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Caps 4, 'Bolts 2

A win is a win is a win. Right?

Well not really. The Capitals pulled out a 4-2 win over Olie Kolzig and the Lightning tonight, but Coach Bruce Boudreau wasn't all that happy with the effort, particularly after the first period.

He watched his Capitals get outshot 18-6 in an ugly second period that easily could have cost them the game had it not been for goalie Brent Johnson, who was outstanding again, making 34 saves.

"We weren't very good," Boudreau said, referring to the second period. "You never want to diss a win. So it was a good win. We must have done some good stuff. But it was frustrating because the Rangers game was so good and we played so well -- everybody -- for 60 minutes. We're going to have to play like that if we want to succeed."

Other notes and quotes:

*Kolzig was welcomed with a warm round of applause during warm-ups and a standing ovation during the video tribute. He yielded goals on the Caps' first two shots and three of their first seven, but the crowd resisted the urge to get on him -- early, at least.

"I'm not going to lie and say I wasn't nervous," Kolzig said. "But that really didn't have anything to do with spotting them three goals. It was a bad start."

*Johnson is 3-0-1 in the past four games and has a .951 save percentage in that span. Sounds like No. 1 numbers to me.

*Boudreau singled out the line of Brooks Laich-David Steckel-Eric Fehr for their play tonight. The trio combined on Fehr's first goal of the season. Fehr also was awarded the hardhat.

"That was by far our best line," Boudreau said. "When we play with energy and you outwork the other team, you're gonna have success. They scored once, but they easily could have scored 2 or 3."

*Mike Green's goal was his fifth of the season, but first at even strength.

*Alex Ovechkin ended a career-long nine game goal drought. The goal was set up by Alexander Semin. But the two of them were singled out by Boudreau for being too cute. Again.

"In the second period, Alexander Semin might be leading the league in scoring, but he's got the puck between the hashmarks and [passes] to [Nicklas] Backstrom," he said. "He's got as good a shot as there is in hockey. Use it. [Semin] and [Ovechkin] were way too cute tonight."

Ovechkin, did, however have a highlight reel hit on Vinny Prospal behind the Lightning goal in the opening minutes. Kolzig, by the way, was the 55th goalie Ovechkin has scored on. Kolzig was also hit in the mask by the star winger late in the first period.

*Despite his minus-3 rating, I thought former Cap Steve Eminger didn't look that bad tonight.

*There is no practice tomorrow, but injured veterans Viktor Kozlov, Segei Fedorov and Shaone Morrisonn are expected to hit the ice. Kozlov and Morrisonn could be ready for Wednesday's game in Carolina, I'm told, and Fedorov is aiming for the weekend.

*The Caps are now 6-0-1 at home this season.

*The Caps' six-game winning streak over the Lightning is the longest in series history.

*'Bolts winger Ryan Malone left the game after two shifts with a lower body injury and did not return. Speaking of the Lightning, Vinny Lecavalier still doesn't look fully recovered from the shoulder injury he suffered late last season against the Caps.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 11, 2008; 12:00 AM ET
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I agree that the second and third periods did not look all that great, although the third looked better than the second. The second was downright sloppy and they'd best not do that against Carolina on Wednesday. I guarantee that Carolina will be looking for blood, and slop will cost us two points.

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

I agree with the recap. We need to get uglier and drive the net more often. The power play is absolutely painful to watch. Maybe BB should just put in a regular line on the PP. We get better pressure on regular shifts than we do with the PP... Still, we won, I guess I should be happy.

Posted by: isaacc7 | November 11, 2008 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Nice to see the Caps and their fans honor Kiolzig the way he deserved to be honored tonight-with class. It could have been a real interesting game if the Bolt's played the first period like they did in the second and third. Johnny continues to shine in net. Thanks Tarik for all the extar coverage on tonight's game. It was a special game and you delivered.

Posted by: Riddler1 | November 11, 2008 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Also, re: bringing back our injured folks. I see no reason to rush. Make sure they're healthy. Sloan/Poti seems to be a smokin' combo, and maybe it's me but I'm not in any hurry to send Sloan back to Hershey.

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

I was pleased with the way the Caps fans treated Olie. It was respectful (aside from a few idiots) but we cheered just as loud as normal when we scored. When that third goal went in I actually started feeling bad for Olie. I wonder if some of the Caps subconsciously felt bad and held back later in the game? Probably not but they did not look the same in the second and most of the third.

OV and Semin have both passed up on glorious chances to shoot.

Clark flat out missed the puck on several scoring chances when it was passed his way. Seems like he has a long way to go to get his touch back.

My section (404) thought the puck went in when it must have hit both posts and bounced out. Play was stopped and we all assumed it was going to get reviewed, but it was stopped to fix a broken glass pane. Anybody else think the puck went in? What were they saying on TV?

Posted by: SombreroGuy | November 11, 2008 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Tom Poti is my favorite defenseman and Brent Johnson is my favorite goalie.

Posted by: _jordan | November 11, 2008 12:30 AM | Report abuse

It didn't go in, the replay showed it bouncing off of both posts and then out. he was sooooo close!

