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Post-Game Thoughts

Unfortunately, there wasn't a whole lot of new information regarding the injuries to Shaone Morrisonn and Sergei Fedorov. It was announced that Morrisonn suffered a groin injury, but it's unclear what happened to Fedorov. If both can't play Saturday, obviously, the team will have to call up a defenseman.

I guess we'll have to wait until tomorrow to get an update.

Other items of note:

*The all-Russian line of Alex Ovechkin, Fedorov and Alexander Semin was pretty good, don't you think? After Fedorov went out, Nicklas Backstrom filled in and was on the ice for both of Semin's late goals.

*Alex Ovechkin notched his first three-point game of the season, amassing three primary assists. But his eight-game goal drought is the longest of his career.

*One game after making 42 stops, Brent Johnson made 32 saves against the 'Canes. It's going to be interesting to see who starts Saturday against the Rangers.

*The two points were huge for the Caps, who now trail the 'Canes by a pair in the Southeast Division.

*The power play is 0 for 9 the past three games, including 0 for 3 tonight. Again, it's trying to be too cute. Way too many passes, way too few shots.

*The penalty kill, conversely, has been good of late, snuffing out 37 of the past 42 shorthanded situations (88.1 percent).

*Boudreau singled out Backstrom for some praise afterward, saying the second year Swede played the best game of the season. Backstrom didn't get a point, but he had four shots on goal.

"He handled the puck like he could," Boudreau said. "He made plays. He could have easily had three or four assists if the people he gave the puck to would shoot."

Backstrom said: "I feel better than I did the past few games. I tried to work harder on the boards, battle harder and try to win more pucks in the defensive zone. Hopefully I can get myself going."

*Semin's goals were indeed sweet. But the highlight for me was Brooks Laich blocking a shot late in the first period. He wasn't able to get back up at first. Then he began hobbling to bench. On the way, he broke up a D-to-D pass.

"That's character right there, and then coming back and shaking it off," Boudreau said. "Your leg goes completely numb when you get a shot like that."

*Asked if the poor ice surface might have had something to do with Morrisonn's injury, Boudreau said he didn't know. But he did say the game, at times, resembled basketballwith the puck bouncing all over the place.

That's it for now. I hope to have some updates on the injuries from KCI tomorrow morning.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 6, 2008; 11:35 PM ET
 
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Comments

Johnny earned another start. If it wasn't for his mechanically sound play in this game, Caps lose by 2 or more. If BJ strings together a couple more games like the past 2, he's the new #1. I'm pulling for him. He sucked up his pride late last year when GMGM brought in Huet and Johnny was put on the shelve until this year. He's a true team player and I'd like to see him rise to the top!

Don't touch Semin if you have the chance. You'll burn your fingers!

I'll bite my tongue on the negatives from tonight and hope that BB addresses them in practices ahead.

Nice win Caps!!! 3rd period had that playoff aura inside the VC.

Posted by: puckman | November 7, 2008 12:13 AM | Report abuse

It's absolutely ridiculous that the ice is still poor after all these years. I guess it will take a major injury to Ovechkin before they do something about it.

Posted by: VegasCapsFan | November 7, 2008 12:38 AM | Report abuse

the unseasonably warm weather today probably did not help the ice.

Posted by: metatext | November 7, 2008 1:04 AM | Report abuse

So Theo is becoming a backup. Big surprise.

As a Habs fan, I was amazed he got such a fat contract. Haven't GMs around the league figured out yet that he only produces one year in 3 - his contract year? And that applies just as much to his 'star' years in Mtl. A brutal waste of immense talent, more than any goalie of his generation.

And to think Huet, a true team player (was class act when he lost the #1 to Price here) and late bloomer (with a GAA under 2.00 on your team, as much responsible for last year's playoff berth as Alex the Gr8), was right under your nose.

But if it helps Johnson, who I've always liked and have been surprised he never got #1 status back anywhere after his early promise with the Blues, than so much the better. Too bad a good young team wasted that salary cap space (not too mention now have something of a cancer in the room) with one the most selfish, lazy players going.

Posted by: TrickyWoo | November 7, 2008 3:56 AM | Report abuse

nice to see semin Ovie and Feds click. Johnny earned another start I think has theo even made 30 saves yet in one game? And johnny did it 2 games in a row

Posted by: capsfan387 | November 7, 2008 4:16 AM | Report abuse

As I said last night, that was some HOCKEY! And yeah, Laich - true hockey player, he. Limping like mad, and he still can get his stick out to stop a play. Awesome stuff!

