Monday, December 20, 2010

The cure for what ails ya

Caps snap skid against Ottawa
Rock bottom for Washington was 40 minutes away. At the first intermission, head coach Bruce Boudreau must have said the right things to his team. Something like, "Hey, fellas? You do realize we're playing Brian Elliott and the Senators, don't you?" And the Capitals realized this.

(Of course, every other word that Boudreau would've said was an F-bomb; I cleaned it up as this is a family blog.)

Washington scored three goals in the first 6:55 of the second period - including two goals in the first 80 seconds - to erase a 2-0 deficit and held on for a 3-2 win over Ottawa to snap its eight-game losing streak and leapfrog Atlanta back into first place in the Southeast Division.

Mathieu Perreault had two of the goals, getting Washington on the board at 2-1 then netting a power play goal a few minutes later to give the Capitals the 3-2 lead. Eric Fehr had a goal and assist and Michal Neuvirth made 24 saves.

Ryan Shannon and Chris Kelly scored for Ottawa.

So close, yet so far
Chris Osgood was just over three minutes away from joining the exclusive 400 wins club. Then the shit hit the fan.

Brenden Morrow's second goal of the game with 3:14 to play in regulation forced overtime, where Loui Eriksson's wrister on a 3-on-1 gave Dallas a 4-3 victory over Detroit. Eriksson also had two assists, as did Jamie Benn. Brad Richards also scored and Andrew Raycroft made 28 saves.

Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen had a goal and assist and Patrick Eaves also scored for the Red Wings.

Streaking
Chris Stewart, Paul Stastny, Milan Hejduk. These are just some of the key names Colorado has missed from its lineup in recent days. That hasn't stopped the Avalanche from going on a nice little run.

Craig Anderson made 27 saves - 14 in the third period - and Colorado held off a Montreal assault to earn a 3-2 win, the Avalanche's sixth straight win that propelled them to the top of the Northwest Division. Ryan Wilson, T.J. Galiardi and Kevin Porter all scored for Colorado and Ryan O'Reilly had two assists.

Mike Cammalleri and Alexandre Picard scored power play goals for the Canadiens, who now have fewer points than three teams that are "below" them in the Eastern standings.

Quick response helps Chicago best Quick, Kings
See what I did there? Clever, huh?

Duncan Keith scored 25 seconds after Los Angeles tied the score at 1-1 and Chicago held off the Kings to earn a 3-2 victory. Jonathan Toews had a goal and assist, Patrick Sharp set up two goals and Fernando Pisani also scored. Corey Crawford made 26 saves.

Wayne Simmonds scored and helped set up Kyle Clifford's goal for the Kings. Jonathan Quick stopped just 21 shots.

Thoughts
--A good question to ask is when will Osgood get his next crack at #400? Maybe Mike Babcock relents and plays him more than normal until he gets it.

--I think I've mentioned this before, but I think the NHL should seed the top four teams in each conference based on points, but still guarantee division winners a top-four spot. Just don't automatically give them the top three spots. If one team has fewer points than a second-place team, drop the division winner down a spot. They'll still get home-ice advantage in the first round.

--Has anyone seen Mike Green? He's missed some games here and there with an injury or illness, but is he playing with something more serious? He has only one point, an assist, in his last 13 games. Is that a reason why Washington's offense - and power play (3-32 in the last eight games) - is struggling?

--The Stars are kinda, slowly creating some separation in the Pacific. Can Kari Lehtonen's back hold up to it? Raycroft's been pretty solid as a backup but I wouldn't want to roll with him long-term.

--Does anybody talk about the high-powered Avalanche? Do you know they lead the league in goals? OK, sure, they're also one of only seven teams to have allowed 100 or more goals, but they have the guns to make up for it.

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