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Caps 3, Bruins 1

Although neither Coach Bruce Boudreau nor Brent Johnson will do anything but joke when the phrase "No. 1 goaltender" is brought up, Johnson certainly played like one tonight in the Caps' 3-1 win. He stopped 33 of the Bruins' 34 shots, many of which came on good scoring chances or from point-blank range for his third straight win.

It was also obvious to see the lift the Caps received from the return of Tom Poti and Alexander Semin, who missed six and 12 games respectively.

Poti summed up Johnson's performance rather well: "He played amazing," Poti said. "He made a huge save on a couple breakaways, the penalty shot. He was the reason we won tonight. He came up big when we needed him to."

*In handing the Bruins their second regulation loss out of the past 17 games, the Capitals became the first team to hold Boston to a single goal since Oct. 28 when they recorded a 1-0 win over Vancouver.

*Johnson is now on a three-game winning streak, stopping 79 of 83 shots for a .952 save percentage.

*Of the 14 saves he made in the first period, Johnson's pair of stops around the 11:20 mark, first on a breakaway by Patrice Bergeron, then on a shot by Chuck Kobasew who trailed the play were attention getting to say the least.

*Johnson did aggravate his nagging hip injury though, when he did a partial split to get back across the crease and stop Kobasew's shot and said after the game that he was sore. Boudreau said Johnson would likely get tomorrow's practice off and rebuffed the notion of a goaltender controversy.

"Theo will get his chance to get in again," Boudreau said. I don't have a controversy by any stretch. You want to ride the hot hand, Johnny's hot right now. This is Johnny's first chance maybe since the St. Louis days, to really push himself to see if he can't play equal games as the other guy, and he's doing his darndest to stay in between the nets."

*Johnson also made probably one of the best saves of the season thus far when he stretched out and put his stick down on the ice to rob Bruins rookie Blake Wheeler.

"(Wheeler) actually made a really, really good move," Johnson said. "I thought he was definitely going to his backhand. I just threw everything and prayed that he didn't get it up. I'm sure he wanted to get it up but I just got lucky there."

Boudreau was also asked about the save:

"(Johnson) didn't get beat he was just drawing him in," Boudreau joked before turning serious. "I think a veteran would have went up top with that to get a young guy - Blake Wheeler's going to be a great hockey player in this league - a lot of times they'll go and they'll try to slide that in and it's the goalie's only defense.

"A coach once told me -- I did that -- 'That's an American league move you'll be going down tomorrow.' Every time I see that that's exactly what I think of."

*Tom Poti led the team with 22:01 minutes of ice time in his first game back after missing six with a pulled groin. His calming influence was notable along the blueline rust or no rust.

"I felt a little bit rusty," Poti said. "It's only the second time I've been on the ice in probably two weeks. Things seemed a little fast out there, but I made it through."

Said Boudreau: "As good as the guys from Hershey played I thought: 'Wow what a difference maker' when he came out there settling the puck down. Sometimes not doing anything, letting everyone go by him and just making the good play."

*Alexandre Giroux's goal was the third NHL tally of his career, with both of the others coming in the 2006-07 season.

*Alex Ovechkin recorded his 10th multiple point game, with an empty net goal and an assist. The Caps are 8-1-1 when he scores a goal and 9-0-1 when he has multiple points.

*The Caps continue their strong play at home, defeating top teams in the Eastern Conference one after another for an 11-1-1 record at Verizon Center. They're also 11-2-1 when leading after the first period and 12-3-1 when scoring first.

By Katie Carrera  |  December 10, 2008; 11:06 PM ET
 
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Comments

Alzner... the only +2 player on the ice tonight...

in 8 games

1G 2A +3 20:13 ATOI 6 Hits 13 Blocks

Why people thought he wasn't good enough to play right away is beyond me.

Posted by: JSchon | December 10, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

You never know Schon-- playing 30 minutes a night at Hershey probably gave him just the right amount of seasoning to make the most of an opportunity like this.

Watch a young player pushed too soon-- like Stamkos in Tampa-- they can really fall in a funk.

Posted by: TheGJ | December 10, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

JSchon, no worries bud.

Between Alzner and Sloan there will be some hard choices to make when everybody is healthy. Alzner won't have to clear waivers though..

Posted by: Steve_R | December 10, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Stamkos would thrive in WAS or any team that has an identity, that has quality coaching, that isnt made up of a bunch of rent-a-players.

