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Caps 4, Sabres 3 (OT)

As far as preseason openers go, the Caps and Sabres put on a pretty entertaining show Thursday night at HSBC Arena.

After producing a total of one goal through 40 minutes, the teams combined to score six times over the next 20:49, capped by defenseman Brian Pothier's five-on-three tally in overtime that lifted the Caps to a 4-3 win.

Alexandre Giroux, Mike Knuble and Jay Beagle also scored for the Capitals, who outshot the Sabres 33-23 and did not have a power play all game until the advantage Pothier converted 49 seconds into the extra session.

The story of the game -- at least early on -- was Semyon Varlamov's rebound from a rough showing Wednesday during an intrasquad scrimmage. The young goalie was outstanding through 40 minutes, stopping all 17 shots he faced, including a breakaway and a pair of post-to-post one-timers from point-blank range. Varlamov, though, yielded three goals on six shots in the third period as the game opened up.

"I think Varly was outstanding the first two periods," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "They got [three] in the third, but I thought he was really good."

Other folks who impressed:

*The line of Chris Bourque, Beagle and Andrew Gordon brought it tonight. Gordon set up Beagle's third-period goal, which came 23 seconds after a Sabres goal and forced overtime. Bourque was credited with an assist on the winner.

"They were a real sparkplug for us," Boudreau said of the trio.

*Defenseman Tyler Sloan was steady all night and finished with a whopping five blocked shots.

*Good night in the faceoff circle for Nicklas Backstrom (63 percent), Brendan Morrison (68 percent) and Beagle (70 percent). As a team that Caps won 62 percent of their draws against a Sabres squad that featured a significant number of its regulars.

*As advertised, Knuble does his best work about six inches from the goal line. Late in the third, he crashed the net and redirected a pass from Backstrom with his thigh past Jhonas Enroth. Knuble also went down to block a shot on the power play.

"You see what you're getting from Mike Knuble, which you have got to like," Boudreau said.

*Speaking of Backstrom, he earned the first star of the game, notching a pair of assists and taking a game-high five shots on goal.

*Alex Giroux, who scored an AHL-record 75 goals last season (regular season and playoffs), still knows how to score. He got the first goal of the game when he went to the net and tapped in a spectacular crossing pass from Morrison past Patrick Lalime.

"Giroux may not look pretty, but he finds openings where he's two-on-one-ing," Boudreau said. "He's got that sense of where to go where the puck is free. He seems to be open a lot."

*Boudreau also praised defensemen Jeff Schultz and Pothier for rock-solid performances. Schultz took three shots on goal, blocked a pair and logged a game high 22:46 of ice time.

*Morrison got checked hard into the boards from behind by defenseman Mike Weber with about 14 seconds remaining in regulation. Morrison went down and stayed down, though he eventually got up. Boudreau said he's "okay."

*"There were a lot of good things," Boudreau said of the game. "In the third period, even though they got three goals, we were the dominant team, which was good."

*For a while, the scoreboard here read: "Buffalo vs. Boston." But that wasn't the weirdest thing; Sabres goalie Patrick Lalime and one of the linesmen had cameras on top of their helmets.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  September 17, 2009; 10:34 PM ET
 
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Next: Afternoon Reading: Laing Looks to Rebound

Comments

Interesting that BB thinks that Schultz did good today. I only got to listen to the third but the announcer for Buffalo made it sound like the second goal was his fault and I heard that there was at least on play earlier that Schultz looked out of place on.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 17, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/8812/memen.jpg

As posted on the Caps message board.

Posted by: madflava | September 17, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

like i called it 3 months ago. a Bourque-Beagle-Bradley line would be amazing!!!! now I don;t think beagle has a shot of cracking the team this year, bourque still should be #1 even ahead of giroux.

BOURQUE!!!

Posted by: capsfan387 | September 18, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone see Fanny's hit on Okposo? Destroyed him.

Posted by: richmondphil | September 18, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Forwarding from the previous thread:

newbiecapsfan, I wasn't directing anything at you. I got hammered for voicing criticism of the teams ownership and general manager and stating that I thought the defense was lacking. I just am getting a little pleasure out of seeing one of the people who threw that at me getting a bit of it back. I believe it is called Schadenfraude.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | September 18, 2009 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Interesting that BB thinks that Schultz did good today. I only got to listen to the third but the announcer for Buffalo made it sound like the second goal was his fault and I heard that there was at least on play earlier that Schultz looked out of place on.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 17, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

There was a play in the second period where the Buffalo color commentator (I was listening to the Buffalo radio feed) said (paraphrasing): What is Schultz doing. He is in the corner with no pressure and he backhanded it right to a Sabre.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | September 18, 2009 12:55 AM | Report abuse

The cameras MUST be a part of Obama's Liberal-Nazi-Communist-Islamist-Terrorist-Black Panther plot to enslave all Americans, but especially the white ones who love Jesus, and make them work as nurse-slaves for homeless non-citizens who get their facelifts paid for by the Obamist Soviet Socialist Republic of America government.

