With the Caps starting late tonight I’m going to bring you a live in-game blog on the Caps-Ducks contest along the lines of what Nestor and Glenn Clark have been doing in the past on the site. The one difference is my blog will start at the top and go down as the game progresses..if all goes well, I’ll do this again for Thursday night’s game at the Kings and Saturday night’s tilt in San Jose.
940pm – Jose Theodore will be in net tonight for the Caps and Alexander Semin, Sergei Fedorov, and Shaone Morrisonn will be out of the lineup for Washington once again. This is not good because the Caps are playing a very good hockey team in Anaheim. We don’t know who the Ducks will play in net yet, either J.J. Giguere or Jonas Hiller. Hiller shut out the Kings on Sunday night but Giguere is has a 1.39 GAA and two shutouts in five career starts against Washington. The Caps have been blanked twice while losing six of their past eight games in Anaheim. The matchups will be interesting to watch tonight as Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle will have last change and can put his top three forwards, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Teemu Selanne against whatever Caps line he chooses. The Ducks will likely play Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer 25 plus minutes each on defense. This is going to be a very tough game.
958pm – Paul Rovnak of the Caps PR staff has just told me the Caps will face Hiller in net tonight. I prefer him over Giguere…
1000pm – Hockey in HD tonight, NICE! I’m all set to listen to 2.5 hours of Joe B and Locker…I agree with Beninati’s assessment: this is one tough swing out west….btw, I’ve known Joe B since he came to town in 1994 and he is a great guy…good to see a nice guy like him who works hard move up the ranks..as for Locker, I’ve known him since 1985, my first year covering the Caps…he is another super guy..
1011pm – Just what the Caps needed a good first shift by Boyd Gordon’s line then two shifts later they get a power play and Mike Green’s shot is deflected in by Tomas Fleischmann…1-0 Caps…great start
1013pm – Another penalty on Anaheim and Caps get another PP…
1014pm 2-0 Caps as they have great puck movement on PP, Green blasting from the point and MOST importantly TRAFFIC in front….goal given to Green. Alex Ovechkin has 2 assists already
1018pm – Kozlov, Ovechkin, and Backstrom line continue to be ON FIRE. Kozlov with some great stickhandling and pass to Backstrom who backhands it into empty net 3-0 CAPS!!!! Giguere now in net. I told you I wanted Hiller but it wasn’t all his fault here early…bad turnover by Caps in their own end and Ducks get easy goal by Bobby Ryan..3-1 Caps…Green let Ryan get by him…will this change the momentum?
1023pm – Nylander steal and quick snap shot stopped by Giguere..great save..it could have been 4-1 right there…Nylander needs to step up tonight as does Chris Clark..both guys have been slumping this season
1024pm – 1132 left in 1st period…for those who don’t know who Bobby Ryan is, he was the 2nd pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft right behind Sydney Crosby
1026pm – Ovechkin held on move to net but no call..now it looks like there will be an Anaheim penalty after Boyd Gordon is mugged in corner and cut…time to figure out who the refs are….Stephane Auger and Tom Kowal..never heard of them, not sure if that is good or bad…only 2 minute penalty..looks like these guys could be bad..although this is the 3rd Washington PP…although all penalties were clear cut
1029pm – Caps work puck into zone easily and Giguere stones Kozlov on a great chance..need to get a puck by Giguere to take his confidence…Caps now taking a penalty..uh oh…
1031pm – 801 left in 1st period..Caps outworking Ducks and Kunitz takes a bad penalty..Caps back to PP..again, need to get one by Giguere here to take life from him…he has been sharp so far
1034pm – Green buried by Pronger on rush..OUCH…need to keep your head up when he is on the ice..let’s hope Green is okay…Ovechkin takes a charging penalty and Ducks go back on PP…Theodore needs to hold the fort here
1037pm – 15 seconds to go on PP, 446 left in 1st…Theodore makes good save after Laich giveaway…Ducks are putting lots of bodies in front of Theodore but Caps doing a good job of blocking shots and passing lanes when shorthanded so far
1039pm – Kozlov looks best he’s ever looked as a Cap but Giguere stones him….told you I didn’t want to face him…uh oh Caps breakdown on defense as Schultz misplays puck and gives Ryan and Getzlaf a two on one and #15 goes in alone on Theodore and scores, 3-2…I’m still waiting to see Mike Green since the Pronger hit….