I feel bad for that kid, TB is a horrible franchise right now. Vinny Lecavalier should be on the short list of best players in the league, but TB just plain stinks. Sux for them.

Posted by: JSchon | December 10, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

I'd feel bad for Tampa Bay but........

I don't :)

Posted by: TheSkyIsntFalling | December 10, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

While we're praising the defensive corps, I've got to say, Poti has turned into a solid two-way defender. For a "rusty" first game back, he sure had a calming influence. And the way he activated on Giroux's goal was great -- as textbook a move in the slot as any D we've had the past three seasons, Green included. After chronicling his up and down years with the Isles, Rags, and the Oil, it looks like Boudreau's system is the right fit.

Posted by: cityspirit | December 10, 2008 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Finally got home:

@HeyBooBoo: Don't you mean an a$$kicker? :) Some people in here need their butts kicked sometimes.

JSchon: About the gloom and doomers who always scream the sky is falling and should do it more often - haha! I dunno, sometimes I do that. It seems like it works that way for me. Sometimes it doesn't. If I feel good about a game I never want to say so in case I jinx it - the universe likes to laugh at me a lot. I felt good about Florida too.

My comments on the game:
- Holy Hannah, those of you who said Bruins fans were annoying weren't kidding. :P I think the only fans I've seen who were ruder were Pitt and Philly.
- Johnny is unbelievable. 97.0 SV% tonight. He gave me a heart attack when he went down, though.
- D did a good job covering him too for the most part. I thought Sloan/Poti looked a tad shaky tonight, but that's me. Rust might account for it. But there was someone there to grab a lot of Johnson's rebounds and clear them out. Agreed that their one goal was D's fault, though I didn't have a clear view.
- Jurcina looked good. I think Alzner is miles above Erskine as a fit for Jurcina.
- More Giroux/Nylander/Kozlov, please.
- Yeah, I'm pleased with myself. Gabby's lines looked pretty similar to what I had posted a couple of days ago. I am the Cuisinart hatrack. ^^ No, not really, but hey, I can joke.
- When we play like we mean it, we can take down almost anyone, IMO. This team is just crazy talented.
- Seeing Semin, Poti, and Sloan back was such a huge relief it wasn't funny, and agreed that we seemed to get a lift out of it.
- Did anyone else notice that Semin was wearing a $h!t-eating grin through most of warmups?

Posted by: kittypawz | December 10, 2008 11:51 PM | Report abuse

THat was a great game! It made drinking fun again.
Alzner looks great. And Jurcina had a really good night, as well. THere was a bit of a lag after the second goal, but otherwise they really played well. Johnson, that guy is making the best of it. I'm liking Sloan a lot, too.

TB is a train wreck right now. I'm still ok with Kolzig not in net, but i wish he'd just hung it up rather than go out like this.

I think i like our new blueliners better than our old ones. If Jurcina played every night like he did tonight, he'd be an all star. The potential is obviously there.

Posted by: oo7 | December 10, 2008 11:54 PM | Report abuse

with johnny between the nets, our injured healthy, and a sliiiiightly more trained defense, there is NOTHING this team can't accomplish

also, maybe some more endurance training? game after game, the caps' 2nd period looks sluggish. i wasn't sure if johnny could keep covering for them during that 20 minutes- every time they lost the puck to the defensive zone i thought i was gonna have a heart attack

Posted by: jess4caps | December 11, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse

I'm hearing good things about Jurcina tonight but I hope his level was not from the fact he was just playing UP against his old team. I'd like to think as professionals, he's got the groove now with BB's system as opposed to just jacking himself up against the team that cut him. Let's see.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | December 11, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Also, @heybooboo: I'm not so much offended as a little confused. Is there a problem with something I've said? I tend to call it like I see it, but I'm not usually deliberately out to offend people unless I think they need offending, which I generally reserve for trolls.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 11, 2008 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Holy Hannah, those of you who said Bruins fans were annoying weren't kidding.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 10, 2008 11:51 PM
-------------------------------------------
Look at their team, Lucic was even complaining for calls. Please.

Yeah, when Semin batted the puck out of the air in warm-ups, you could tell, you know?

I'd have to think that Alzner stays up and Sloan goes down at this point, but we'll see.

How did Boston's PP 6th in the league? They don't put anyone in front of the net and just try to load Chara up for the shot. At least that's my thought on it.