Posted by: irockthered | November 7, 2008 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Nice came by Johnson, great comeback win. Being in NJ, I don't get to see many games. Looking forward to watching tomorrow's vs. the Rangers (though on MSG) and Monday's on Versus.

Semin is as hot now and Ovie was last spring.

Posted by: JAlt0629 | November 7, 2008 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Awesome game, very entertaining.

I was working-slash-watching-the-game in the office with japanese colleagues and I scared them when we scored the winning goal and screamed a bit :D

We weren't all that disciplined but the team effort that was missing the last few games for was there... will it be there tomorrow? I don't think I'll be able to watch games for a whole week :(


Posted by: mauree | November 7, 2008 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Amazing finish last night, I now wish I’d have bothered to stay up until 3am to watch a bad stream on a tiny screen. Not sure my boss would have been equally as enthusiastic for that though.

Nothing like stealing points from Division rivals with late, late goals and it doesn’t get much later than that. Got to think Ovie’s reputation to shoot on sight made the winner for Semin. Kudos to #8 for doing the smart thing and finding a linemate with a better chance to score instead of taking the shot, even though he is obviously desperate to get one himself.

The VC is becoming something of a fortress with us 10-0-1 in last 11 regular season games going back to last season and 4-0-1 (9 points out of maximum 10) at home so far this season. No other Eastern team is currently unbeaten in regulation at home so far this season and only 3 teams in the West (SJS 8-0-0, CHI 5-0-2 and EDM 2-0-1) can boast this.

Other fun Friday facts
- Semin is second in total points, goals and +/-
- Last 2 losses came against the top two rated goalies in terms of GAA (Miller/Auld) who are also both in top 3 for save percentage.
- Caps are now just 2 points off the Division lead with a game in hand
- Caps are now only 2 points behind Pittsburgh (the Greatest Ever Team in the History of the World Ever and Ever Amen Honest*) with a game in hand.

* Description of Penguins kindly supplied by anyone who resides above the 49th Parallel or works for ESPN.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | November 7, 2008 7:48 AM | Report abuse

So did Brooks or Nick get the hard hat last night? Can't say enough about Brooks. He should be wearing an A (at least) at some point this season.

Maybe Jeff Schultz got it for his almost fight last night. Still would love to see a video replay of that. It was so surreal that I would like to see it again. The folks around us could not understand why we were so shocked at what we were seeing.

If we can stop giving up a goal on the other team's first shot and score on the PP a few times I think this team will really start burning it up.

While it would have been nice to blow the Canes out of the water last night, in some ways the last second game winner may serve us better. I can't help but think the adreneline rush from that come from behind last second win will carry over more on Saturday.

Posted by: Kim-3 | November 7, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Fully agree Kim,
Stealing all the points like that will provide a real boost to the team and may have an equally strong negative effect on the Canes.

Plus, those last gasp wins are often better than blowing the opposition away 4 or 5-0.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | November 7, 2008 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Wow. What a finish. Kudos to the boys for a job well done, and suddenly that Ovechkin/Backstrom/Semin line is looking mighty interesting if Fedorov can't play. It sure made things happen out there late in the third.

But, like I said last night, that was yesterday. This is today. We've got a win in hand thanks to a hard-fought team effort, a lot of guts, some really pretty goals, and a smokin' hot goaltender. Don't get comfy. Don't get lax. Last night is last night, and this is now. Do it again, except this time show us a team effort like that for the whole sixty minutes. The Caps can be a winning team, if they'll start thinking like a winning team. A playoff berth is earned one night at a time.

Last night is last night. This is now. Now you have to take out the Rangers on Saturday. Get back to work, boys. <3

Backstrom needs to shoot the puck dammit o.o But yes, he played really well out there. I think he'll be just fine.

Ovi looked a lot better out there last night, even when Backstrom was centering him and Semin in the third.

Clarkie ... um, love and all but this is becoming a mess. Can we bench Clark for a game or two and put Fehr in instead? Give the poor man a chance to show his stuff? I'm beginning to wonder what a Laich/Nylander/Fehr line could make happen.

Feds hurt. SUCK SUCK SUCK. Can we pleease take all the ice shavings from last night and dump them down Abe Pollin's pants until he gets the message?