Posted by: large23220 | September 18, 2009 1:24 AM | Report abuse

heres a video of the hit from phaneuf on puck daddy

http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy

Posted by: capsfan387 | September 18, 2009 3:52 AM | Report abuse

Goal highlights from the Buffalo site: http://sabres.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?type=fvod&id=1

Posted by: tmac2yao | September 18, 2009 5:13 AM | Report abuse

I am going to guess that it was BMo who received the dirty check from behind that created the 5-3 advantage. Some of the reports have indicated ShaMo but I don't think ShaMo was in the line-up. An update on BMo would be cool.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 18, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

@icehammer97

Are we starting with the Sarge bashing already?

Give it a break man its old and quite frankly boring... at least let the guy get a couple regular season games under his belt this year.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | September 18, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock1

It was Brendan, and from what has been stated by Bruce he is ok.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | September 18, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Dion Phaneuf is a worthless punk. He's lucky Okposo isn't more seriously hurt. I'd like to see a suspension. If not, then Iginla needs to watch out. I think they only suspend Brashear for hits like that though.

Posted by: lornemyoung | September 18, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

If Semin was there, it would've been bongo time all over Mike Weber's face!

Posted by: tmac2yao | September 18, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

I agree with leaving Schultz he heck alone. NONE of us saw the game, however, BB did, and was very happy with his play. From http://capitals.nhl.com/club/recap.htm?id=2009010018&navid=wsh-home-dl

"By The Numbers – Jeff Schultz – who was also singled out for some postgame Boudreau praise – led all skaters on both sides with 22:42 in ice time …"

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 18, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

@icehammer97

Are we starting with the Sarge bashing already?

Give it a break man its old and quite frankly boring... at least let the guy get a couple regular season games under his belt this year.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | September 18, 2009 8:00 AM

yes we are starting the bashing. Aren't you kind of bashing by calling him Sarge.
I'll give him a couple of games, but he had better pick it up quick.

I agree with leaving Schultz he heck alone. NONE of us saw the game, however, BB did, and was very happy with his play. From http://capitals.nhl.com/club/recap.htm?id=2009010018&navid=wsh-home-dl

"By The Numbers – Jeff Schultz – who was also singled out for some postgame Boudreau praise – led all skaters on both sides with 22:42 in ice time …"

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 18, 2009 8:18 AM

just because he had lots of ice time does not mean he is playing well while out there
on the ice. if he is getting beat and coughing up the puck maybe he needs to sit.

Posted by: whiteltng | September 18, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

whiteltng: The fact that BB signled him out for PRAISE is good enough for me. The writer of the story stated that Schultz skated for 22:42. I listened to the game too and there was only 1 sequence during the entire game where they mentioned Schultz blowing a play. Since he was on the ice for 1/3 of the game, that's would indicate he was quietly performing. Some people want to take one five second stretch of a game and then make Schultz walk the plank.

I want all of our young players to play well but the only time I heard Carlson's name was when he was manhandled on the boards. First physical game against guys with NHL experience and poor Carlson was lit up. Some of the fans on here already want Carlson instead of Schultz and it doesn't look like it is in the cards just yet.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 18, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Hmm.
Its preseason game #1.
Nobody was able to see anything with their own eyes.
Everyone here has coached a NHL team to multiple Stanley Cups.

Yea. Guess were qualified to complain.

And Monkeys can fly outta.....

Posted by: jdhoover | September 18, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

@Jdhoover:

Gee, you missed some punctuation in We're! We better trade you for a stay at home Dman...

Posted by: jdhoover | September 18, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

@whiteltng

The only problem with your logic is that Boudreau praised his play which would tend to make me thing that he, you know, played well.

Posted by: ouvan59 | September 18, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

@jdhoover: Yeah but GMGM will screw that up just like the Nylander deal. Oh wait, the majority of Caps fans loved the Nylander deal when it went down, including me.

Now, if GMGM traded away a couple of prospects for picks next week, nad moved ShaMo, and shed enough salary to sign the stay at home DMan some say we need so bad for say 2.5mil, and he played like crap, GMGM would get blamed again by the same people that would be praising him at the time the deal was done.