Posted by: isaacc7 | November 11, 2008 12:30 AM | Report abuse

And when OV finally scored, you could feel a ton of tension in the crowd dissipate. There also seemed to be louder cheering than usual for a nail in the coffin type goal.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | November 11, 2008 12:31 AM | Report abuse

I too wondered if some of the Caps lightened up on Olie in the 2nd and 3rd. BB is right: Semin and AO need to shoot more and stop looking for the fancy pass. At least Ovie's drought is over. Hope he gets back to a point per game again.

Posted by: CAP-lanta | November 11, 2008 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Eminger -3.
Great trade so far.

Posted by: oo7 | November 11, 2008 12:55 AM | Report abuse

i don;t want to diss the coach but the main stat is...we won. ya maybe we were less then favorable after the first, but we still won. ok start a new game plan for next time and tell our guys to always keep the pressure but don;t try to negate a great win. johnny was amazing per usual. nice to see ovie break the drought, but i could've cared less if he hadn;t scored as long as he did everything he's been doing (crashing the net, setting up passes, playing smart and throwing the body around) if we keep winning and ovie doesn;t score, i'm ok with that. i love my Caps!!! kuddos to Olie for staying in there after the first. God i love that goalie.

Posted by: capsfan387 | November 11, 2008 4:18 AM | Report abuse

powerplay hurts. bad. too much skating with the puck. the puck needs to be moved faster. I will say that at least the caps are TRYING to shoot now. When they had the rare opportunity to set up, they forced the one-timer to OV on the point. I don't think any of them got through, but baby steps are better than none. I'd like to see a set powerplay with fast pre-planned passes and little skating with the puck, I do see a powerplay starting to shoot with OV at the point, I used to see a powerplay that couldn't gain the zone. progression is better than regression I guess. Maybe they'll get there by February at this pace.

Posted by: hsk8er6 | November 11, 2008 6:17 AM | Report abuse

My first star was Johnson, who played great technically. Several times he came way out and cut down the angle perfectly. He's playing with Confidence, with a capital "C." 2nd star was Erskine, who must've broken up a half dozen plays with stick checks and one real nice positional butt check behind the Caps goal. He did the butt check the way OV does it, slamming into the boards and outmanuevering the opposition. 3rd star maybe Poti for setting the tone or you give it to Gary Roberts for two goals.

Sombrero Guy: Yes, the puck on that one shot did a pinball off both posts.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 11, 2008 6:24 AM | Report abuse

What I saw with the "cute" was Ovechkin and Semin trying to give Backstrom a goal. It did feel to me like they were holding back. If they hadn't, it would have been a positive slaughter, and I don't think anyone wanted to do that to Kolzig. The second goal against Johnson was a fluke. It got behind him, and he lost track of where it was, but other than that, that boy has the HAWT hands! Go Johnny, GO!!!

Posted by: irockthered | November 11, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse


Fehr (my boy) played a great game last night. He dominated the game for a few moments. I really, really, really hope he gets in more games.

Interesting stats.
Fehr 1G 2A +2 in 5 games AVG TOI = 8:50
Kozlov 1G 2A -1 in 9 games AVG TOI = 13:43
Clark 0G 1A -2 in 13 games AVG TOI = 12:27

Let me bust out my calculator...
Fehr, in 45 minutes of play, has 1G 2A +2, so basically, Semin plays about 22 minutes per game.

Kozlov and Clark have combined for a total of 287 minutes of ice time and have produced 1 more assist than Fehr and are a -3.

Where is the justice?


Posted by: JSchon | November 11, 2008 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Agreed, Fehr was a beast out there. Sloan did well as well by keeping it simple.

I think the Caps deliberately lightened up on Olie in the second two frames. The Caps had his number, and EVERYBODY in that arena knew it. There was no reason to turn it into a bloodbath, and had the Caps continued as they did in the first frame, an absolute bloodbath it would most assuredly have been.

I think there was also some of trying to get the puck to Ovi and Backstrom so they could score. Ovi did, and that was very, very good, but it wasn't the pretty goal I was hoping for.

Honestly, as long as they bring it on Wednesday and are willing to utterly humiliate Carolina as much as they can, I'm okay with what happened last night.

Posted by: kittypawz | November 11, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

If we play like we did in the first on Weds we're golden.

If we play like we did in the second we're toast.

I agree with the comments somewhere above, it really looked like some cute passes trying to set up Nick.

Posted by: Steve_R | November 11, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

I like Fehr, but this is where you have to be careful -- he was a beast against the Lightning. I think he needs a really strong game against a really strong team before he's going to get regular ice time. I hope that Kozlov is ready to go, but I'm also sorry that that probably means that Fehr is the odd one out again. And Sloan is probably on his way back down, too.

It was so, so good to see Ovechkin get that one -- you could just see the relief spread across his face as the building positively exploded (I was cheering pretty damn loudly myself). I hope that the floodgates are now open, and that the fear of O spreads around the NHL, again.

And what is this crap about making that last ditch pass? How do you expect to score if you don't freakin' shoot?!

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 11, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Hey Drinking Partner...

Fehr notched 2 assists against PIT, and Tampa has allowed the fewest goals in our division, they stink however.