I'll drink the Johnson kool-aid for now, but won't swallow it all because there were a couple of spots where he didn't have complete command (the pop up glove save that wasn't and almost not working it around behind the net, both in the 3rd I think). But hey, ride the hot hand.

Posted by: Section117 | December 11, 2008 12:19 AM | Report abuse

@Section117: I think Alzner goes down and Sloan stays for one reason: Sloan has to clear waivers and Alzner does not. I don't think they'll chance losing Sloan to waivers. There's also a cap issue involved.I like both Sloan and Alzner and think we'll see them both for good next year.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 11, 2008 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Wow, multiposting before bed for the win. o.o

@SombreroGuy: Guess you're off the hook for forgetting your sombrero tonight ^^ Just don't do it again, kay? :)

Posted by: kittypawz | December 11, 2008 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Alzner... the only +2 player on the ice tonight...

in 8 games

1G 2A +3 20:13 ATOI 6 Hits 13 Blocks

Why people thought he wasn't good enough to play right away is beyond me.

Posted by: JSchon | December 10, 2008 11:16 PM


8 games, all that ice time and only 6 hits? lamo!

He also leads the blueline in giveaways Mr Schon. thanks for spreading the truth

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 11, 2008 12:39 AM | Report abuse

He also leads the blueline in giveaways Mr Schon. thanks for spreading the truth

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 11, 2008 12:39 AM
-------------------------------------------
He did have a whopping 0 giveaways tonight.

Just saying.

Posted by: Section117 | December 11, 2008 12:47 AM | Report abuse

JSchon, cstanton1,

If Green, Schultz, and Erskine were in the lineup, Alzner would not be in DC right now. I think both of you are right and wrong, if you know what I mean. At least he's getting big league exposure sooner than later and we are winning for the most part.

Great win against a hot team. Night all.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | December 11, 2008 12:51 AM | Report abuse

I think Alzner goes down and Sloan stays for one reason: Sloan has to clear waivers and Alzner does not. I don't think they'll chance losing Sloan to waivers. There's also a cap issue involved.I like both Sloan and Alzner and think we'll see them both for good next year.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 11, 2008 12:33 AM
-------------------------------------------
I think Alzner stays because he got his favorite number, so there!

I dunno, I'd be kinda comfortable with someone else picking him up, especially since he's a UFA at the end of the year anyway. As far as next year goes, that's another talk for another time.

Posted by: Section117 | December 11, 2008 12:51 AM | Report abuse

At least he's getting big league exposure sooner than later and we are winning for the most part.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | December 11, 2008 12:51 AM
-------------------------------------------
It also potentially gives the team to leverage some D depth in a trade if they go that route, as 23/26/42/55/62 are all RFAs at the end of the year.

Posted by: Section117 | December 11, 2008 12:55 AM | Report abuse

Brent Johnson made my jaw DROP when he made that split save. Then the dive deflection save a bit later got me cheering.

Ended up waking my flatmate up in my excitement. I really wish there was a way for Brent to hold up for the long haul because I see so much more confidence when he is between the pipes.

Posted by: trunkenmath | December 11, 2008 12:59 AM | Report abuse

i was standing behind the net for the last half of warmups watching OV, Semin and (i think, if memory serves.. Sloan and Giroux). First what a surprise to see Semin tonight. I didn't think he would be out tonight for his first game. When I first got down there I thought Semin looked rusty, right up until the game started...Wow, him, Poti and Sloan back tonight. Can't say enough about how that changed our teams play and probably Bostons game plans.
I am guessing too that with Green back, potentially for Friday that Alzner is going back to Hershey due to salary cap constraints. Which if that is the case, big rounds of applause for him. Can we keep Giroux and Osala for a bit though? I think Osala needs a couple of games, seemed like he loosened up in the third and was playing more like when I saw him in rookie camp. I am sure he has developed even more since I last saw him though.
I havent seen any games that Boston has played, but the efforts put up playing them, the Rangers and Montreal recently are good signs of things to come.

Posted by: caps28fan | December 11, 2008 1:06 AM | Report abuse

A nice win. Johnny was terrific, and I was grateful to see Tom Poti back - he was as others have mentioned, a calming influence. Juice, I thought, had a good game. Alzner played well, too. I saw a lot of bad passes by our offensive guys tonight, which drove me crazy , but it was a win and a wonderful win against a good team.
Defensemen never get enough credit, and that's just the way it goes, but tonight I was awfully pleased to see Poti, Juice and Alzner play so well. I wish Johnny had gotten a shutout, but I thought the D-guys did well given the shots on goal by a strong Bruins team. I was so pleased to see Tom Poti back, and delighted to also see Sasha Semin LOOK so happy to be back.

