever played goal?

Posted by: mnmnt_snow | October 29, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

@BOO

The sexy lumberjack did have a solid game tonight, much better than Jeff "sorry for attempting to hit you" Schultz, and yep the sexy lumberjack was a nickname I gave erskine after he beatdown Lulic last season

Posted by: _stevo | October 29, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

DrinkingPartner: Agreed on the crowd ... until the UNLEASH THE FURY video. I still love that - gotta wonder what it's like to be the visiting team and hear that. After that, it got better from there -- the crowd finally woke up with that, got into the overtime, and really gave 100% in the shootout. Come the shootout, you finally saw the crowd that can drown the airhorn when it really gets going.

Curiously, I think it was the boarding non-call on Green that really got the crowd going. That got some backs up in the stands.

Posted by: kittypawz | October 29, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

"Curiously, I think it was the boarding non-call on Green that really got the crowd going. That got some backs up in the stands." - that non-call got some very good "Ref you suck" chants from my section and others nearby (in the 400s), it was one of several really bad missed calls - people were getting pretty upset!

Posted by: megs2219 | October 29, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

"Are we 1st in the SE, again, now?"

Yep, though Carolina has a game in hand.

Posted by: Section117 | October 29, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Horn Guy was there, sitting in his seat, I assume there was a problem. Perhaps he had a cold sore or the dog ate his horn.

Posted by: majiksea | October 29, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

"Win or lose, bad goltending is bad goaltending. Josie needs to step up and start playing when they drop the puck, not in the third period when he feels better.

Posted by: majiksea | October 29, 2008 9:27 AM

-------------------------------------------
You know that Huet, Khabibulin, Kolzig and any other name you can think of aren't coming through that door, right?

Sorry, but a 90% save percentage in his last 4 games (2 of which were hard luck losses), is nothing to sneeze at.

Posted by: Section117 | October 29, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

@megs2219: I think "REF YOU SUCK" went all over the arena after that. The crowd was mad. And yes, it was one of several really bad missed calls - granted, they missed one or two against us, so I hesitate to complain too much, but the boarding non-call on Green was easily the most egregious of them.

The refing was really bad in the third. So was the ice, it looked like.

Posted by: kittypawz | October 29, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

About that lens... Even if you don't shoot at the widest aperture, there are still advantages to using that lens. The bigger aperture allows more light for viewing and for focusing. You can shoot stopped down like you usually do, but the lens with the faster aperture is likely to be sharper stopped down than the slower lens wide open. Plus, when you need to, or if you want the extra speed/less DOF, it's there! Sometimes you have to use a new lens for a while to get a feel for it...

Posted by: isaacc7 | October 29, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

@isaacc7 - thanks; I've been shooting for a great many years, and I do know how to use my camera. I am shooting from the 400 section, and I am finding that the lens is not suitable for that distance, for several reasons:

1) It is not long enough. At 135mm, I get 80% ice, 20% subject, and if my subject moves even a half a foot between me focusing on him and the camera firing, my focus is lost to depth of field at wide-open.

2) My zoom is 75-300. It's slower (f/4.5-5.6), but it at least has a foot or two of depth of field at that distance.

The faster lens works very nicely for shooting Bears games, where I am only a few rows back from the ice, but it is not going to work for the Caps, at least not from the 400 section.

Yes, I know I should use it and get used to it, and I will be using it for at least one more Caps game, probably two or three. I'm not dumping it; I'm just saying it does not do what I want it to do - what I bought it to do - which is allow me to use a faster shutter speed at a lower ISO by letting in more light, because it doesn't have enough depth of field at the larger aperture at the distance I am shooting from.

And you have to admit, when the distance between the NUMBER on the back of the shirt and the NAME on the back of the shirt is too great for the DoF when the player is standing stock still and bending away from you (i.e. for a face-off), the shutter speed is 1/500 second - which can easily be hand-held for a 135mm lens and a camera with built in image stabilization - and the focus light beeps right on him, the depth of field is too shallow!

I've only used the lens at three games, though, and the only one I was semi-satisfied with my results from was the Bears game. The extra-pronounced graininess that you get in digital photography at higher ISOs is unacceptable to me, and I can't drop $1500 on a faster long lens right now. I have been, up to now, letting the camera make the decisions about shutter speed and aperture, because I am shooting fairly fast, and I don't always have time to look at every single shot and adjust (although I /do/ know how to do this, and in non-sports situations, I almost always shoot in full manual mode). I may play with it next game and see if I can keep up doing it manually.

Posted by: irockthered | October 29, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

@everyone else - Wow, sorry for the SPAM!

Posted by: irockthered | October 29, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

@everyone else - Wow, sorry for the SPAM!

Posted by: irockthered | October 29, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I don't think anyone cares about the photography spam since there's a new thread.

@irockthered
I didn't mean to get people questioning your photography credentials, sorry about that. I've yet to move completely to digital, I like the darkroom work far too much. I definitely enjoy my fast lens (it's a 50mm), not for the shutter speeds, but because I often end up working with no flash in poor lighting. I have yet to attempt to photograph a hockey game, but I'm sure the 50mm would be terrible for shooting from the 400s. But, like you said, from row 5 in Hershey, it would be fantastic.

Posted by: theGelf | October 29, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

@theGelf - It's all good. :)

I moved completely to digital when they came out with an SLR that fit my film camera lenses, though I will not dispute the quality of film over digital with anybody. Film remains vastly superior; to get the quality available in Kodachrome 25 film, you'd need around a 300 megapixel camera! But I can get print quality from my 6-1/2 megapixel SLR, and my 8 megapixel waterproof pocket camera, and for now that's good enough for me.

I do love the darkroom work, but I've not had the chance to be in one for over a decade - closer to two, in fact... My previous house didn't have a room I could make completely dark - windows in the bathrooms, etc. - and I got rid of all of my darkroom gear when the basement flooded on me, ruining the enlarger base. I love black-and-white for the expressiveness you can get, but shooting B&W in digital is a pain, because they strip it down to just one of the three color channels, so if I want B&W, I'm shooting color and converting in the digital darkroom.

If you're interested, one of the things I did digitally was I enhanced and corrected portraits of my grandparents that had faded almost to the point of invisibility in places. Email me at irockthered {at} gmail {dot} com, and I'll point you to the link. :)

I love my fast 50mm lens for tight closeups, etc. - but I'd never even try it at a hockey game unless I was in the lower bowl.

Posted by: irockthered | October 29, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

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