On December 26, 2010, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Gregg Forwerck
Ouch. (Photo credit: John Carlson)
The yuletide has receded, and the Washington Capitals have gotten back to work. Meeting the Carolina Hurricanes in snow-covered Raleigh, the Caps were out to test their mettle following that shootout loss to Pittsburgh on the 23rd.
Mathieu Perreault crashed the net in the first period, turning a sublime, unguarded puck from Alex Semin into the night’s first goal. In the second, Jussi Jokinen exploited a bad Caps line change to sneak one past Semyon Varlamov. Minutes later, Alex Ovechkin stormed through neutral ice and set up David Steckel to make the score 2-1. In the late second period, a bounce went finally went the right way for Ovi, who submitted the Caps third and final goal. The Canes attempted a comeback led by Jay Harrison/Tuomo Ruutu’s goal, but couldn’t get all the way. Caps beat Canes 3-2.
I wrote a WaPo article discussing the emergence of Matty P, and fat_daddyo from Japers’ Rink asked me to compare the games where Matty P records a point to the games where he doesn’t. My first thought was the chances would be the same since the Caps have been pretty consistent during the year as a whole since it was their conversion rate (goals scored off of chances) that plummeted (from ~18% to ~6%) during their losing streak.
There has been much debate over which young netminder should be the Caps number one option, with fans pledging their allegiance to either #TeamNeuvy or #TeamVarly, but I maintain it is not even close.
Looking at the scoring chance save percentage for each goaltender in different situations shows why Neuvirth seems to have the confidence of Coach Bodreau, even when the Caps were at their worst these last few games. Remember, I use a specific definition of what I consider a scoring chance based on shot quality data and log everyone who is on the ice at the time using the script from Vic Ferrari. As always, you can find the spreadsheet online – which I finally updated. Merry Christmas!
In the article translated below, we learn even more crucial information about Kuz including his nagging shoulder injury, his thoughts on the slash Braden Holtby delivered to him during Caps Development Camp, and his experience being drafted by Washington. On top of that, we also learn about Kuznetsov’s half a year of driving without a license, his love for McDonald’s food, and his embarrassment on never seeing Alex Ovechkin play live. Check out all of that and more below the jump.
No matter what you believe in, have a lovely weekend. On behalf of Neil, Ian, Rachel, and the extended RMNB/SHOE family, I wish you peace on Earth and goodwill towards men. Except on the ice. There we’d prefer wanton violence and arbitrary hatred to reign.
We really want to talk to the person who gave their tickets to these guys. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)
There was certainly a special buzz in the air today. With most schools shutdown and most work-places deserted for the upcoming Christmas holiday, Caps fans traveled in droves to Kettler Capitals Iceplex to cheer on their hometown team during their pre-game skate. Why? Because the Pittsburgh Penguins were in town.
The energy the Caps felt in the morning certainly translated to the game as one minute in, Alex Ovechkin laid out frenemy, Evgeny Malkin, with one of his biggest hits of the season. The crowd went wild. The Penguins lost their composure. And seconds later, as Evgeny Malkin looked for retribution, he took a two minute interference call. The Capitals get a powerplay!
Unfortunately for our heroes, there was too much standing around, and there wasn’t enough crashing of the net in their ensuing man advantage. The Penguins savvily killed off the powerplay and seized back momentum immediately on a beautiful deflection goal by Sidney Crosby at 3:21.
Thirty-one game minutes later, the Capitals tied it up at the tail end of a 5-on-3 powerplay. Mike Green, who had pinched-in to the top of the face-off circle, riffled a slapshot to the top corner of the net. The game stayed tied 1-1, until the beginning of the third, when Sidney Crosby challenged three Capitals players, flicked the puck towards the net, and found Chris Kunitz who backhanded a shot home.
Things looked dicey until team leader Mike Knuble converted on a crazy 2-on-1 goal while the Caps were shorthanded. The two teams then went to Overtime. Despite what looked to be another goal by Mike Green, the extra five minutes of 4-on-4 hockey could not decide a victor. After an exciting shootout, Pascal Dupuis scored at the bottom of the 7th round. Pens beat Caps 3-2 (SO).
On December 23, 2010, In Guest Post, By Russian Machine Never Breaks
Editor’s note: Chris Gordon of Caps Snaps files this report on Andrew Gordon (no relation) and the first goal of his NHL career.
Capitals center Marcus Johansson raced down the left wing, picked up the loose puck and fired a cross-ice pass to Andrew Gordon, who jammed the puck past Devils goalie Martin Brodeur for his first career goal.
“When I first hit it, I didn’t know if it went in or not,” Gordon said after Wednesday’s practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “Once I saw [the red light], it was a real good feeling getting the first goal for the team and just knowing I contributed.”