Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Game #77 Recap - Capitals 3 Hurricanes 2 (OT-SO)

The last shooter stepped on to the ice in the opening round of the shoot out. The previous 5 shooters had failed to score. Viktor Kozlov calmly skated the puck into the offensive zone. He got into shooting position. The goalie maneuvered to block his angle. Kozlov quickly changed the angle on his shot and fired it into the net blowing the water bottle off the top of the goal. The Caps win! The shoot out victory allowed the Caps to keep pace in the race for the playoffs with Philadelphia and Boston who both won last night. It also showed the importance of a couple of their most recent acquisitions. For Viktor Kozlov, who was acquired last summer during free agency partly because of his shootout prowess, it was his second consecutive game deciding goal in the shootout. And Cristobal Huet, who was acquired at the trade deadline, has not allowed a goal to any of the 5 shooters he has faced in the shootout. This year the Caps are 4-4 in the shootout. Last year they were 1-11. It was a need that had to be addressed and in this case the moves have payed dividends.

The Caps dominated for long stretches in this game but Carolina goaltender Cam Ward stopped nearly everything thrown at him. The Caps fired 44 shots on goal but managed only two goals. The Canes were the benefactor of two, shall we say, lucky bounces. The first was on the power play in the first period when a cross ice feed was deflected off Boyd Gordon's skate and directly into the Caps net. And the second came on a video review, for which I have yet to see a definitive replay showing that the initial call of no goal should have been reversed. On the play Huet made the initial save, but Shoane Morrisonn hit Erik Cole in front of the net and both players plowed into the Caps' goalie and pushed him into the net. The goal tied the game at 2-2. The Caps had a big chance to end it in the overtime when Cole was called for hooking. The Caps put 2 shots on goal but failed to convert on the 4-on-3 advantage.

Of Note:
  • Alex Ovechkin scored his 61st goal of the season. With the goal he sets the single season goals scored record for the franchise. He passes Dennis Maruk who had 60 in the 1981-82 season. Ovechkin also recored 11 shots on goal giving him 1,238 in his career. He passes Bengt Gustufsson who had 1,236 and ties Steve Konowalchuk for 11th All-Time on the Caps Shots on Goal List. He also set a career high with his 107th point of the season. It was the 7th time this year Ovechkin had 10 or more shots in a game.
  • Nicklas Backstrom recorded 2 assists in the game. He now has 52 assists on the season and is 2 away from tying Alex Ovechkin's rookie record of 54.
  • Milan Jurcina played in his 100th game as a Capital.
  • The Caps out shot Carolina 44-27 and won the face-off battle 42-29. Boyd Gordon won 10 of the 13 draws he took.
  • Alexander Semin scored his 23rd goal of the season on the power play to tie the score at 1-1 in the second period.
  • Sergei Fedorov and Viktor Kozlov recorded an assist each.
  • According to the Super Stats (link below) the Canes out hit the Caps 41-21. Home team bias? I think so.
  • Cristobal Huet stopped 25 of 27 shots and both goals against came with the Canes on the power play.
Official Recap
Game Summary
Super Stats

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