Posted by: plinkwired | December 11, 2008 1:06 AM | Report abuse

@plink
i wish johnny had gotten a shut out too...although you'll probably disagree with me in that i think the reason he didn't (the reason the bruins' one goal got through) was the d's fault

Posted by: jess4caps | December 11, 2008 1:35 AM | Report abuse

I really like the way this season is shaping up, especially once the Caps are healthy.

It'd be nice to have a clear-cut No. 1 goalie. But playing the hot hand, as Boudreau says, is fine with me. The competition will keep Johnson and Theodore motivated. You don't have to be perfect, guys, because this team is going to score. Just relax and play.

At least one Washington sports team is following a coherent plan. Landing Ovie was an unbelievable blessing, but the organization has continued adding quality players and making the right moves.

Let's all enjoy the ride.

Posted by: gaspeny | December 11, 2008 1:53 AM | Report abuse

i'm actually pretty annoyed with bb's "riding the hot hand" deal

you would think it'd keep them motivated, but the only one who seems to be motivated any time is johnson. theodore's only memorable performance was during a game the team lost (vs phoenix). it's great he got a shut out, but he honestly didn't have much to do that game. he certainly didn't stop 33 shots a la johnny.

riding the hot hand doesn't make a playoff team, it just makes two goalies who aren't sure where they stand. it's really upsetting me that he keeps saying "no controversy, we'll play them 50/50..." blah blah blah...ENOUGH! johnson has MORE than proven himself, he deserves the spot, and he plays like a #1. the only reason theo "still has a shot" is because of the price of his contract. on the one hand, i get that 9Mil is a TON of money, but on the other, Johnny's the one playing like he's making 4.5mil/year

Posted by: jess4caps | December 11, 2008 1:58 AM | Report abuse

WOW!! How cool is that?!? I told you - those boys are FULL of surprises! Since I didn't see the entire game, I am curious, what do you all credit the win to - the guys having a great game, Semin and Poti being back, Johnny being on fire, Boston not bringing their game, or ... ?!? Regardless, I'll take it!! ;-) Wish I could have been there, but at least my seats were occupied by a die-hard fan and a newbie to the game - hopefully we got a new Caps fan (or two, or three, or four ...) out of that victory!! BTW, I thought I saw Pothier out there at one point - I am clearly losing my mind (again!).

On a different note, I tried to pull a Dave and watch the highlights without looking at the score. I was successful getting there, however the highlights started with BB's post-game interview. I had the sound off so what he said didn't give anything away, but his big cheesey grin sure did! :-) He's like a proud papa these days, huh?

Kitty:
That, too! ;-) There is nothing wrong with anything that you've said - I don't recall anything offensive, at all. Let's just say that you can clearly hang with the big boys! :-) My apologies again if I said anything offensive.

Posted by: HeyBooBoo | December 11, 2008 2:33 AM | Report abuse

Forgot to ask, what was everyone's assessment of Osala?

Also, from the previous ...

richmondphil:
Welcome to the circus! :-) Don't worry about Flash - he's not going any place. BB has a real thing for him. I didn't get it last season, but he's really stepped up his game this season. There is no way that they are going to let someone who is performing go.

mauree:
I liked Jurcina when he got here (i.e. for just the end of that season), but he has not been performing since. Obviously I did not see him play against the Bruins so I can't assess that game, but I know that he has the potential. Besides, he is probably extra motivated against the Bs since they did not play him much and then traded him away. He probably feels like he's got something to prove.

BTW, mauree, when did you take to slapping girls?!? ;-)

-Boo!

Posted by: HeyBooBoo | December 11, 2008 2:49 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton

Since when does the number of hits make you a better defensemen?

You show your lack of a hockey acumen when making those statements.

Here are some numbers for you.

23, 24, 28, 23, 14...

You want to know what those numbers stand for?

Those are the number of hits registered by the last 5 Norris Trophy winners, for the YEAR.

Lidstrom for the 1st 3, then Alzner's number sake, Scott Neidermeyer, then Lidstrom again.

