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Caps 6, Stars 5 (OT)

I don't even know where to start. That was crazy - for the fans watching at home and the sports writers in the pressbox who had to rewrite their stories about three times on deadline.

But I've got to start somewhere, so let's go with Sergei Fedorov.

*Fedorov became the all-time leader for goals scored by a Russian-born player with a pair tonight. He came in tied with Alexander Mogilny and now has 475.

"It was nice on a personal level," he said. "But we finally won a game. We give ourselves a good lead, 4-2, but we cannot hold on to it."

"It's just a record," Fedorov said. "I know his career was shortened by injury. I don't know if I would still get it if he was still playing. We're the same age, you know? He had a tremendous shot and great hands. Realistically, if he could have played more, I don't know if I could have reached his stats. He was a scoring machine."

*Alex Ovechkin still hasn't scored a goal in two weeks. He did, however, register an assist tonight, though he still looked a bit off. He was credited with four shots on goal. He also had two blocked.

*Tyler Sloan got his first NHL goal moments after getting "walked" at the other end. Sloan didn't have a great game defensively, but his goal, and the lingering nature of Tom Poti's groin muscle strain, will likely extend his stay in the NHL.

"I think he didn't want to come to the bench because I was screaming at him for getting walked on the original rush," Boudreau said. "But one of his great attributes is his legs."

Sloan said: "It's great, exciting. It's been a whirlwind trip, three cities, three time zones, first NHL game, first goal, it's been a great trip. I had to redeem myself" after missing a hip check on Loui Eriksson at the other end

*Poti told me after the game that he's hoping to start practicing soon, perhaps as early as Tuesday.

*There were so many goals tonight, Coach Bruce Boudreau thought the game ended 5-4. Hey, it happens.

*After allowing five goals Jose Theodore's save percentage - .887 - ranks 30th in the NHL. After yielding six goals, Marty Turco's save percentage - .842 - ranks 41st out of 42 goalies.

I thought the goalies had two completely different performances. Theodore did the best he could behind a shaky defense; Turco, save for a few big stops, just wasn't very good.

Boudreau agreed.

"When you get good goaltending and you score four goals, you should be able to win in regulation," he said.

*Center Boyd Gordon won 13 of 17 faceoffs (76 percent). At one point he was 11 for 11.

*Boudreau gave Chris Clark only 11:19 of ice time, Clark's lowest total since the Chicago game.

*At 3-5-1, Stars Coach Dave Tippett has seen enough from a team many think/thought can/could win the West.

"The goals against is a joke right now. Our goaltending hasn't been very good. It's great to get a point, but if we keep playing like this, there won't be a lot of points. "

*Is this the year Tomas Fleischmann breaks out? I know it's early, but sure starting to look like he's finally up to NHL speed. He scored twice tonight and almost got a hat trick late in the third when he had a shot clang off the post.

*Alexander Semin, with 14 points in eight games, moved into a tie with Evgeni Malkin for the league lead.

The Caps are not practicing on Sunday. So I'll check in from Monday's practice at KCI.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  October 26, 2008; 12:22 AM ET
 
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Comments

Semin is a machine. Every time he does something like this I see it described as 'stepping into Ovechkin's place,' or something like that. I even seem to remember Boudreau saying he had the benefit of hitting behind Ovechkin, to use a baseball metaphor.

While some of that is true, I think he deserves more credit. We always knew he was wildly talented. He was just an inconsistent, sometimes-selfish player who could be counted on to fill a role, but not provide leadership.

For whatever reason, that's completely changed this year. He's playing intelligently, selflessly, and better than he ever has before. He's quite a talent.

Posted by: threesilhouettes | October 26, 2008 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Tarik. Fedorov did look great (except in the penalty box) & he had some help especially from Semin.

Posted by: uncatim | October 26, 2008 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Judging from the comments from the previous game before this one, and how people were all bitter about regretting watching it to the end... I wonder how many of you missed the end of the game tonight.

It was an entertaining game to watch for sure.

Posted by: MNMNT | October 26, 2008 1:17 AM | Report abuse

What is wrong with Chris Clark? He looks terrible this year.