Posted by: kittypawz | November 7, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Oh yes. Forgot about the chippy stuff. What exactly happened between Schultz and Walker (I think)? Did anybody get a good view? And then they both go off chasing the puck. That was funny and surreal all at the same time.

And OMG Brash. <3 Positively TRASHED Brookbank. That was beautiful to watch.

Laich? More like love. He scared the crap out of me hobbling off the ice like that, but he still managed to flick the puck out of our end while limping back to the bench.

And then he got right back into it! How awesome is that? I'm with Kim-3. Please tell me he got the hard hat, Tarik.

Posted by: kittypawz | November 7, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Great finish to the game. The Caps are incredible at the Phonebooth, but very mediocre away from. Saturday night is a big chance to prove to the hockey world that the Caps can bring their A game away from home. That is their biggest concern -- scoring on the road, esp. the PP.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | November 7, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

I am sure Brooks is hurting today. Maybe Quintin "puck blocking machine" Laing has some advice that would help?

Posted by: _Mark | November 7, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

@ JIMALLCAPS

Saturday is a home game, probably a sell out too. Caps hit the road again on Wed vs the Canes.

Posted by: AMHV2772 | November 7, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

JIMALLCAPS,
"Saturday night a chance to prove they can bring their A game away from home"

I thought we were playing the Rangers at home on Saturday not at MSG??

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | November 7, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

AMHV2772,
Don't forget inbetween the Rangers at home and the Canes away, there is the small matter of Olie and his Bolts on Monday night at home.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | November 7, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Johnny is really a hero. Not only for the his performance this season, but how he accepted his role (or, lack thereof) down he stretch last year. I remember being out at Kettler and watching him work as hard as anybody and happily sign autographs, knowing full well he was a healthy scratch for the rest of the season.

Now THAT is being a MAN.

Posted by: Orange92 | November 7, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Looked like whoever centers a line with Ovie and Semin as wings will do good. Both Feds and Backstrom played well.

On the downside, the Caps failed to notice the exiting penalty box guy again, Green got caught deep in the O-zone several times forcing Johnny to face 2-on-1s and despite Johnny's otherwise great outing, that 2nd goal against was really bad looking. Johnny's imitation of Erskine wasn't too hot either.

Posted by: koalatek | November 7, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Tarik,
On your next update (after practice today I assume)can you please mention which player was awarded the hard hat? Plenty of deserving candidates last night but mine goes to AO. Three primary assists & banging bodies with the best of them last night really stood out to me as doing the the labor to allow others to shine in the goal scoring department. About as critical a victory as it gets this early in the season and the guys responded like pros.

Posted by: Riddler1 | November 7, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I was at the game. After semin scored w/ 10 sec left i went nuts along with my buddies. then i noticed a pool of blood on the ice right in front of the canes goalie. it lead all the way back to their bench. not as bad as zednik but still very noticeable. looked like on semin's followthrough he caught somebody up high. any word on that? suprised i haven't heard anything...

Posted by: clarkj | November 7, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

According to the TV boroadcast, Semin's follow through on that shot caught Rod B in the face. That's all I know.

Posted by: Riddler1 | November 7, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Dave:
No, no, no - the game on Sat is in DC! I am SO there!! :-D

Clark:
It was B'A - think it was a stick above the eye but am not sure.

Posted by: Boo- | November 7, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Mea maxima culpa! I could have looked at the caps official website to see that saturday is in DC. Yes, gotta get on a roll beating the blueshirts at home and then caning the canes in Raleigh! Pardon my error. I'm glad that the Caps are home for the Rangers, but they gotta bring their home game to away games if they want to go far this year.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | November 7, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Boo!,
I thought it was - otherwise my schedule was out of whack. About time we had a run of games in Fortress VC.

Anyway haven't you got things to do :)

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | November 7, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

From a previous thread:

@angrynomad: Green was awful, but he was bailed out by his defensive partner and his goaltender on the repeated 2-on-1s he caused.

I noticed that too. Lot of 2-on-1's, and that concerned me. Were they all Green? Fortunately, Schultz, Poti, and Johnny all had his back. Green has GOT to be more responsible in his own end - maybe he should shift to forward entirely and we call up a D. I'm not sure about Feds on the blueline for that.

Posted by: kittypawz | November 7, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone else notice how hesitant everyone, excluding Backstrom and Semin, was to shoot the puck? I remember seeing Poti simply WALK to within about 15 feet, and then he tried to pass it to Backstrom, and completely screwed up the pass.