Both Lidstrom and Neidermeyer are players he models himself after. Playing defense doesnt mean hitting. Some players would rather hit to play defense, some choose to play the position and stick game. Neither way is wrong, big difference is when you hit how can you pass the puck?

Here is a video of Alzner saying he models his game after Lidstrom, not Chara, not Stevens, not Phaneuf.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2cndy_karl-alzner-press-conference-2007-n_sport

Yes, Alzner does have a number of giveaways, but the kid is 20 and is 3rd in the league amoung rookies on ATOI. If you look at the other rookies that are leaders in TOI they have a number of GA too. Drew Doughty, Luke Schenn, Luca Sbisa and Alex Goligoski, if you don't know who those players are. Plus, our system does require a lot from the blueliners as far as bringing up the puck, none of the aforementioned players play in our style of hockey.

Why do people try to test me? I live for this stuff.

Posted by: JSchon | December 11, 2008 6:14 AM | Report abuse

this is precisely what i talk about when i trash three-or-more. This was a classic 2-1 game that theodore is incapable of winning. If you do not have the goaltending to keep you in a low-scoring game then you can forget about drinking from the cup. and finally a little leadership at the blue line. Poti was in your face all night, Jurcina did not take a stupid penalty tonight and Alzner was solid, and we win 3-1. if Three-or-more plays we lose 5-2. Now, if we can just get better on the road, we will truly become a force that will have to be dealt with. I just hope Johnson's hip can hold up.

Posted by: ergoroc | December 11, 2008 6:31 AM | Report abuse

Just calm down, OK?

"Theo will get his chance to get in again [so] I don't have a controversy by any stretch," Boudreau said. "You want to ride the hot hand, and Johnny's hot right now."

Posted by: Section117 | December 11, 2008 6:52 AM | Report abuse

Please BB if Three-or-more has to play, let him play on the road. A loss on TV is not as hard to take as a loss at home. I really don't care what we are paying him, he should get no more than 10 games the rest of the way. Let him lose when Johnny needs a rest!

Posted by: majiksea | December 11, 2008 7:15 AM | Report abuse

F.R.E.D.

Posted by: Section117 | December 11, 2008 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Johnsons hip keeps acting up. We can not play him 75% of the time of he will be on the shelf.

Jose is going to have to play. We are looking at a 60% Johnson, 40% Theodore split. Face it.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 11, 2008 7:26 AM | Report abuse

@ caps28fan:

Alzner doesn't have to go back as long as Clark remains on LTIR. Clark's cap replacement value lets them keep Osala and Alzner, while Collins gets to stay as long as Schultz is out. I don't have Osala's cap figure, but as long as it is less than $858K, those three are less than Clark + Schultz.

JSchon has what he lives for and I have my numbers.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 11, 2008 7:30 AM | Report abuse

I still think the team might trade Morrisonn rather than risk losing Sloan, also gaining cap space with that equation. However, this is moot so long as Erskine is out (if Erskine goes on LTIR, Sloan can stay the whole time). You could also trade Jurcina to keep Sloan. I don't think they want to lose Sloan, although he did make one bad play last night that led to a goal.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 11, 2008 7:36 AM | Report abuse

aww no mention of Collins? I thought he had a great game, and contributed to the win with some good plays.

I liked when Alzner kept the crease clear for the rebound - picked up by Joe and Laughlin. That kind of stuff and mentality - that's what we need and frankly lack many times.

@Boo!
heh if they deserve it... or they like it ;-)

Posted by: mauree | December 11, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Good win by the Caps. Johnson played really well. The Caps got a nice lift by getting Poti, Semin, oh yeah and Sloan back. Seeing Semin do his thing and Ovechkin putting Chara on his keester was worth the price of admission alone. :)

@JSchon
I don't think you're going to get anywhere with cstanton. I've had the same types of discussions with people. People like Erskine because he hits. The fact that he is slow and gets beat by speedy wingers doesn't seem to bother them. What I (we?)want is defensemen that do their job of limiting the other teams scoring abilities. Good luck with your arguments.

BTW, I saw Alzner make a very heady play last night in front of the net to box out the other team's forward at the exact right time (when his team mate shot). If there had been a rebound the Bruins player would not have been able to get a stick on it. It is the little things like that which IMHO will one day make him a highly regarded NHL defenseman.

p.s. Alzner's breakouts have steadily improved. If he continues to improve his turnovers will no longer be a topic.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFederov | December 11, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

@betteroffwithfedorov

I don't know why I do it, maybe because I can?