Posted by: VegasCapsFan | October 26, 2008 1:17 AM | Report abuse

I really believe the caps are in trouble.the game shouldn't have been close.Two misses late @ wide open nets.This is what I said last year and its showing this year; our D is terrible. No way should madano be that wide open in front at the end of a game or any point. Thats why were horrible on the PK as well

As said it before and say it again. We need to take our dept up front and make a trade for depth on the blue line cause it sucks. We can pencil erskine for 2-3 penalties a game and blown assignments.

Posted by: smartfan | October 26, 2008 1:18 AM | Report abuse

@smartfan- (so to speak)

Ragging on Erskine?? I know it's the vogue thing right now with the "negative Nancy" posters such as yourself having all jumped off the Jose bandwagon of hate and onto the Erskine one sense he signed a contrat deemed to rich in lenth and dollars for their liking. He had a shade under 19 minutes of ice, had an assist and was plus one. I don't know of a Dman in the league who would get critized other then Erskine for a performace like that in a wildly open game with plenty of lax defensive coverage on both sides. But yeah, lets single him out in a game the Caps just won for more hate (Insert the icon with the rolling eyes here)

Posted by: Riddler1 | October 26, 2008 1:39 AM | Report abuse

@smartfan- (so to speak)

"We can pencil erskine for 2-3 penalties a game and blown assignments."

Wow...No blown assignments that I saw or penality minutes. Did you watch the game?

Posted by: Riddler1 | October 26, 2008 1:49 AM | Report abuse

tarik, I know you are reporting what BB said, but explain what "Walked" means. I have an idea, but I would like to know BB's explanation.

Semin has always been great, some people just don't appreciate or understand his game, same as Nyls.

Fleischmann is coming along, I think he is taking advantage of the great play of Nylander, I hope they stay together.

Congratulation to BB for taking OV off the point in the PP, it was a long time overdue.

Posted by: x1232 | October 26, 2008 2:31 AM | Report abuse

So, uh, does anyone think Feds should still be on D now? :)

Posted by: WVPhil | October 26, 2008 2:58 AM | Report abuse

What's up with the playing time for Nyls? Seems to me that he's one of the better players on the team at the moment with a bunch of players struggling. Why doesn't Boudreau play him more (12:12 last game!!!)?

Posted by: suckyclimber | October 26, 2008 4:23 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, I was sick last night and stopped watching in the second period to head to bed ... sigh, I missed the most exciting game of the year! At least we won!

Now I won't get to watch a Capitals game for a week ... thanks to Versus and their stupid blackout policy, the Nashville-Washington game on Tuesday isn't televised.

*formerly known as Caps fan in TN*

Posted by: Cerealman | October 26, 2008 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Walked - to get skated around as if in a stationary or fixed position, similar to a cone. Also see: jocked, jobbed

Posted by: Roose | October 26, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Walked = what happens to Erskine on a nightly basis

Posted by: robblahs | October 26, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Just to let you know, the headline on the main page is wrong. It should read "Caps Win in Overtime".

Posted by: sparks3 | October 26, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Suckyclimber,
Right now Nyls is the 3rd line center. He's on one of the PP units, but doesn't kill penalties. It's going to be hard to get him more minutes really. Same with Captain Clark too.

Posted by: WVPhil | October 26, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Above poster is correct .. as of noon on Sunday the WP front web page still says "CAPS LOSE IN OVERTIME."

Because the Post has a mess for a web presence, this is not surprising. What's with automatically refreshing the page every few minutes? Why not get a recognizable front page ... get it RIGHT and leave it there till we chose to refresh.

Oh .. good tough win. The team refused to go 0-3 on the road. Good sign.

Posted by: tslats | October 26, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Anybody need a guest for Tuesday's game? All my buds are busy and I'd rather avoid listening to the game on the radio if I can..

Posted by: _jordan | October 26, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

@_jordan

Here...Buy an upper for $20

http://www.capstickets.com/tuoc287napr1.html

Posted by: SA-Town | October 26, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

@SA-Town,

Thanks for the link, but they both say unavailable. My issue is more the fact that I got nobody to go with, though.