WTF?!

Ovie did the same thing at least twice. So did Kozlov and Green! What the hell was going on last night?

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 7, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Tarik -

Can you see if you can find out what is up with Ovie's sticks? He is under contract with CCM and uses their stuff, but last night he was using a Nike/Bauer that looked just like Semin's stick (with a little blade work to fit his curve). Thought that was pretty interesting considering his goal slump and his unhappiness at times over the last few years with the sticks that he has gotten from CCM. Thanks, great coverage!

Posted by: Roose | November 7, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

The last several days there has been a lot of discussion about the heart of this team, killer instinct, etc. While I do not think last night will completely diminish the concerns of some, there are two things that stand out to me.

First, most of us have mentioned Brooks Laich's play last night after being injured blocking a shot. If that is not heart and soul I do not know what is. Something tells me that young man gets a lot of respect in the locker room.

Second, after the tying goal it would have been easy to just play for overtime. That is not what we did. The Caps were buzzing the whole time. When Ovie started with the puck you could just feel something in the air. He is struggling to get goals and could have taken the shot. Instead he made a brilliant pass to a teammate who made a brilliant play. Two points for us, no points for a Division rival. Priceless.

I still believe that this game (especially that last two minutes plus) may be looked upon as a turning point in this season.

Posted by: Kim-3 | November 7, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I watched on TV as usual (moved much too far from VC a few years ago to renew my season tickets).

My wife must think Green's first name is Effin'.
I can't count how many times I shouted "effin' Green!"

Any chance the Caps can trade Green for a no. 1 DEFENSEman?

Posted by: rw-c | November 7, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

@Roose,

It was one of the new black CCM sticks he was using, I believe. They do look pretty similar to the one95's.

Posted by: _jordan | November 7, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

If I know the ice sucks... and you know the ice sucks... and so do the players and coaches ... who's responsible for fixing it?!?!

Posted by: Rhino20 | November 7, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Jeff "sorry for attempting to hit you" Schultz avoided getting into that fight like it was the plague. I thought he was going to cry like a pretty little girl. Too bad the Donald doesn't play Jersey tonight or he could beat up the other Brookbank like he did last year.

Posted by: _stevo | November 7, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Ok - For the love of the Caps & your players Ted & ownership... Tear out the ice, tear out the refrigerant system, and redo it properly. If you won't do that then consider these alternatives.

I still maintain that your ice resurfacing crew sucks(yes I'm calling them out) and still dumps too much water on the ice for a game time ice cut. They need to be canned and bring in a new crew that knows how to do a proper ice cut. Yes I'll apply for this position.

Install some Antarctica Industrial grade Air Conditioners on the roof of the building and crank it down to 45 degrees in the building beginning at 7am day of the game. It's supposed to be cold in an Ice Rink - get used to it people.

Quit blaming the weather in the area as the problem for the ice being terrible. It's the facilities equipment, crew, & building management that are leading to these problems. More players on the team & visiting teams will continue to have unnecessary injuries until you remedy this problem.

/rant

Posted by: migz | November 7, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Johnny got the hard hat from last nights game and deserves it. He also deserves the start on Sat. I would like to see BB quit appologizing for JT's horrible play and go back to putting the hot goalie in the net. We will see!

Folks the ice has been discussed to death here. Ted does not own the VC, Abe Polin does and he has said he does not care about hockey, does not care about the ice and will not invest in the equipment needed to improve it. He will manage the building for basketball and concerts (and horses)and to hell with hockey. Until Abe kicks the bucket we have what we have. The NHL ice guru does show up about once a week however, I have talked with him and he said we have average ice most nights compared with the rest of the NHL. Dan Craig said our ice usually ranks between 12th and 20th in the league. After seeing the ice in Ottawa the other night we are obviously not alone.

Posted by: majiksea | November 7, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Johnson has to start Saturday, not just because he's playing great and deserves it... but because night-in/night-out, he gives the team a better chance of winning than Jose "Three-or-more." It's as simple as that.

But while Johnny should definitely be considered the number 1 guy, let's not fool ourselves... this team needs an upgrade between the pipes.

Posted by: sinbin | November 7, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

@_jordan

Yeah, originally I thought it might be but when he was down at our end (I'm in 107 in row J) I could see it clearly when the light reflected on it and I definitely saw the "Swoosh" and the Bauer on there. Hopefully Tarik can shed some light on it today for us...

Posted by: Roose | November 7, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

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