So far Fehr has played in 5 games.

He isnt getting beat, he isn't a defensive liability, he hustles and plays sound... He also doesnt get the benefit of playing with our top C's either.

You may be right in your assessment that Fehr is going to the odd man out, but the numbers do not lie here, he is outplaying both Kozlov and Clark, period.

Posted by: JSchon | November 11, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Kozlov and Clark have points against...

ATL, DAL, NSH and VAN...

I dont know about you but getting 2 assists vs PIT is far more impressive than scoring goals against Western conference teams and disappearing against conference foes.

Posted by: JSchon | November 11, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I don't think that the CAPS eased up to save face for Olie. I think Barry gave the Bolts a good ole a$$ chewing after the first and they stepped up there game a bit. The CAPS seem to not want to play a full 60 for whatever reason, they did play better in the third period after a awefull second. Wed. night is another one of them 4 point games....Go Caps!

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | November 11, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Johnny got sandwiched between a couple of Oilers last night on That's right, he took home the #2 star on a lite night of NHL action Monday.

Good point on the post above about Fehr being deserving of more playing time statistically. A deep roster helps when injuries hit and allows BB the luxury of sitting guys who are not playing as well as expected. I think at this point, the there are four forwrds who are struggling to meet their expected offensive
productivity this year-Kozlov, Backstrom, Clarke and Ovechkin. Injuries are a factor for both Kozlov and Clarke. Certainly, Fehr should be some sort of rotation with
these two so he's not missing more then a
game at a time until he either proves he's
NOT deserving of regular playing time or Kozlov or Clarke return to form. He's the future and needs to see the ice more especially when guys getting more playing time then he is are struggling to find threir names on the scoresheet.

Posted by: Riddler1 | November 11, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Can't really argue with Brent Johnson being the #1. He is in the top 5 of goalies in save percentage and GAA. I was really hoping the Caps wouldn't allow that last goal, but regardless, he played well.

Although does it pain anyone else to see 4.5 million riding the pine? The Caps need to figure something out of Johhny keeps this play up...we can't even call up our best option defenseman because of the salary cap.

Posted by: GoCaps08 | November 11, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

@Capsfannmiss: I agree Melrose probably gave them a chewing in the locker room, but the Caps also did what I have seen them do a few times this season...ease up when they have the lead. Also, there seemed to be major communication issues...they don't seem to know where each other will be on the ice. And they had the first 2 Power Plays, and got pass happy and honestly, didn't really seem to be trying to score.

BTW, are the Caps boards down?

Posted by: GoCaps08 | November 11, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

The Caps need to take Green off the first power play unit. He carries the puck from his end to the offensive end, then dumps the puck in the corner or loses possession when he's deep in the zone, leaving a forward (Ovie) as the lone man back to defend against a shorthanded rush the other way. Green's me-first attitude dimishes the potential of the skilled players on the first PP unit.

Joe B

Posted by: rw-c | November 11, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Is it just me but everytime I see Erskine behind out net with the puck I get nervous. Last night he turn 2 or three over to the bolts which should have been routine break outs.

Posted by: CalleJo | November 11, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Hi Tarik: Have you talked to Bruce about trying the following?

When Feds comes back, put Backstrom on 2nd with Fleishman and put Nyls as wing? I think Backstrom is shooting more, and Nyls could set him up and get him going. And Flash is fast and good shot to go with them?

And keep the Fehr-Steckel-Laich line...and sit Koz and Clark (like others have suggested)again and see what production we get.

Posted by: CapsRockTheRed | November 11, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Tarik, whats up with the Message Boards?!?!

Posted by: sfwinter | November 11, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse


Sure. Tarik will give you message to Bruce and he'll be sure to try what you're suggesting. Even though Nylander never plays as a wing, but what the heck.

What did I say? Ovechkin was going to score. Just had a feeling.

Fehr had probably his best game as a Capital. He just looked confident and finally showed me the potential people were saying he has. He hung on to the puck and made plays instead of just throwing it in the corner. Perhaps he read Semin's comments regarding "beautiful hockey". Sometimes when coaches here always preach to keep it simple I get really annoyed. Keeping it simple means taking the skill out of the game. It's funny how different the views on how to play the game are in Russia. If a player keeps throwing the puck in the corner he'll get benched and the coach will chew his head off for forgetting how to play.

Those that have suggested that the Caps let up on Olie might have a point. I really can't see another explanation for Ovie and Semin passing up golden chances to shoot from the slot. At 3-0 Kolzig was one goal away from getting pulled and it would have been very embarrassing.

Say what you will about how Tampa came out, but the truth is that just about every Caps shot in the 1st period went in. I'm glad Caps gave him a tribute, but I'm also glad he's playing for Tampa now. While you can't really blame him for the goals he didn't come up with the big saves either. In their previous game they got shelled by Philly, but were down only 0-1 after the first because Mike Smith stood on his head, as he's done all year.

Great game by Johnson again. Keep him between the pipes please until he has a real stinker. This might really get Jose motivated and maybe next time he's in he'll show us some of that MVP / Vezina form.

Posted by: ranndino | November 11, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

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