There were certainly times tonight when I thought we would come out victorious in this one. The problem was however that it wasn't because we were doing anything right in particular, aside from maybe the guy between the pipes I suppose. We hadn't made an ugly, stupid mistake yet. That seemed to be enough for a while as an uninspired Washington team wouldn't do anything and we got 2 great breaks.
It's kind of funny; as a team Washington is not top-to-bottom good. They have about 5 forwards and a weak D. The goalie playing for them tonight stinks. If we'd have gotten any halfway decent offensive chances and executed in even a half-way decent manner, we would've probably won 7-6 or something. We didn't. We were putrid at generating even reasonable offensive chances tonight. There was nothing there.
We scored 2 goals...one because Karl Alzner's foot got in the way, and one because the Washington goalie slid backwards into the net after stopping a sad breakaway effort and stopped another shot that was fired right at his pad...problem was as I said that he was in the net at the time.
It's not like we missed a bunch of great chances, I'd be more optimistic if we had. Even against Nashville there were times where we didn't do things we needed to, but we could have. Tonight didn't really even have that.
I wouldn't say Ovechkin was everything you could want. He looked fairly uninspired for much of the game. Sure he got into it later, but he could've done a few things earlier and looked disinterested. To be able to shoot a puck like that guy though, would be an amazing and unbelievable gift.
Semin didn't actually impress me much at all. Backstrom was better. Thomas Fleischmann is an interesting player. I would be most happy to get Brooks Laich on our squad. Steckel was not impressive. Green is a dirtier player than I imagined, though mostly taking protective measures more than anything.
- I will fully admit I let myself think for a while that his team would keep this game sane enough that he'd actually shut Washington out. He was in a really nice groove for quite some time and lit up the first and second periods as our clear star. In the third it all became too much and attack overwhelmed him. He was left undefended with 3 Oilers standing around doing nothing on the first goal, Staios had no gap control and played the second goal like a total bonehead, the third goal was a truly elite-level shot and #4 was another incredible lack of D. He did enough. Admirable effort against a stupidly-effective onslaught.
- Everyone would have remembered Staios' PK shift if we'd won this game. His effort to block 3 shots and keep playing on a gimpy leg was pretty amazing it's true. It could have really lifted the team after a HUGE kill. Instead they had nothing. Denis seemed to be more solid tonight as well. I'm grading these players all however on the basis that the effectiveness of the D was generally quite poor. As soon as they were pressed, they folded.
- Why is Visnovsky not on for as much of the PP as humanly possible? It's truly boggling my mind and everyone around me at the games. We all know Lubomir seems to be the best, most consistent player we have and that given any opportunity he always at least seems to create the possibility for offence, but he's not out there 5-on-4??? Really??? 5-on-5 he and Smid did fine until the third. Probably saw the 2 of them more out of position and scrambly than with any other team this year. Makes a lot of sense, but they also should have known what was coming from game tape. There are more than enough highlight reels around.
- The best of a bad lot I suppose. I've decided that I'd rather have the shots of Pronger or Bergeron than Souray. His is scary hard but does the job so seldom these days. Never see him generate the rebound goal anymore, which was a huge problem we had tonight. No effective low shots. Gilbert's doing alright for himself again which is a massive relief both for those who think he'll generally be worth his contract (myself) or those who hope his trade value goes up. I think Souray isn't bringing his full arsenal at the moment, and that upsets me.
- So, Zack is a center now? Interesting. He did not too bad for himself really and probably played one of the better games I've seen from him in a while. He was helped by Strudwick who played a really simple game and doesn't have to run around. He seemed to have a pretty good grasp on what Quinn needs from the forwards. Nilsson had his moments but was unable to find anything special. I bet many are puzzled at his demotion...I'm not really. I think he had an opportunistic couple games and Quinn took a bit of a gamble. It didn't pay off, but probably didn't hurt either because...
- Is a nice line to watch. They're quite responsible and were pretty solid on the ice for a long stretch of the game tonight. Despite his lopsided numbers, #19 can play in all ends when you give him that job. I think that's what we should focus on. His effort in the offensive zone was SORELY lacking. He took ineffective shots and wasn't playmaking. Horcoff didn't help much there either. Their combined goal was more an exercise in fortune than anything else. For O'Sullivan not to score on that guy in that situation was shameful. Stone was okay but didn't make a really big impact at any time. He needs a little discomfort to creep back into his game.
- It's possible that we were okay in this game until Moreau ran out of gas. I distinctly noticed him shadowing Ovechkin on a couple occasions and it seemed to be working. I'm much more in favor of this type of defending than line-matching, even though it seems to be out of vogue. I didn't notice him attempting to defend very well when AO heated up. Potulny made good choices with the puck but generally didn't do anything explosive; not that we should need him to. Cogliano I felt good for, but he wasn't very effective aside from his goal and it only led to a confidence boost of approximately 30 seconds it looked like.
- They couldn't really manage anything as a group tonight. No one was able to step up their game and create offence at will the way the might have in other games. We needed that at there was just no hope of it this evening. That's really too bad as we could've gone shot for shot and at least supplied some entertainment if they had.
Having seen this team at home now for 3 games, I'm losing what was left of my hope. They have not showed the tenacity they had on the road despite finally having a D worthy of competing at a high level. I suspect far too many players are hurt and/or attempting to do more than should be asked of them. It's going to be a long, painful year because I just can't cheer or take any joy in watching this team lose. It sucks. It's sucked for every year for a long time except for one magical year that couldn't even end right. I don't get why people cannot be moved out and I really don't get why this team that was supposed to compete wasn't loaded up with cheap UFA veteran depth to ensure that nights like this didn't happen.
This is going to be painful...again...:(