Seven Outta Ten Ain't Bad

Okay. I'm going to go ahead and take the optimistic, big-picture look at this game. The Capitals are so talent-laden that they can very nearly beat a decent hockey team despite only playing roughly fifteen minutes of hockey.

Okay. Now for the realistic look. The Capitals once again came out of the locker room flat. The Lightning are a much better team than the Flyers and the Caps can't afford to come out and fail on three straight penalty kills while also failing to get any pucks towards the net or win any faceoffs. To be fair, from where I was sitting, it was tough to tell wether the Caps just sucked in the first two periods or if the Lightning were just that good. They certainly looked pretty good on those three first period power plays. However, the Caps were unable to develop any sort of consistent forecheck and I can't help but wonder how much of that had to do with the fact that Donald Brashear was out of the lineup. (Anybody wanto to give me a pointer as to why that was?) Recently, Brash had been doing a great job of getting the puck in deep and setting a tempo for the Caps, and without him, it seemed like just a lot of dumping and chasing the puck back towards their own end again.

Also, it was tough to tell from my seats, but it certainly seemed like the officiating was questionable at best. I recall seeing not one but two Tampa defenders put their arms across Alex Semin's chest and basically wrestle him to the ground in front of the Lightning goal during the second period without any sort of call.

All in all, I'm going to go ahead and chalk this one up to the inevitable speed bumps a young, developing team is going to run across.

(EDIT: I forgot to mention this story. During the first admission, after the Olympia ice resurfacing machines had finished their work, I watched to ice technicians walking the ice looking for ruts. I saw one of them point to a rather large, rather obvious rut in between the circles at the end the Caps would be shooting at in the second period. The other tech, who had a water bottle for filling such ruts, walked up to it, put his finger in it to demonstrate how deep it was, and then proceeded to ignore it. The rut would later go on to cause the puck to bounce over Chris Clark's stick after a beautiful pass from Alex Ovechkin on a two-on-one.)

(EDIT #2: It has been brought to my attention that it was, in fact, Dainius Zubrus who, when faced with a wide open net and the puck on his stick in the waning moments of the Caps final power play with his team down a goal, shanked it off of the post. I've ranted before about my frustration with Zubrus' inability to convert chances, and I'm now officially declaring that his KHFC nickname shall be "Esa" until further notice.)

Standings Watch: I Watch So You Don't Have To (Because You Shouldn't Be Watching To Begin With, Probably)!
Atlanta and Carolina both won tonight, so the Caps are back in third in the Southeast, seven points out of first. They have two games in hand over both Hurricanes and the Thrashers. As for the conference, they find themselves once again tied with the Islanders and Maple Leafs.

Ovechkin vs. Crosby Again Some More
Ovie had a goal and an assist while Crosby added an assist in a 4-1 loss to St. Louis. Their stat lines are 23-22-45 and 16-37-52 respectively. Ovechkin is one behind Marian Hossa for the NHL lead in goals, while Crosby remains the NHL points leader.

Their numbers for the month of December:
Ovechkin: 7-11-18 in 8 games played (2.25 PPG)
Crosby: 6-15-21 in 10 games played (2.1 PPG)

Recaps From People That Matter:
-Capital Punishment
-Japers' Rink
-Off Wing Opinion
-The Peerless Prognosticator
-Puckhead's Thoughts

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