Some people just aren't happy. I am psyched that the Caps have a legit shot at becoming a powerhouse for a few years and they won't need smoke and mirrors to make it happen.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 18, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

@jdhoover: I should have mentioned that I agreed with our posts just in case I carried my sarcasm too far. I am a GMGM, BB, Caps, and Caps player fan. Even though none of them need my help I tend to defend them when fans start to bash them.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 18, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I didn't watch this game, can someone answer this for me: How was it 5 on 3 in overtime? Isn't OT 4 on 4? Either there's a special rule in the preason or some nuance in the rules that I'm not aware of.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | September 18, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

@whiteltng

No im not Bashing him by calling him Sarge... from what I know.. its his nickname.

Second, How can you bash a guy who had the best cumulative +/- of any blueliner over the last 3 seasons?

I just don't get why you hate on the guy so much. sure he is young but I think this year you will see him get even better.

Will he be a big bruising D-man? Probably not but that's not his game and that's not what makes him an effective d.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | September 18, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

@fanofhock1

I am also psyched! I just got the new bottles of read and blue paint so it won't peel when I paint my head for the games.

anyway... I think we need to come up with generic template for every new comment section. Something to replace FIRST! Maybe like:

I think Mr GMLeonreau really screwed up and should trade Sgt ShaLanderEeenAdore for a CampoutStayatHomeGoalscoringGoalieIceMaker and a zamboni draft pick because our centers are so bad it makes the Ice crappy.

If we just start each column out with that, maybe we could get on with life.

Just sayin..

Posted by: jdhoover | September 18, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Watched the hit from Phaneuf. The man is a beast. Can't wait until the game in March.

But, the jump over the boards and go after a guy for a clean hit has got to stop. Sort of like when Sloan got beaten (in Calgary, I believe) for a clean, but big, hit.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | September 18, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

@oldtimehockey: If anytime during OT a shorthanded team gets called for an additional penalty, or starts the OT down 2 players, the referees set up a 5-3 at the start of OT, or the next whistle if OT has already started. If a penalty is killed the player still comes out of the box and they will play 5-4 until the next whistle assuming the 2nd pp doesn't end. At the next whistle if the team is still short one player a 4-3 will be set up again. This was put into the rules to insure a team that is down 4-3 did not take liberties on the team on the PP because 3 skaters is the least any team will ever be in the NHL. I hope that made sense.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 18, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I gotcha FanofHock. I too like to "Bash the Bashers". While I respect the rights of any Fan to complain, there are times it gets a bit eh..childish.

Posted by: jdhoover | September 18, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

It looks like Dawes pushed Okposo from behind and Okposo lost his balance, lowering his head as a result. Phaneuf then came in and delivered a blow to Okposo's head. I don't know whether there is a penalty in there somewhere, but it's certainly not a play that Phaneuf should be proud of - a blow to the head of a defenseless player.

Posted by: zmega | September 18, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Looks like a clean hit to me. He blindsided Okposo a little, but you can't fault Phaneuf for catching the kid with his head down. Dropped the shoulder and just labeled him.

Posted by: thiazzi | September 18, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

@fanhock. Thanks makes sense, and that's a good change if the interest is actually settling games in OT. Is that new this year, or did I just not see it or notice it last year?

Posted by: oldtimehockey | September 18, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Actually... one of us WAS there - ME! And I thought that - apart from that SINGLE blown play, Schultz did very well for himself out there. Everyone turns the puck over once in a while - even Alex Ovechkin turns the puck over. Give the man a break. It's the first pre-season game, and from the sound of y'all's critiques on Schultz, it was a 6-0 blowout loss rather than a 4-3 VICTORY.

My observations:

1) Game shouldn't have gotten to overtime. Varlamov was outstanding for the first two frames. He got beaten - badly - on two of the three goals he let in during the third. One he was flat on his backside, and the other, he went down too early, and they flipped the puck over him. I believe these were the first two goals (Pominville and MacArthur), though since I flew up to Buffalo yesterday afternoon and came back this morning, I am not completely sure; it could have been the second and third (MacArthur and Kennedy).

2) The Sabres iced a more experienced team. By more experienced, I mean that the players who played for the Sabres had more experience AS SABRES than the players who played for the Caps had AS CAPS.

While it is true that the players the Caps iced combined for a total of 3211 NHL games and the players the Sabres iced combined for a total of 2129, 1657 of the Caps' games came from two players: Brendan Morrison and Mike Knuble - both first year Caps. That's 51%, folks. OVER HALF of the total NHL games played by all the Caps on the ice were played by two players, and they are first-year Caps.

