February 21, 2008

Islanders Vs Capitals 02/20/2008 Review

The Washington Capitals and the New York Islanders both entered the game with 28 wins so far this season. The Islanders one point better in the standings, added another point to the difference with the win last night.
Washington was first to get on the scoreboard. With New York's defense split, Matt Pettinger sent a nice outlet pass to a speeding Alexander Semin. Semin scored via backhand on the breakaway. At 12:20 the Isle's Aaron Johnson was called for "sort of" tripping Victor Kozlov. Just over a minute later, Brooks Laich deflected a Mike Green shot past New York's Rick DiPietro. The game's lone power play goal put the Cap's ahead by two. Olie Kolzig somehow also earned an assist on the play. Which is wierd, because DiPietro handled the puck between Olie having it and Green taking the shot. They may change that later on. With Olie Kolzig continuing to make nice saves, and Quintin Laing continuing to sacrifice his body by blocking shots, Washington made it to the end of period one leading 2-0.

It was good to see defenseman Jeff Schultz back on Washington's bench at the beginning of period two, after he left the ice injured seven or eight minutes before period one ended. But, he was only able to get through one shift before leaving the game for good. He apparently suffered a knee strain when he got tangled up with New York's Ruslan Fedotenko in the first period. There was a lot of pushing and shoving going on in the second. You can expect all games to be very physical as we get closer to play off time. These two teams are both currently trying to work their way up to that eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. Almost to the games midpoint, the Isle's Bill Guerin got a break away down the ice. Kolzig stopped the shot. But, Guerin collected his own rebound and passed the puck to Miroslov Satan, who promplty got his 13th goal of the season. The Cap's just didn't have quite the same energy as they had shown in the first. They were having trouble getting the puck out of their own end without it being turned over and brought right back in. Washington did keep their one goal lead through the rest of the second period.

Just over five minutes into the third period, Alex Semin had control of the puck. He was weaving through the Islanders, making them look quite silly. As he wrapped around the net for a shot, an embarrassed and pathetic looking Marc-Andre Bergeron wiped out while trying to keep up. Bergeron took out his frustrations on Semin, who let him have it right back. Everyone then joined the meeting. Both, Semin and Bergeron got 4:00. Around the middle of period three, Washington's Matt Bradley got a few good scoring chances. He moved the puck really well and took some awlfully good shots. Caps' enforcer Donald Brashear and Bill Guerin tried to go at it. Everybody else joined in again. No penalties were doled out this time. At 11:09, Josef Vasicek tied the game up for the Isle's. Kolzig got his left skate to the post in time. But, Vasicek was able to get the puck up a little bit, banking it off the back of Olie's left leg. The typically bad officiating of this season (and last) really showed up toward the end of the third period. Luckily(?), the bad calls went against both sides. Included in this mess, was a bogus hooking call on Washington's Tomas Fleischmann. Later, a cheapish hooking call on New York's Andrew Fata, brother of former Washington Capital Rico Fata.

Both ends of the ice were well traveled in overtime. But, this tied game would require a shootout. DiPietro was able to stop Kozlov, Semin and Alex Ovechkin. Kolzig had no trouble making the saves on Richard Park and Satan. But, Mike Comrie was able to fake out Olie and send the puck in between the pads..

Ovechkin hit his longest goaless streak of the season, now three games in a row. He's just getting over the flu. But, he was also very well covered by Radek Martinek. Semin fared better, as he was able to move around more freely. Tom Poti returned to the lineup after missing a couple games due to a lower body injury and played well. The loss of Jeff Schultz might mean Sami Lepisto returns from the Hershey Bears for a game or two. I hope it's not worse than that. The Cap's outshot the Islanders during the game 30-19. Yet, it's the one shot getting through in the shootout that gave New York two points. The one loser point awarded to Washington isn't very satisfying, but we'll take it.

All Photos - Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

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