Posted by: _jordan | October 26, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,
I hope I'm wrong, but I can't help but wonder if maybe OV is (gulp) nicked. I just don't see the jump in his wheels. - didn't he come off the ice early, during the last practice @KCI?

Posted by: Max23 | October 26, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

@Max23

I'm not sure about that. I think that is frustration rather than injury. When he has the puck he seems a little disspirited, like he is expecting to get stoned.

But without the puck he was flying and super aggressive. He was using his body really effectively and confidently. His

I was only able to catch the last 10min of the 3rd and then the OT period.

I discovered something about Ovie in the playoffs last year, when I was shocked to see the very long scoreless stretches against the flyers: Ovie doesn't score anything but transition goals. It is perfectly sensible to take him off the PP (PP goals happen in set positional situations) and put him on the PK (SH goals ONLY happen in transition). When Ovie is working the point, cycling the puck, it IS futile. Another thing about Ovie: he gets his goals in bursts, and has multigoal outings when the play is fast and loose and he gets opportunities to maximize on transition breakdowns.

In short, it takes a defensive breakdown to get an Ovie goal.

He's frustrated I think, because he can't get it in the net.

But he's SUCH a badass along the boards. If the hits keep coming, let him stay out there... Personally, I think he is a much more effective player WITHOUT the puck than with it.

BTW, I am the former "Defense Wins Championships."

Posted by: large23220 | October 26, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Hey Tarik -- did Clarkie give out a hard hat award last night?

Posted by: rvan641 | October 26, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm concerned about Captain Clark - hoping its just rust because he's been non-existent this year.

Ovie has to adjust now that teams have started to defend him differently. For now its carry the puck into the zone, lose or pass the puck, and then attempt a one-timer from the top of the ice that ends up nowhere near the net.

Happy about Jose, as he seems to have settled down a bit. If he provides the kind of goaltending all year that he did on the road trip, we're fine.

End of the day, we're still 4-3 despite a less than perfect, injury-laden start of the season.

Btw, anyone have experience with the fan club trips? Did you have a good time?

Posted by: wahoo_Mike | October 26, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

[Some humble live observations from the game in Dallas]

Watching the Dallas game live from the mezzanine I really got to see the Caps units working a lot more completely than I have on tv in the last couple of years.

The gf (from Wisconsin) and I thought the Caps won based mostly on putting together a few snazzy plays based on obviously superior individual talents.

- There is no reason the game should've been close. If the Caps play with better discipline and cohesively as a team this game would've been no contest.

-The defense really is a mess. I was watching how many times we managed to break out of our own end with any kind of organization, few and far between. And our own D men monkey-wrenched Fedorov's mature defensive maneuvering more than once.

-I'm sure it could be seen on tv that Theodore has problems dealing with opposing setups behind the net, probably because of the inconsistency of the D working for him in front of the net.

-We were downright lazy at times, not even considering chasing down some of those icings. The closest Cap on those needs to do some suicides next practice or something. And our O men Always get caught from behind. Doesn't matter who is skating.

Bottom line it was good to see we can get a win against a respected team and still see many many ways to become significantly better.

Semin looked great a lot of the time, Fleischmann on those 3 particular plays. Fedorov looked like the most mature player

...Ovie needs a reset button, the Russian machine has a bug in its software. Nothing wrong with the hardware though, Turco is probably still icing his hand from the one glove save that echoed throughout the arena

- austinsteve

Posted by: TXguy | October 26, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

As far as the road trips go I would recommend going on trips with Caps Road Crew rather then with the Fan Club. The Fan Club was a bit stuffy for me. Road Crew was totally cool though.

Posted by: hockeygrl76 | October 26, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

A few answers:

Clark definitely is struggling, which is why he's getting so little ice time. But you need to remember he missed an entire season with a serious injury. I'm thinking it's going to take him a little more time to get back his confidence and skating legs.

Semin got the hard hat last night. But as soon as I spotted him with it on, he smiled and took it off promptly.

As for Ovechkin, I'm pretty sure his slump is not being caused by some secret injury.

--Tarik

Posted by: el_bashir | October 26, 2008 7:50 PM | Report abuse

"Semin got the hard hat last night. But as soon as I spotted him with it on, he smiled and took it off promptly."

