Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Red Wings v. Capitals in review

The Wings played arguably their best game of the season against the Caps, winning 3-2. They essentially shut down the league's highest scoring offense, including what was to that point the highest scoring line in the NHL.

Defensively, the Wings were great. Pairing the Dats-Z line against the Ovechkin line worked very well, as it made the Ovie line expend extra energy playing defense. Backstrom and Semin were absent from the scoresheet, and Ovechkin tallied only an assist after averaging 3 ppg to that point. I was really impressed with Ovechkin's overall play despite his lack of offensive output. He had something like 10 hits and I just think he's a far more complete player at this point than Crosby, but that's neither here nor there. The one lingering concern here is the penalty kill. The Wings allowed yet another PPG, dropping their PK% for the season to a woeful 64.7 Why this unit can't get it together I don't know, but this is definitely a glaring weakness on what looks like an otherwise strong team.

The Wings were impressive offensively as well. Perhaps the best goal of the game was the first, which resembled a playoff goal. Clearly and Leino both fought for position in front of the net, with Leino putting away the loose puck and subsequently taking a fist to the face. Nice to see that he's not just a pure scorer put is willing to jockey for position and take one on the chin in. The Wings other two goals came on the PP, raising the Wings PP% for the season to an impressive 30. Both times the Wings were able to get traffic in front of the net along with good puck movement, which really makes me think the PP is in mid season form. The Wings also outshot the Caps by 13, which is nice to see after the Wings were outshot by the Blackhawks. Thirty four shots on goal and outshooting the oppponent by 13 is Wings hockey in a nutshell, and it's nice to see this finally appear this season.

Ozzie was huge once again. He robbed Ovechkin alone in the crease, and though he didn't have to stop that many shots (a moderate 24 faced) he was nevertheless impressive. I think we can all safely say that the season operner against the Blues was a fluke and that last year is way behind him.

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