No rest for the weary last night, as the Caps played their second consecutive game against a good Northeast division opponent. After losing in Buffalo last night, the Caps hosted a strong Montreal club.
- Buffalo beat Washington with offense on Tuesday night; Montreal beat the Caps with solid defense. Huet played well, and his defensive corps did a good job of keeping most shots to the perimiter, even with the Caps’ PP time advantage.
- The Ovechkin-Zubrus-Semin line was again present last night, with a some-time second line of Pettinger-Gordon-Clark. There has been some concern that having another puck-carrier on Zubrus’ wing takes away from his offensive game. He again wasn’t a stand-out last night, so there may be some legitimacy to that thought. As far as the second unit, it would make a great checking group, but I’m not sure a line configured in that way can be counted on to put up even strength points.
- Midway through the second and through most of the third, the Caps looked tired. Not much to be done about it, sadly, and the schedule isn’t helping – the Caps play at New Jersey tomorrow, and are at the Rangers on Saturday. Some rest would obviously help guys like Morrisonn heal up, but the daily drag of the schedule right now resembles something from an AHL road-trip.
- Lawrence Nycholat is beginning to find his legs at the NHL level, it seems, which is good news for the Caps. Assuming that Schultz will be sent back to Hershey upon Morrisonn’s return to health, Nycholat should get some further minutes to prove his case at the NHL level. To a certain level, it seems he already has, receiving six more minutes of ice time than Heward, including eight more minutes at even strength.
- Steve Eminger’s play continues to slowly and quietly progress. I scratched my head at the sight of a blast from the slot that Huet gloved, and wondered who had taken the shot. To my surprise it was Eminger, who also logged a lot of ice-time.
- Brashear certainly made his presence known.
It was good to get back to hockey after the bad taste and controversy of the night before, but the result wasn’t a complete surprise. It’s a tough stretch for the Caps, but the playoff-contending pack in the Eastern conference hasn’t really had anybody who has taken advantage of other clubs’ misfortunes. If the Caps can ride out the storm, squirreling away a point here or there, then they may be poised for a move when the shcedule provides more breathing room and they get healthy. Getting a point here or there is proving to be as difficult as originally thought, however.