Wednesday, November 4, 2009
This feels like Groundhog Day. Even if this game with New Jersey was never going to win any beauty contests, the way it unraveled was miserable.
Once again undisciplined penalties in the third period led to the Caps demise, and I am sure I speak for all Washington fans when I say it must stop and stop soon.
The Devils are always going to grind away with their structured play, making it very hard for teams to produce much in the way of offensive chances. For two and a half periods the Caps countered New Jersey's strategy as best they could.
Then the game turned into a special teams contest when Alex Semin and Brendan Morrison committed penalties that left people scratching their heads.The Devils buried power-play goals on those two opportunities. And then with the Caps only having just a few minutes left to mount a comeback, Semin took another penalty which in effect helped to kill any chances for a tie.
All you needed to do was take one look at Bruce Boudreau behind the bench to realize just how upset he was at the turn of events. This problem has been addressed on more than one occasion and it still continues to occur.
Otherwise, the Caps had to be pleased with Mathieu Perreault's NHL debut. The feisty center waited his turn while many others were called up from Hershey. And when he got his chance tonight he made the most of his nearly 11 minutes of work. He showed a nice touch on the Tyler Sloan goal with a saucer pass out of the Nick Backstrom playbook.
Semyon Varlamov was very solid again in the nets. His rebound control was very good, and for a while it looked like he would outduel Martin Broudeur. I liked John Erskine's return to the lineup, he was steady. Brooks Laich and Tyler Sloan were both deserving of praise up front.
The Caps finally get to see another Southeast Division opponent the rest of the week. The Florida Panthers have been getting super netminding from Tomas Vokoun, and he figures to be tough on Friday.
Alex Ovechkin said he's improving and feeling better, but you could sense his frustration in not being able to help his mates tonight. Here's hoping his stay on the sidelines will be brief.