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Posted at 10:03 AM ET, 11/21/2010

Secondary scorers step up in loss to Flyers

By Greg Schimmel

The Capitals erased two late deficits against the Flyers on Saturday night, and while they eventually fell short in a 5-4 shootout loss, there were some positives to take away.

Several of the Caps' secondary scoring options played well, and picked up the slack for the stars whom the Flyers mostly kept off the score sheet.

Marcus Johansson, Jason Chimera and Eric Fehr all scored, and Tomas Fleischmann added an assist.

If these players can continue to score like they're supposed to, it will only make the Caps more dangerous.

"I sort of challenged a couple of them that this is their time," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We talk about [how] with our team, some guys don't get as much ice time as maybe if they were on another team. Now that Mike [Knuble's] out, there's 18, 19 minutes a game somebody is able to take. I'm glad Eric and Flash and Chimer all stepped up and played a really good game tonight."

Knuble is only expected to be out for a few days after he took a puck to his face Friday night in Atlanta, but his absence could help jump start the players who know they will be counted on.

Fehr directly benefited from Knuble sitting out, moving up to the second line alongside Fleischmann and Brooks Laich on Saturday.

"I see it as an opportunity for everybody," Fehr said. "He's a veteran leader in the dressing room, and it kind of opens up a spot for guys to be leaders in the room and leaders on the ice. Hopefully I'll be able to fill a little part of that void."

Fehr had scored just once in his previous 16 games before his power play goal with 39 seconds left in regulation Saturday night sent the game to overtime.

Chimera had scored just once in 13 games before his power play goal made it 3-3 with 8:29 to go in regulation, and Johannson had scored once in 10 games this season before his first period goal.

It was only one game, and Alexander Semin, Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Laich and Mike Green have still combined for 41 of the Caps' 73 goals (56.1 percent) after Saturday, but it could be a start.

"You just gotta keep shooting," Chimera said, "and eventually they're going to go in."

By Greg Schimmel  | November 21, 2010; 10:03 AM ET
Categories:  Eric Fehr, Jason Chimera, Marcus Johansson, Philadelphia Flyers, Tomas Fleischmann  
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Next: Statistical analysis: No Boyd Gordon, no win for Caps

Comments

I was at the game and it was one of the more entertaining contests, with two awesome comebacks to tie it up. I too am of the mind that a loss here and there is not a bad thing for the Caps. If there's a good loss this was one.

The home crowd's always biased against the refs, but no fewer than two of those calls against the Caps appeared totally bogus, as was the missed high stick of Alzner. What was the prognosis on the calls from the home TVs?

Posted by: Justafan | November 21, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Justafan | November 21, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

LOL geez, didn't the Caps score 3 PP goals in the 3rd period??

Quit whining!!

Posted by: joek443 | November 21, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

@joek443, whining? gimme a break. It seemed to me like the refs were calling penalties that would not be called in a regular game -- 16 in all -- and that at least a couple of them were particularly weak. I asked if folks could provide a perspective on how they looked from the TV. Where the heck's the whining, dude?

Posted by: Justafan | November 21, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

but no fewer than two of those calls against the Caps appeared totally bogus, as was the missed high stick of Alzner. What was the prognosis on the calls from the home TVs?
--------------

sure sounds like whining to me... you weren't saying there were bogus calls from both sides.

And there WERE bogus calls from both sides, the Caps got 7 PPs and philly got 9... they got a 5 on 3 and we got the back to back PPs to tied it up at 3 in the third.

but hey, it's a free country... whine away!!!

Posted by: joek443 | November 21, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

from both sides = FOR both sides

Posted by: joek443 | November 21, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

you know what's somewhat amusing?

Johansson got 4:20 of SH ice time last night and as usual Ovi doesn't get a sec of PK even tho they had to kill 9 penalties.

Posted by: joek443 | November 21, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

OMG Flash got an assist he really stepped up!! Please trade Flash GMGM.

Chimmy played well, and I absolutely loved the emotion he showed during the game.

MaJo played well too. Skated real well and that was a nice shot he put past boucher.

I feel like we should have scored more as bad as boucher is. Oh well ill take the point.

