- Milan Lucic-type players don’t grow on trees, of course, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a power forward who on a nightly basis was a credible threat to record a Gordie Howe hat trick? Lucic was Tuesday night’s well-deserved first star. He’s Old Time Hockey in the very best sense.
- The Bruins, by virtue of their size, are a “tough matchup” for the finesse Caps, we heard much of Tuesday night in the Verizon Center press box. Well, the Capitals could face Boston in the postseason; Tuesday night suggested that that wouldn’t be much fun.
- More Lucic: his goal in the first period — the Bs’ second of the game — was the game winner, and it occurred in warrior’s alley, smack in front of the Caps’ net, with top-pairing defenseman Jeff Schultz perfectly positioned in the slot. Sarge didn’t make a bad play on the goal — he made no play. But that’s his game; it’s positional, not adversarial, in areas of the ice where defenders are best served being brutes. And most of the Caps’ defenders play this way.
- Eighty-plus hockey game seasons deliver their share of it’s-just-not-our-night outings, and Tuesday seemed that way for the hosts. Already without Mike Green and Matt Bradley, the Caps lost their top performer on the young season, Michal Neuvirth, in the first frame. He departed the game with dizziness and a headache and what the team called flu symptoms after surrendering two goals. Semyon Varlamov came on in relief and yielded a single goal on which he was thoroughly screened, and otherwise played rock solid. Meanwhile, his teammates pumped plenty of rubber on Tim Thomas (36 shots, including 18 in the third), and their head coach wasn’t displeased with his skaters’ effort. “I thought in the first 10 minutes, we played as hard as we played all year. But you make a mistake and it’s in the net,” Boudreau told the media afterward.
- Alexander Semin was the Capitals’ best forward. Yes he took a bad penalty in the offensive zone, and yes he had a couple of turnovers, but he made a ton of plays, and he pelted Thomas with 10 shots, many of them of high quality.
- On the good news front: the Caps’ penalty kill — among the league’s worst a season ago — continued its remarkable makeover in 2010-11, going 4-for-4 on the night and maintaining its perfect performance on the season (25-for25).