Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cuts Both Ways

The Capitals are the 2009 Southeast Division Champions!

They got there via scoring seven goals on Friday night... the problem being that three of those went into their own net.

Maybe they were just unlucky bounces of the type that plagues Pat during online poker where his pocket aces get cracked by the luckbox that "feels it" with his 2-7 offsuit. Or maybe it was just indicative of lazy skatework (two of them went off defenseman skates), and a general feeling of, "We've got this locked up."

In any event, Melissa's text to me, "The Sabres don't want it bad enough," wasn't true. The Sabres might not have wanted it "bad enough," but they certainly wanted it more than the Capitals did. They outplayed and outhustled the Capitals during the first period, and really, the only reason the Capitals were still in it after two was because the Sabres thought it would be really cool to take a multitude of penalties, leading to a couple of 5-on-3 situations that the Capitals took advantage of.

Why is it that Brooks Laich seems to be the only guy routinely willing to take the abuse of standing in front of the net, whether it's on the power play or even strength? Dude must have a ton of bruises from the battering he gets every game. The worst part is that while he gets beat up when he camps out in the crease, no one seems willing to make opposing players pay the same price in front of Varlamov or Theodore. Not once on Friday night did we see a Capitals d-man push a Sabre who was in the crease, much less lift his stick or otherwise make his life miserable for standing there. This is something that has to change for the playoffs. It's going to be how goals are scored... on both ends.

Sergei Fedorov was on, yet off, on Friday night. Two goals. Multitude of faceoff wins. But, he was directly responsible for the pass that was picked off for the game winning goal in overtime. It was pretty much inconceivable, considering he is usually one of the tightest players on the team in OT. Miscommunication between him and the receiver? Maybe. Tired from a long season? Maybe. Whatever it was, I'm sure that he and the team reflected on it a lot later that evening and through practice yesterday.

Atlanta is up next, for both games. A home game -- the last home game of the regular season -- on Sunday at 3, followed by a trip down to the dirty souf for the beginning of the last three game road trip of the regular season. I'll be at both, hopefully getting some good shots. Cembor has graciously sought out tickets for Tuesday's fight in Atlanta, and Melissa won't be rooting for the Sabres there. :)

Let's go Caps! 107 points is still within reach!

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