Posted by: digster1013 | November 21, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I cant wait till flash gets his contract extension,a 5 yr deal would be nice!!!

Posted by: gratefuldid | November 21, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

@digster1013

The Caps did beat Boucher many more times, unfortunately they hit the post a lot. It happens.

Flash did play a good game. He had an assist, but he also had 5 shots and two posts. Yes, they clearly are not as good as goals but he was creating chances(as was the rest of his line with Fehr and Laich).

The Fehr, Laich, Flash line looked very good together, and did so against a very good opponent who has tough D. If they can play that well against Philly's D then you would think they can do it against most teams. Time will tell, but I hope BB gives the line a few games(while Knuble rests) to see what they can do and doesn't immediately split them up when they have a bad period.

Posted by: sgm3 | November 21, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

philly has so many centers that they can afford to have Carter playing RW.

and Carter would be a 2C if he played for the Caps... a huge upgrade from Flash, Laich or MaJo.

Posted by: joek443 | November 21, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I love how all the Semin- and Flash-bashers [not totally the same group, but there's a bunch of overlap] will completely discount the tangible evidence of their defensive responsibility - i.e., their +/- - but meanwhile will totally turn a blind eye when the slow, soft plus-minus King himself inevitably gets run off the ice come playoff time [two consecutive playoffs, and counting] once the pace of play heats up.

Other than geography, there is literally no rational explanation for this - but I'm sure someone will try - hey Grapes Cherry, you out there? Anyone?

Posted by: Timbo_1 | November 21, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

@sgm

I was definitely pleased with that line. Eventually though we'll need some more production from flash.

Good point on the posts. Boucher was definitely beat more than 4 times, tough luck i guess. Still have to finish though.

Posted by: digster1013 | November 21, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

hey Timbo,

let me get this straight... your best argument in favor of Semin and Flash is they're better than King???

Posted by: joek443 | November 21, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

No joek - the plus-minus "king" himself, Schultz. Are you also an apologist?

Posted by: Timbo_1 | November 21, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

no quite frankly I'm in favor of getting rid of all those three guys...

Semin for financial reasons and the other two can't play.

Posted by: joek443 | November 21, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Joek, the point is, either +/- matters, or it doesn't - you can't pick and choose, saying it only matters for Mr. Plus-Minus Himself, but not for Flash or Semin or whomever.

Speaking of plus-minus, how is it that our vaunted 'defensive-specialist' center, who can't skate, score or pass at the NHL level, is tied for 3rd-worst on the team in +/-, barely a goal better than DJK?

Posted by: Timbo_1 | November 21, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

no quite frankly I'm in favor of getting rid of all those three guys...

Semin for financial reasons and the other two can't play.
----------

Well, fair enough - at least you're consistent. I'd hope the money can be worked out with Semin [and he and his agent realize DC is a great fit for him] but at least you make a coherent argument.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | November 21, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

sometimes it matter and sometimes it doesn't... it depends on the players.

obviously you don't wanna see a huge minus number on any player but just because a D has a huge plus number, doesn't mean he's a good defensive D... case in point Paul Coffey.

Posted by: joek443 | November 21, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

@Timbo_1

I agree about Steckel.

While I liked how MJ played last night, I still think BGordon should be the 3rd line center on the Caps. Him centering Chimera and Bradley is a pretty good checking line. However, since MJ had a good game on Saturday, it is fitting to reward him with another chance this Monday.

@digster1013

I agree about the posts. If players continue to hit posts instead of knocking in open chances then it becomes a trend and not an aberration. But I did like the zone time and scoring chances the Flash/Laich/Fehr line created, and the other lines created also. But if that continued without any production(goals) then the zone time and chances do not mean as much.

But I do think the Flash/Laich/Fehr line earned themselves a few games to play together and see what they can do over a few games.

Posted by: sgm3 | November 21, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Sort of like the Chimmer/Hendricks/Brads line earned themselves a few games together but that sure as heck didn't happen. This is the time of year to shuffle lines but sometimes BB just overkills it.