1044pm – Erskine trip with 107 to go..a 3-0 start is turning into a horror show here…
1047pm – Caps get out of first period ahead 3-2…53 seconds left on Anaheim penalty…looks like Mike Green did not play after the Pronger hit…he only had 511 of ice time…not good… the last thing the Caps needed was another injury..
End of 1st period analysis: A super start by the Caps has turned into trouble, although the Ducks two goals were the result of fluky plays in the Caps end. Caps PK is looking good and it will need to continue. Theodore will need to be sharp the rest of the night. If Mike Green is out this is NOT good. He was hammered by Pronger on a rush behind the Ducks net. Pure speculation here but it could be a head injury as he hit it hard on the way down. Caps need to find a way to get a puck by Giguere, he looks real sharp and as said above he has a great record against the Caps. Caps outshoot Ducks 14-5 in first period.
1105pm – Poti makes great play to break up an odd man rush to start period then Theodore makes big save in close and Pronger hits post on point blast..Ducks still going hard to net on Caps who only have 5 defensemen
1108 – Giguere robs Backstrom in front on Caps PP backhander…easy to see why this goalie has a Stanley Cup ring
1109 – OVECHKIN PP goal as he goes all alone on Giguere on great pass by Clark and work by Schultz on wall…Giguere is finally beaten! 4-2 Caps, PP is great tonight!
1110 – Fight right off faceoff between Brashear and Parros…I give slight nod to Brashear and should not allow Ducks to get momentum back…Ovechkin has 4 points tonight!
1112- I can here Boz Scaggs singing “Danger there’s a Breakdown dead ahead”…Caps give up another 2 on 1 break and Theodore makes save of the game on Ryan who is looking like the guy the Ducks thought they had when they drafted him in 2005
1115pm – 1433 to go 2nd period….still no Mike Green sighting…Chris Clark is starting to show some jump this period, good to see…delayed penalty coming on Caps….Dave Steckel on a hook…Bruce Boudreau will not be happy with that play…Jim Schoenfeld used to call those type of penalties “lazy ones”
1119pm – 1217 to go 2nd period, 24 seconds left in PP…blind referees miss obvious cross check by Ducks on Bradley but no damage..
1121pm – Another great shift by Ovechkin line gets the Caps a PP…1036 to go 2nd period…Fehr playing point on PP to give the defense a rest with Green out…Caps need to be careful turnovers/blocked shots don’t lead to odd man rushes against…Kozlov makes great play to thwart one after a pass bounces through Great #8′s skates
1126pm – Penalty on Caps…referees calling it “tightest he’s seen in awhile,” says Laughlin..#60 needs to come up strong again..
1129pm – 526 left in 2nd period..Caps kill 5th Ducks PP on night…they need to stay out of the box because Anaheim is due…Theodore looking solid in net…Ovechkin gets another quick shot off but Giguere makes another save…cheap shot by stiff defensemen Montador on Ovechkin…these referees need to wake up…anyone who read my blogs from last year know that I despise Anaheim and their thuggery.
1134pm – A couple of odd man rushes for Caps but Brashear passes off on best chance…Montador gets away with an elbow up high on Fehr….3 minutes to go in 2nd period…Steckel in close on Giguere but can’t convert..not sure why no holding call on the Ducks as defensemen was draped all over #39
1136pm – Bad bounce for Ducks, finally…. and puck goes right to Bradley in front off of Gordon pass and he buries it, 5-2 CAPS!!!
1138pm – Fehr quality chance off of Ducks turnover but Giguere stops it…108 to go in 2nd…
1139pm – 2 good saves by Theodore late in period..Ducks still going hard to net…32 seconds left
End of 2nd Period analysis: Game settled down a bit for Washington and most action was in Ducks end. Caps forwards continue to put pressure on Ducks defense and cycling game and transition game are working…key for Caps is to STAY OUT OF THE BOX in the 3rd period…Anaheim will try and goad shorthanded Washington defense into penalties…Tom Poti has 1838 of ice time followed by 1508 of ice time for Tyler Sloan on defense…Sloan has been unsung hero of the season so far…Defensemen Jurcina has only played 948 of ice time but with game in LA tomorrow night Boudreau needs a REALLY good period out of #23. Time for him to step up. Best period Nylander has had in weeks and he has 2 assists on the night. Kozlov continues to shine with Backstrom and Ovechkin…that line is playing phenomenal and Boudreau will need another big period from them.