Part of me really wants to improve the intelligence in here, since I do spend a good chunk of my free time in here.

Only trying to help.

Posted by: JSchon | December 11, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Part of me really wants to improve the intelligence in here, since I do spend a good chunk of my free time in here.

Only trying to help.

Posted by: JSchon | December 11, 2008 8:36 AM
-------------------------------------------
How's that working out for you?

Posted by: Section117 | December 11, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

@JSchon
You do an awesume job at breaking it all done to the facts and figures. Always nice reading your comments.

As Ron White says " You just can't fix stupid" ;)

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 11, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

It's funny for me to see how the incredible goaltending by Johnny and the positive result has made everyone forget about some terrible mistakes we made on D last night.

That's what great goaltending does. Had Theo been in net those could have easily ended up being goals, the Bruins would have won and you'd all be writing here how bad our D was. Just saying.

That's what I've been saying all the time. When you get timely saves, even on chances on which a goalie could not be blamed for a goal, it makes all the difference.

As for my other observations... I was making these during the game last night, but to summarize:

1. Collins had a whale of a game again. Aside from doing his own thing (once making an amazing diving play to save an almost sure goal off a cross ice pass) he cleaned up for at least 4 major screw-ups by Mo. It looked like Collins was the vet in that pairing last night. I'd love to see him stay up. He's done absolutely nothing wrong. Very good outlet passes and he holds on to the puck even under tremendous pressure or when getting hammered. His positioning has also been absolutely flawless.

2. Alzner was also excellent.

3. Semin looked great in his return from injury.

4. Osala was OK. Hesitant and unsure of what to do a few times when he had an open lane coming down the wing in the neutral zone. Seemed afraid to make a mistake. Needs a few more games on this level to gain confidence and do what he does in Hershey. Having said that good board work on Giroux's goal by him.

5. Giroux scored and played pretty well overall.

6. Sloan was pretty good, but made a major mistake that could have easily cost us a goal, but was bailed out by Johnny.

7. What can you say about Jonnhy. #1 star of the game. Best goaltending performance of the year up to now. The Bruins created more than enough great chances to win this game.

Posted by: ranndino | December 11, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

"Jonhson: It ain't just his sweater that's '#1'"

@JSchon:

Agreed, Most fans expect d-men to mainly hit and forwards to mainly score goals, but IMHO good two-way players--forwards & d-men alike--need to do both as the situation dictates.

Besides, I wouldn't worry too much about our D hitting people...if we really need more of that on the blueline, maybe we can get Brendan Witt back for Erskine & picks (LOL).

Leave the hitting to OV (did you SEE him clean out Chara?!?!); he has, like 100 hits for the season TO DATE and is--I think--3rd in the whole NHL in that category...yet he scores goals "too" ;-)

Great win--I always love it when we win against teams the "smart money" says we're not supposed to beat.

Let that sink in, folks: we **still** have over a half-dozen key players out with injuries and nevertheless managed to frustrate the 'hottest' team in the Eastern Conference. Once we get a few more guys back healthy (Green, Feds, Fleischman) just watch out!

The next best thing to seeing the Caps win (live or on TV)?

Watching "NHL On The Fly" afterwards and hearing (non-Caps partisans) ACTUALLY TAKE THE CAPS SERIOUSLY!

In Bruce We Trust

'nuff said.

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 11, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

BTW, the Boston commentators mentioned this last night and I thought it would be good food for thought. Brent Johnson spent only one season as the #1 NHL netminder. It was the 2001-02 season with St. Louis. Check out his regular season stats from that year:

Games Played 58 Wins 34 Losses 20 Ties 4 Minutes Played 3491 Goals Allowed 127 Shutouts 5 GAA 2.18 Save % .902

Posted by: ranndino | December 11, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Whoever called Theo "Three or more", that was pretty funny.

Johnny's been playing great. I've been really impressed with him on and off the ice this year. Remember at the end of last year he rode the pressbox. He came back to town pumped and ready to compete for #1, a hard sell when they are paying someone else a couple million to be the guy. I got to hand it to him. He looks like he's been made redundant and then goes out and ups his game - now that's a professional athlete.