Tarik: That completely cracks me up! Thanks for sharing that tidbit :)

I love Semin's shyness! I don't think I'd like him as much if he were any different. It's definitely part of his draw for me.

Posted by: BlondeCapsFan | October 26, 2008 8:44 PM | Report abuse

@Riddler1

Come on man. thought you were a hockey fan. Not just picking on erskine but he seems like the most penalized;, and always gets turned around D men and honestly once alzer is here by erskine. You never addressed the other part of the question. You seem to be confident about our D when they let anyone set up shop in front and score from point blank range(madano goal & another i cant remember). Bottom line is to many quality scoring chances given up by the D.Even last year our D got picked on and a lot of people are down on our D.Can we win the cup with the stats our D is giving up. Going to say no. Win cups with D not with O. Take the depth up front and make a trade.Our D couldnt hold a two goal lead against dallas.

Posted by: smartfan | October 26, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Jordan,

I've got a spare ticket in 426 if you want to join me. Let me know if you want to claim it.

Posted by: Steve_R | October 26, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

@ Smartfan

I agree that the defense needs help and that resigning Erksine was not a great idea -- too slow, takes dumb penalities = big liability. I hope the Caps keep their pipeline open for the young dee. I think Carlson and Godfrey are legit prospects. Schultz is improving; Morrison is very good; Green is great on the rush (he's shanked a few shots lately) and plays good dee (mostly); Juice has his moments (both good and bad; I wish he'd use his size more); Poti is decent enough, he'll help coming back.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | October 26, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

With the bizarre Erskine signing for waaaay too much - Juice, Mo, and Schultz: One has got to think Juice definately the first odd man out. Both Juice and Mo are arbitration eligible. Mo is sure to ask for another raise: Currently at 1.975 which puts him next in line to leave. Gulp. Is Erskine even remotely close to filling Mo's shoes?

Posted by: robblahs | October 26, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Awesome game by the Bears tonight. Won 8-3. Granted, Rochester isn't very good, but the Bears were firing on all cylinders. Alzner got his first, Bourque scored on a penalty shot, Gordon and Giroux each had one, two for Laing, two for Osala (this kid is really impressing me!) Machesney was in goal, faced only 16 shots. Bears put up 50 shots on goal.

http://stats.theahl.com/stats/game-summary.php?game_id=1004872

Posted by: tess2201 | October 26, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Well, that was fun! :-) I was so happy they pulled off a W. They needed it SO bad. Hopefully it will give them the confidence that they need to go on a streak.

Jordan:
Didn't you say that they'd squeak by Dallas and kill Nashville? Well, you're right so far - let's hope you're right on Tue, too! Regardless, sounds like you've got a date for the game!! ;-)

Cerealman:
Being from TN, I think you should fly out for this one! :-D

LET'S GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: Boo- | October 26, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

that modano goal was because we had 3 guys on 2 in the corner with 1 minute left when they had 6 guys out. it went to modano, wide open, right in front of the net. then the goal before that, what's his name didn't watch the guy trailing that was just inches behind him, that got tapped in.

D's fault. The game before that Jose played well but breakdowns by the D are creating chances that they shouldn't even have.

Posted by: MNMNT | October 26, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

@Steve_R,

Yeah, I'll take the ticket, sounds great. Email me if you have my address or let me know if you need it.

@Boo,

Here's hoping..

Posted by: _jordan | October 26, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Tess! Great way for the Bears to finish off The game summary sure lists quite a few roughing & fighting penalties for Amadio & Wilson -- does McNeill feel OK?

Posted by: uncatim | October 26, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

@uncatim:
None of the fights tonight amounted to too much. McNeill had a good one last night. He was scratched tonight but I don't think he was hurt or anything. It's more of a numbers thing.

Posted by: tess2201 | October 26, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Jordan,

I think I might have your e-mail info from the worlds. I'll let you know here if I can't find it.

Posted by: Steve_R | October 26, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Wow - JT look fantastic last night. Those goals were world class setups by the Stars. Don't forget that the Stars are perenially a final 4 team each summer.

7 games in & i like the goal tending pair we have.

