Capitals-Avalanche 12/17/2011 Live Blog
Tonight, the Washington Capitals look to build on their 1-0 victory Thursday night over the Winnipeg Jets as they visit Colorado to face the Colorado Avalanche. Before anyone asks, no we’re not getting the goalie matchup of the year: Tomas Vokoun vs. Semyon Varlamov. Instead it will be Michal Neuvirth facing off against veteran Jean-Sébastien Giguère. Neuvirth is coming off a shut out performance against the Jets on Thursday night. Giguere is not the goalie that he used to be, but he’s still a force to be reckoned with thanks to his instincts and all his intangibles. A quick fun fact about JSG: Chris Pronger and JSG are the only two former Hartford Whalers still playing in the NHL.
Here are tonight’s Capitals Lines:
#Caps lines tonight vs. COL: 8-19-28, 20-90-15, 25-21-42, 26-85-22. Defense: 27-74, 4-6, 44-81. Neuvirth in net.
— Mike Vogel (@VogsCaps) December 18, 2011
That would be Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Alexander Semin, Troy Brouwer-Marcus Johannson-Jeff Halpern, Jason Chimera-Brooks Laich-Joel Ward, and Matt Hendricks-Mathieu Perreault-Mike Knuble for the forwards, and Karl Alzner-John Carlson, John Erskine-Dennis Wideman, and Roman Hamrlik-Dmitry Orlov for the defense. Scratches tonight are Mike Green (who has rejoined the team), Jeff Schultz (healthy), and Cody Eakin (healthy).
2:49- AVALANCHE GOAL. 1-0 AVALANCHE. Cody McCleod (1), assisted by Shane O’Brien (8) and Erik Johnson (12)
Neuvirth allowed a very soft goal. No idea why he had trouble with the shot, it wasn’t that hard. Regardless, Capitals now face a 1-0 deficit and must fight back. Very sloppy play from both teams so far. Capitals are starting to get some momentum going though.
13:03 CAPITALS PENALTY. Perreault, 2 minutes for holding.
Really dumb penalty by Perreault. Unnecessary and it cost a potential scoring chance for the Capitals.
13:03 FIGHT! Matt Hendricks vs. Cody McCleod
Hendricks does what he does best: fight to try to get something going for the Capitals. McCleod acted like a punk after the fight, Capitals might send a message later on.
17:32 AVALANCHE PENALTY. Jay McClement, 2 minutes for holding.
Capitals Power Play gets a chance to tie this game up. McClement with a very obvious holding call. They get nothing out of it.
END OF THE FIRST PERIOD. AVALANCHE LEAD 1-0.
The Capitals are very lucky to only be down 1-0 right now. Both teams are playing very sloppy, but the Avalanche have had several great scoring opportunities and Neuvirth is off his game tonight. Ironically, he’s stopped them on their biggest scoring chances, but allowed the goal on their weakest scoring chance. Go figure.
Capitals are getting good scoring chances on offense, they just need to start crashing the net often. Giguere is a blocker and will give up a ton of rebounds. The Capitals have to take advantage of those rebounds. Somebody has to get tough and camp out in the slots, because that’s where a lot of the rebounds are going.
Capitals defense have been playing pretty well. Just have to take away the big scoring chances from the Avalanche. We’ve got 40 minutes left of hockey, so it’s still anybody’s game. I’d love to see the Caps come out strong in the second period.
UPDATE: Mathieu Perreault is ill and will miss the rest of the game.
10:25 AVALANCHE PENALTY. SHANE O’BRIEN, 2 minutes for high-sticking.
High stick after the play. Game is starting to get very physical. Capitals unable to convert on power play opportunity.
13:09 CAPITALS GOAL. 1-1. Alex Semin (6), assisted by Dmitry Orlov (5) and Joel Ward (8).
Beautiful breakaway goal for Alex Semin. Giguere had no chance at it.
14:03 AVALANCHE GOAL. 2-1 AVALANCHE. Erik Johnson (1), assisted by Milan Hejduk (13) and Ryan O’Reilly (17)
Horrible goal allowed by Neuvirth.
15:48 CAPITALS PENALTY. Jeff Halpern, two minutes for boarding.
Capitals manage to kill the penalty. Huge PK there for the Capitals.
END OF THE SECOND PERIOD. Avalanche lead 2-1.
The Capitals got that goal they needed to tie up the game. Unfortunately, 54 seconds later, Neuvirth allowed another questionable goal. Capitals offense is struggling tonight outside of Semin’s goal. The Capitals are being outshot 21-19 and they are 0/2 on power play opportunities. One of those two things has to change if the Capitals want to get a win tonight.
They also have to tighten things up defensively. Too many scoring chances allowed for the Avalanche. The Avs are spending way too much time in their attack zone. The game is still definitely winnable, things just need to get tightened up and the Capitals have to start creating more chances.
The Capitals offense is struggling mightily tonight. You can’t win games if you score one goal a night.
END OF THE GAME. AVALANCHE WIN 2-1.
Capitals offense couldn’t take advantage of a good job by the Capitals defense. When you’re down a goal and you only get 4 shots off in the third period, you can’t win unless you get a shutout. I’m definitely liking what I’m seeing from the defense though. They’re definitely doing enough to put the Capitals in a good position to win games, as they’ve been in every game except for the Flyers game. Sadly, the offense has not been creating chances lately. I’ll give props to Giguere for doing well tonight, but the Capitals did not execute their game plan tonight.
Michal Neuvirth overcame two shaky goals to do a very solid job in the net overall tonight. He’s still lacking confidence, but at least he’s starting to get it back somewhat. The Capitals return to the Verizon Center on Tuesday to play the Nashville Predators. If I’m not mistaken, that is their last home game before Christmas.