By contrast, the Sabres' top two players combined for 963 of their 2,129 games (45%). Derek Roy has played for the Sabres for his entire NHL career (6 seasons), and Jochen Hecht came from the St. Louis Blues to the Sabres the same year Derek Roy started.

Given those two points - and I can make more - I'd say the Caps' first 2009-2010 outing was quite successful, especially as it resulted in a win. :-)

Posted by: irockthered | September 18, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

3) The Caps enjoyed secondary scoring for two of their four goals, and their goal scoring came from three different lines:

Giroux-BMo-Clark
Knuble-Backstrom-{Pothier}
Beagle-Gordon
{Pothier}-Backstrom-Bourque

Giroux' goal was exactly what we've been begging for. It was a very pretty wrist shot from fairly close in off the wing. Knuble's was a tip-in from right by the goalie - exactly what he does best. Beagle scored on a wrist shot - I don't recall from exactly where. And Pothier's slap shot was from the high slot, right in front of the goalie.

4) The Caps killed all four penalties they were dealt, preventing the Sabres from scoring a power play goal. On the first and third, the Caps nearly scored short-handed.

5) When Buffalo took the first penalty, with under a minute to go and the game tied, I was fairly certain the Caps' power play could wrap the game up quickly; the second penalty, coming almost on top of the first, ensured the Sabres' doom.

Posted by: irockthered | September 18, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

irockthered--fascinating stats and observations. When I first saw the lineup for Buffalo yesterday I thought how great the depth was. To read that the new guys played well, including experienced NHLers and the "on the bubble" players, is icing on the cake.

Posted by: newbiecapsfan07 | September 18, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I was just saying the thing about Schultz was just interesting considering what I heard that is all. I have said in an earlier thread that I think Schultz gets a bad rap and needs to be traded not because he is bad but since he has so much pressure on him here in DC as every time he makes a mistake or two it get magnified like I did earlier. As for him getting a few regular season games under his belt I hope that doesn't happen. At best he does his job and doesn't get noticed. But we have so many defensemen that can give us so much more that I think the Caps would be better off if he never sees the ice this year. If he goes to the Bears and shows he can play well then his trade value goes up and maybe we can get something for him.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 18, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Thanks IRTR,
Glad to hear your observations.

Posted by: _Mark | September 18, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

We have Alzner, Green, Jurchina, Morrisonn, Poti, Pothier, and Erskine. That is 7 D that either have NHL experience and can play well for the team. The Caps need to trade a D man to get under the cap and Schultz might actually get something in return.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 18, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Yes, but Schultz doesn't free up any cap space. I think they will trade two of Mo, Poti, and Pothier....if they find any takers.

We have Alzner, Green, Jurchina, Morrisonn, Poti, Pothier, and Erskine. That is 7 D that either have NHL experience and can play well for the team. The Caps need to trade a D man to get under the cap and Schultz might actually get something in return.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 18, 2009 11:47 AM

Posted by: C-way | September 18, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Certainly we could get something in return for Schultz. What we don't get, as C-way notes, is enough savings on the cap. ShaMo fits the bill better than any of our D, I believe. He helps with the cap and is steady enough to be valuable to another team. Poti makes enough that he would be hard to deal and Pothier might not be desirable to other teams because of his injury history.

GMGM needs to find the right dance partner.

Posted by: _Mark | September 18, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

If you didn't watch the goal highlights yet, do so. Best one is a great play by Andrew Gordon to muscle a guy off the puck and put it right on Beagle's stick for the goal.

Posted by: thiazzi | September 18, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

@irockthered,

I like your analysis, but you clearly have way too much time on your hands. ;)

Posted by: oldtimehockey | September 18, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I just watched the highlights and to me none of the Saber goals looked like they were easy ins from Varly. The first goal he went for the first shot attempt after the pass from behind the net and it was the second guy who actually got the puck and scored. The second goal was a screen delfelection so there isn't really much Varly could have done on that one. And the final goal the guy was wide open in front for the one timer.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 18, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm just curious. What do people think we could get for a trade of one of our 7 defensemen. Everyone always talks about trading one and clearing cap space, I just want to see what people's expectations are on the return.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | September 18, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

icehammer: >> I think Schultz gets a bad rap and needs to be traded not because he is bad but since he has so much pressure on him here in DC as every time he makes a mistake or two it get magnified like I did earlier.

Thanks for your Nylander (circular/offside) input. Basically you're saying Schultz should be traded so that local simpletons will shut up. There's an easier way...

Posted by: redlineblue | September 18, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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