I think we've clearly entered co-#1 territory. They'll alternate on back-to-back nights, and Theodore will eventually get the chance to shoulder more load, either because of Johnson's hip, or because of he cools off.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | December 11, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Rhino40,

You'd be glad to know that the Boston announcers were more than taking the Caps seriously. They were singing us praises all game long. Before the game, during their preview they said that even with all the injuries the Caps are a very dangerous team and should provide one of the stiffer tests for the Bruins. During the game they also mentioned how impressed they were with the atmosphere at Verizon center and said that they're happy to see that the Caps fans are back in force.

They also said that just like the Bruins organization the Caps blew up their roster after the lockout, which meant a few tough years, but look at where both organizations are now. Now we both have very good teams with real depth in the organization. They talked about the same kind of continuity in the minors for both clubs that allows farm hands to come up and contribute.

Overall, they showed a great deal of respect for everything the Caps are doing all throughout the broadcast last night.

Posted by: ranndino | December 11, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Aside from the last 10 minutes of the 2nd period, this was one of the most solid games I have seen from the Caps all year. It was heartening to see the D step up last night. Collins, Juice, Alzie and Poti all had excellent games. And of course, Johnny was the man.

Caps offense looked to be trying to break out and that was certainly helped by having Sasha back. i watched him in warmups and he looked elated to be back.

EVReYTHING IS GOING TO BE FINE!!!!!

Posted by: doughless | December 11, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

@ jess4caps

I also thought some of the guys looked fatigued after the first period. In particular, Semin was very strong early in the game, but faded as the game went on. That's not altogether unsurprising considering it was his first night back after a (fairly) lengthy injury and all the minutes OV's line plays.

Johnson was stellar (again), but the most surprising thing to me was how well Jurcina played. He's been a disaster for most of the season, but over the last few games his positioning and overall play have improved. Last night, Juice used his size to manhandle Boston's forwards.

The Jurcina - Alzner pairing is working well and that is another reason not to send Alzner back to Hershey.

Posted by: noptov | December 11, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

agree about the Juice-Alzner line. they are a great duo. Juice definitely used his sixe last night.

Posted by: doughless | December 11, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Lots of mistakes made in the game that could have cost us, but BJ held fast except for one goal. Summary says 18 give aways, but they missed a few (Ovechkin coughed up the puck more than once but they never seem to record all of his GV).
Sloan should have been even on the +/- because he was on the line & moved the puck up (which resulted in Giroux's goal). He changed, Alzner came on after the play, Poti stayed on and Alzner and Poti got the +. I only saw 2 Sloan GV's, one that resulted in an unfortunate goal, but he was solid the rest of the game -- blocked 3 shots last night and 6 in the last game he played (all of which could have been goals). I like that he gets the puck out of the zone quickly, his passes are crisp, he wins 9.5 out of 10 scrums along the boards and has only had two penalties. He's had 19 NHL games ... not 10 YEARS, 6 YEARS or 4 YEARS .. so he's looking good to me. Except for the penalty, Collins played pretty solid too. Good win!

Posted by: gogetem | December 11, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Alz benefits from playing with Juice who simply cleans out players all over the ice esp lately

Poti's return to me is a lot more key than Mike Green. Poti is a steadying influence and he plays well in his own end. Greenie is all high risk high reward. He'll give you 3 points in a game and somehow still end up being on the ice for 2 or 3 goals against. And when he turns the puck over repeatedly it kills the flow and chemistry on this team which currently is playing pretty decent defensive hockey considering who's in there

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 11, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

ranndino,

you must of watched the center ice broadcast too!

Posted by: bryaningrocery | December 11, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

"You'd be glad to know that the Boston announcers were more than taking the Caps seriously.." - Ranndino

Agree. And just as important, to me, it is a pleasure listening to a real play-by-play guy.

Posted by: opita | December 11, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see what Osala can do next game. He wasn't used very much this game and didn't seem very loose. Now that he's got a game in it would be good to see him in front of the net on the 2nd PP line and crashing the net on some offensive zone faceoff wins. Could work pretty well against the Sens, since they got rid of Chara their D hasn't really been able to move guys from the slot.

I thought Alzner and Collins had great games last night. Alzner was great at relieving pressure in their end. Not as great at settiing up fast breakouts but sometimes that isn't what you need. He wouldn't have tried the play that caused Boston's goal. With a minute to go that puck should have just been controlled against the wall instead of trying to poke it ahead.

Posted by: Stu_c | December 11, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

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