The Caps won a 4-2 game tonight, but it certainly didn’t feel like a 4-2 game. Those first 50 minutes were a pretty thorough beatdown, then the Caps got a bit sloppy/de-energized toward the end.
Here are some news and notes from after the game:
* Shaone Morrisonn left the game after a taking a shot off his leg and a hooking penalty with 1:07 left. He said he didn’t want to go to the box and not be able to skate after he came out. He was in considerable pain, and isn’t sure if he will be able to practice tomorrow.
* Chris Bourque collected his first NHL goal and was a menace on the forecheck — that’s a vintage Bourque outing. He wasn’t credited with any hits, but it sure did look like he had three or four from up here.
His NHL career is only nine games long, but broken over a couple of seasons it seems like this goal was a long time coming.
“It was really exciting. I didn’t really think it was happening when it happened – I kind of blacked out,” Bourque said. “It is my fourth year pro now, and I’ve been dreaming of this happening ever since I turned pro.”
The Bourque-Steckel-Fehr line had a very nice night in limited duty. They spent a lot of time in the offensive end, and were credited with 11 shots attempts between the three of them.
* Jose Theodore had another steady night and has now won four straight games. He also had some demons to take care of in this building. He was 1-7 with a .861 save percentage in 10 appearances in this barn before tonight.
Since yielding the breakaway goal agaisnt the Rangers last Tuesday in the second period, Theodore has turned aside 93 of 98 shots — that’s a .949 save percentage.
* This is normally a very vibrant arena, but it was pretty dead tonight. When the road team jumps out to a quick 2-0 lead and doesn’t yield a great scoring chance in the first 40 minutes, that will happen.
* Boyd Gordon earned his fourth goal of the year — sure it was an empty-netter, but the cut on his forehead didn’t come cheap.
* Brooks Laich has six goals in nine games.
* Nicklas Backstrom has 38 points in 26 games.
* Here are some of the crazy team-oriented numbers for the surging Caps:
— Nine wins in 10 games
— 13 wins in 17 games since coming back from the west coast trip
— Four wins in five road games (that record away from the Phone Booth doesn’t look so bad now)
— With Carolina not playing tonight, the lead in the Southeast is now 12 points
— 110 points in the 2008 calendar year (52-23-6)
Finally, here are some thoughts from Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff on tonight’s athletic “competition”:
“It’s the way we started the game. The penalty we took was totally undisciplined off the previous shift. Our effort by our forwards, I thought our defense played well, but the effort by our forwards, you can take a couple of guys out of there. You can take Mair, Gaustad, I don’t know, Matt Ellis was probably our best player that first period. If Jochen Hecht isn’t our best player and Derek Roy isn’t our best player, and those veteran players aren’t our best players, then we don’t have any chance of winning. They got out-muscled. Jochen got out-muscled. He lost some battles and one battle lost lead to a goal. If they aren’t our best players, we won’t win. It’s disappoint, it’s frustrating and you’re not going to hide from me. It’s upsetting.”