1157 – Time for 3rd period…Caps need to survive first 2 minutes…ice problems causing delay again.. Pronger hit on Green shown again…Joe B says Green will not return..let’s hope he can go tomorrow because Caps only have 5 D with Morrisonn and Fedorov still not right…I’m not sure they can get someone cross country in time to play anyways and not sure who it would be given salary cap implications…tough position for GM George McPhee to be in right now
1201am – Joe B and Locker just tell us Morrisonn took morning skate so that is a good sign should Green be out for the LA game tomorrow…still 1710 to go here…Caps need to keep up strong neutral zone play and not give up any odd man rushes
1203am – Unbelievable pressure by Ryan line again, he has been great tonight…but Theodore shuts the door for the Caps….16 minutes to go
1207 am – Caps outstanding PR staff just confirm to me that Green will not return tonight..for the record I support the NHL’s policy to not fully disclose injuries despite what some of the guys on Hockey Night in Canada say…but more on that another time….1332 to go in contest…Schultz makes good block of Perry potential shot down wing on Theodore…
1211am – Getzlaf great quality scoring chance but he shoots wide…Caps need to tighten up and control the puck…Ovechkin line on ice now…that should help
1213am – 6-2 Caps on Steckel rebound goal…Jurcina steps up with a hard shot that Giguere can’t handle…Caps had traffic in front and Steckel had open net….
1215am – just when it looked over…Ryan strikes again as Poti and Theodore collide in front of net and Todd Marchant’s great one handed effort puts the puck out front for Ryan to stuff home…now 6-3 Caps with just over 9 minutes to go..
1217am – Caps being outshot 11-4 in this third period…hold onto your hats…another Great #8 goal would be nice…interference on Caps called on Ovechkin…DOH!! 837 to go and this is a big kill…not what Boudreau wanted at this point…come on Jose!
1220am – Nothing Jose could do on this one as Ducks tic-tac-toe it and Selanne has easy open net goal..Sloan needed to cut off pass but like I said after 2 periods: the Ducks PP was due…Boudreau calls time out with 8 minutes to go and game 6-4…Caps defensemen have to be tired…
1223am – Theodore HUGE save on Selanne blast after lots of Ducks pressure for several minutes…Randy Carlyle’s crew has too many men on the ice…big break for Caps…time to put this away..no chances at blueline with chopped up ice…Boudreau needs to tell team to make the easy play, no fancy stuff this late in the game
1229 am – No sale on PP but 3 minutes to go…Caps need to cycle puck and don’t take any penalties..Caps get away with Clark trip on Pronger…luckily referees are mostly blind…
1231 am- Long pass splits Caps D and springs Brendan Morrison in alone on Theodore but #60 comes out to challenge and Morrison shoots over the net…he’d like to have that one back…WHEW
1233 am – 71 seconds left in regulation…4 on 4 after scrum…I don’t hear Dandy Don Meredith singing yet but he is warming up behind me…stay tuned..
1235 am – Ducks pull goalie to go 5 skaters on 4…Theodore makes save on Getzlaf point blast…icing on Caps….35 seconds left…good save by Theodore off faceoff
1236 am – TURN OUT THE LIGHTS, THE PARTY IS OVER! CAPS WIN 6-4….very good win over a good team. Caps now 11-4-3 on season for 25 points and three point lead on Carolina and Washington still has a game in hand. Losing Mike Green to injury only thing that darkens the evening…
End of Game Stats and Analysis: Caps outshot 16-5 in 3rd period but overall win shots battle 33-32. Poti led all players with over 29 minutes of ice time.
My 3 Stars of the Game:
Caps continue to win despite some key injuries..with Green, Semin, and Fedorov out of the lineup that is $14M of salary missing…
Time to switch to NHL Network and NHL “On the Fly”…Craig Button, former GM of the Calgary Flames, is providing analysis…..
I’m calling it quits tonight but since this seemed to go well, the Caps won, and I’m superstitious we’ll do this again Thursday night for the Caps-Kings game.