It was a great night for Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin (on offense, at least), a mixed bag for Jose Theodore and a really bad night for just about everyone involved on defense (though Tyler Sloan did have some good moments in the first half of the game).
On to some notes/observations:
*It was a rough night for Tom Poti, who had several turnovers in his own end. It turns out he logged more than 24 minutes despite having bronchitis (kept the tape recorder and the body at a safe distance while talking to him after the game). Considering how shorthanded the Caps are on defense right now, it wasn’t like they could rest him.
*Nicklas Backstrom had four points through 12 games. He now has 16 points in 17 games. That does not even include the two games after the Buffalo blowout where he was one of the best players on the ice but was held scoreless in part because people weren’t finishing. Backstrom is en fuego right now.
“I got some lucky bounces, and I play with good players – that is the key I think,” Backstrom said. “I had a tough start, but I try to do my best out there.”
*Alex Ovechkin had two goals and five points through nine games. He now has seven goals and 17 points in 15 points. Ovechkin also put 12 shots on net tonight. No more slump talk.
*Jose Theodore gave up five goals for the third time this season. But it is hard to throw him under the bus considering the lack of help in front of him. He had three highlight-reel stops in the first 40 minutes, including two dives and an outstretched glove. The second goal (Langenbrunner from near the right circle) wasn’t great, but there were multiple turnovers that led to the eventual shot and the fourth goal (a slapshot from Elias) was one he’d like back.
“I can’t fault him – I praised him, frankly,” Boudreau said of Theodore. “In the second period alone, they had so many good chances. I kept looking up [at the scoreboard] and saying, ‘Geez, we’re still in this.’ “
*The defense misses Shaone Morrisonn and Sergei Fedorov. Bruce Boudreau didn’t want to say that after the game, but it sure does seem like it. The Caps have been outshout in five of the past six games (and are 4-0-1 in those games thanks to stellar goaltending). The defense was sub-standard against Tampa Bay and both of these contests against the Devils. That doesn’t even include 44 shots allowed to Ottawa or the Buffalo and Dallas games.
*For the second straight game, Tomas Fleischmann had a momentum-shifting goal. He’s potted six goals in 17 games — last season he had 10 in 75.
*For the second straight game, Viktor Kozlov was a force to be reckoned with.
*No update on Alexander Semin from Boudreau after the game. He’s got three days to recover before the next game in Anaheim.