Posted by: Rocc00 | October 26, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Only 2 games in the next 8 days. A nice chance for Brash, Kozlov, Poti to get fully healthy.

Enjoy it while it lasts, because Nov is a very busy month with another west coast trip in there.

14 of first 24 games on the road as well. Seems a bit lop-sided to me for the first 1/3 of thew season.

Posted by: SA-Town | October 27, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Same question as "Suckyclimber" made:
Why doesn't Coach give Nyls more time? 12 minutes last game? He is number 2 in points, and doing that with way less minutes than some others. Why not put him on number 1 PP at least? Let's play the guys who are playing well and producing...

Posted by: CapsRockTheRed | October 27, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Just to expand on home-vs-away upcoming.

Oct - Nov 10 home 14 away
December - 7 home -7 away
Jan - Feb 15 home 10 away
March - April - 9 home 10 away

So as you can see, the travel will only get easier after these tough first two month. Jan - Feb will see a big swing back to us. Kind of puts things in perspective when you try and forecast what would be a successful record after the first two months.

Posted by: SA-Town | October 27, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

@ SA-Town -- I thoroughly agree -- rest and practice will help the Caps get better. They are uncoordinated and undisciplined on defense right now -- nothing a little practice and consistent pairings can't help. Getting Poti paired with Schultz will help. Schultz seems to play better with Poti's veteran presence.

@ CapsRockTheRed -- I think that Nyls' style is not BB's favorite. One breakouts, MN likes to do more horizontal skating than BB would like to see. He likes to push the rush -- race up ice and keep the defense pinned back, get off a quick shot. I think BB does like ML's style in the zone -- puck possession along the walls looking for Semin or Laich to get some space.

My own 2 cents -- Backs needs to find his game still. His confidence seems a bit low, forcing passes, not looking to shoot as much as his wicked wrister warrants. Once he and OV loosen up and start having fun, they'll look as good as last year.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | October 27, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I agree with everyone.

Posted by: _828 | October 27, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Why isn't the game on TV tomorrow night?

Posted by: tywright | October 27, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

The Caps will have to have a monster Jan-Feb to stay atop the SE. They also need to improve away from the Phone Booth. 2-3-0 away from the booth is not an auspicious start considering their west coast swing aided struggling teams look better. They could have and should have swept three struggling teams, but gave the Flames and Yotes undeserved confidence. There is also that horrible game against the Thrashers away that does not bode well, who have only one other win, in OT, mind you.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | October 27, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Ovie is back in Russia with his sick Grandfather. He will not play tomorrow.

Our thoughts are with his family.

Posted by: SA-Town | October 27, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Yup. According to capitals.com:

Caps left wing Alex Ovechkin is back in his native Russia where he is visiting his grandfather, who has taken ill. Ovechkin will miss Tuesday night's game with the Nashville Predators at Verizon Center and his status beyond that will be determined on a day-to-day basis.

Posted by: Cerealman | October 27, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Godspeed OV

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | October 27, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

The Preds-Caps game isn't on TV because it falls within Versus' exclusive rights window for Tuesday night and Versus is showing the Philadelphia-Atlanta game ... and no other games can be shown at that time by U.S. TV stations, if I understand it correctly.

Posted by: Cerealman | October 27, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

However, those on Center Ice should be able to watch Tampa Bay-Toronto and Montreal-Carolina, I believe.

Posted by: Cerealman | October 27, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

WOW...Exciting game to be at. The last two CAPS games I have been to have been doozies. Went to the game in Atlanta last march during our incrediable run, then this one in Dallas.

Turco was averageto below average. He is not making the "big saves" for the stars so far.

Caps are a better team with Koz in the line-up.

OV is fine with him not scoring as long as we are winning, he is fustrated with he does not and we lose.

Flash.....is comming into his own, he was one of the better players Sat. nite.

Brash...put a beat down on whomever he fought with.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | October 27, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

NHL contract with VS gives them exclusive rights to Tuesday games. They chose not to show ours. We're stuck with radio. Or watch the Flyers and Thrashers game. I'm rooting for the Thrashers.

Posted by: Greg S. | October 27, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

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