Posted by: PhilR | November 21, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone believe this team can win a stanley cup? We need help. Get rid of some of this crew, it aint gonna happen. We should have learned this after the playoffs. In ufa, you could have tweaked. Now, it's gonna have to be a little messy.

Posted by: underpants2 | November 21, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Those look like two very respectable 2nd and 3rd lines, thus far at least - especially b/c the other team would have to be so focused on stopping our big line, out of necessity:
Flash/Laich/Fehr
Chimmer/Hendricks/Brads

I do realize MJ played well last night though, and you want to keep him going - and I absolutely agree with the insertion of Gordo over Steckel on the 4th, so not sure what the answer is there.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | November 21, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal:

Did you notice BB threw Chimera in with the Kool-Aid drinkers last night?

BB's postgame video, when asked about Chimera's recent improvement: "whatever Kool-Aid he's drinking, I want him to continue doing it."

Posted by: tess2201 | November 21, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, what was with this ref crew? I don't know hockey well enough to bury them but it really seemed like they were determined to take control of a game that had not yet at least gotten out of control.

Chippy or not, to me the biggest foul by the refs was the call on Backstrom in overtime for interference. I think each team's fans, and the Flyers were aptly represented, enjoyed the 4 on 4 action .. seemed like a good chance for one team to have a fair ending after a hard fought game. Then that stupid(?) penalty that basically guaranteed a (dopey) shoot out.

Absent something really obvious, let the guys play in overtime. Better to settle it on the ice than some made up for tv show.

Posted by: tslats | November 21, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Tess: Did not hear those comments from BB. First we had Knuble and the goat and now the Kool Aid. If BB calls anyone a "Fence Sitter" then we know they are copying from CI.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | November 21, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Even though they can't officially talk contract yet, but maybe Semin and the Caps reached a deal because Semin went back to his old self with all those penalties.

relax, i'm just kidding. just having fun with all the comments about how Semin is only playing well because it's his contract year.

Posted by: natresgroup | November 21, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

On Boudreau leaving the Flash/Laich/Fehr line together now that they're starting to generate chances?

He'd probably break them up if he got mad enough at the first line (and would not be surprised to see the first line broken up and Eric Fehr moved up to RW on that line on Monday, given that Fehr actually appeared on the 1st PP unit when the Caps scored their second goal.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 21, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

BB is doing the right thing by changing up the lines early in the season. Injuries happen (ask Knuble). It's important to be effective with many different line combos. This also makes defending the Caps difficult. I don't think Fehr or Flash are going anywhere for the balance of the season. GMGM picks up 1 d-man and 1 center near the deadline without giving up any current roster players. Just my guess. BTW Sloan is horrible.

Posted by: chriscaps | November 21, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

"how is it that our vaunted 'defensive-specialist' center, who can't skate, score or pass at the NHL level, is tied for 3rd-worst on the team in +/-"

This statement seems strange to me. Usually you use defensive specialist against offensive specialists. Further, you do not want a defensive specialist taking too many chances (even if the odds of a particular chance are in your favor). A defensive specialist is also often on the ice immediately after a penalty kill (fatigue, opposition still set up in offensive zone etc...). John Madden was -7 in three seasons where the Devils finished with over 100 points (-7 was good enough for the bottom 3 on the team in two of those seasons (05-06; 06-08; and 08-09). Must not be a very good defensive specialist.
Not saying this necessarily applies to Steckel but it does show it is not out of the ordinary to have a defensive specialist have close to the worst +/- on the team.


+/- can be indicative of something or it can be a useless stat. Context needs to be considered.

I don't mean to rag on Sloan (I like him as the caps 8th dman, not as a regular) but I feel bad for his partner's +/-.

Posted by: BorntoHula | November 21, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

I like Sloan much better as the 8th D-man rotating out of Hershey. He is the 7th D-man and playing every game due to Poti's injury. There were alot of available d-man who signed for 1.5 million or less available this season. Sloan in Hershey and Fahey starting his new coaching career would be much better. BTW, did you seen Sloans great drop pass to Byfuglien in the Atl game? Sorry, just had to get a little hate out.

Posted by: chriscaps | November 21, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

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