Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The Caps prevailed in overtime over the Preds 2-1. The Preds pick up a precious point and remain in the 8th spot in the Western Conference with 71 points. Edmonton lost in overtime to Montreal and pick up a point to remain in 7th with 71 points. Columbus shut out the Bruins to move to 74 points, solidifying their 6th position, and Dallas lost to St. Louis 5-2 to remain at 70 points and in the 9th spot in the playoff race.
The Preds dominated the first period, controlling play and spending the majority of the period on Washington's end of the ice. After the first period, the ice started to tilt in favor of the Caps. In the second the Preds had several scoring chances, but couldn't bury them. In the third period, the Caps dominated and outshot the Preds 17-8. Give Kudos to Dan Ellis for some remarkable saves and turning aside 42 shots to gain a point for the Preds. The D was solid in front of Ellis, forcing many of the Caps shots from the outside and limiting the explosive Alexander Ovechkin to five shots and one assist on the game winner by Sergei Federov. The Preds blocked 25 shots tonight and for the most part held a potent Capital offense in check. If there is a negative from this game, it was the fact that the Predators returned to some old and frustrating habits by not taking shots and favoring the pass instead. This team has to win in a workman like manner- throw the puck on the net and crash the crease. That was lacking tonight. Captain Jason Arnott was dinged by a hard open ice hit midway in the second period and did not return for the remainder of the game. This forced Coach Barry Trotz to juggle his lines, and it seemed to affect the rhythm of the offense. Wade Belak punished Donald Brashear in a fight, knocking him out of the game; and Jordin Tootoo absolutely whipped Matt Bradley in a subsequent fight, leaving Bradley bloodied and with a possible broken nose, although he did return to ice later in the game. Unfortunately for the Preds, the energy from these bouts did not translate into offensive production as the Preds were held off the scoreboard for the remainder of the game.
There are positives that can be taken from this game. A point was earned against the third best team in the East; the goal tending from Dan Ellis was outstanding; and the D was solid (Suter and Weber were outstanding tonight). This game proved that we have to stick with what has brought us success offensively- shoot the puck and crash the net. This is not a finesse team, rather it is a blue collar team that wins by playing hard hockey. We lost that focus late in the game and it cost us a point. We have to get back to what has brought us success and not attempt to be something we are not. Redemption time comes Thursday night against the Rangers.