Postgame Notebook, 11-02-07
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Turnaround – In the first 17:34 of Friday night’s 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, the Washington Capitals dominated the ice. They outshot Philly by a 14-3 count, and outplayed, outchanced and outskated the Flyers all over the ice. Philadelphia was hanging on, and the Caps might have been a goal or two away from blowing the Flyers out. Philadelphia’s tough guys were trying to engage the Caps, trying to get any kind of a spark started.
Despite its dominance, Washington held the slimmest of margins. Tomas Fleischmann’s second goal of the season gave the Caps a 1-0 lead at 7:29.
Flyers alternate captain Mike Richards got his teammates started when he dropped the gloves with Washington’s Brooks Laich at that 17:34 mark. At that stage of the game, the Flyers had gone more than seven minutes without a shot on goal. Less than half a minute after that bout, the Flyers had a shot on goal and they had drawn a penalty.
From the 17:34 mark of the first period to the 13:24 mark of the third, Philadelphia dominated. The Flyers outscored the Caps 3-0 and outshot Washington by 24-7.
Although they trailed by two goals for most of the third period and needed to generate offense, Washington went 13:24 into the final frame before it recorded its first shot on goal of that period.
“They obviously came out really hard in the first,” said Philly netminder Antero Niittymaki, who notched his first win since Feb. 17. “There were a lot of shots especially from the outside and I was able to see most of them. I think the rest of the game was harder for me then the first period. Lots of standing around during the second and third periods and it was great to get the win.”
Blocking Out the Stars – For the second straight night, Washington had nearly as many of its shots blocked as it managed to get on goal. The Caps had 31 shots on goal against the Rangers on Thursday night, but had another 30 shots blocked out in front of the cage.
On Friday against Philly, the Capitals fired 26 shots on goal and had 25 blocked.
You a Shooter – Alex Ovechkin ranked third in the NHL with 63 shots on goal entering tonight’s contest. He also led the NHL with 30 missed shots.
Ovechkin added five shots on goal to his total in Friday night’s game against the Flyers, and netted his ninth goal of the season on one of them. He also had another six attempted shots blocked and missed the net altogether once.
Through 13 games in 2007-08, Ovechkin has 68 shots on goal, 31 missed shots and has had 49 shots blocked.
Eight Straight for Eight -- Friday's game marked the eighth straight contest against Philadelphia in which Ovechkin has scored at least one goal. It's the longest current streak of its kind in the NHL.
Fighting Keystoners – Four of the Caps’ five fighting majors this season have been incurred in games against the NHL’s two Pennsylvania teams. Matt Pettinger went with Pittsburgh’s Jordan Staal and Donald Brashear fought the Penguins’ Georges Laraque at Verizon Center on Oct. 20.
Friday night’s game featured fights between Philly’s Richards and Washington’s Laich and the Flyers’ Ben Eager and the Caps’ Brian Sutherby. All five of Washington’s fighting majors this season have come on Verizon Center ice.
Balance of Power – Philadelphia enjoyed 13:43 in power play time during Friday night’s game, and it recorded 16 of its 29 shots on goal while it enjoyed the man advantage. R.J. Umberger’s power play goal at 1:33 of the third period proved to be the game-winner, and the Flyers were 1-for-7 with the extra man on the evening.
Washington had a mere 2:03 in power play time, and it managed but one shot on goal during that time. Alex Ovechkin made that one shot count, ripping it past Philadelphia netminder Antero Niittymaki at 15:52 of the third period to draw the Caps within a goal. Washington was 1-for-2 on the power play in Friday’s loss to Philly, and is now 6-for-22 (27.3%) with the extra man in its last five games.
Despite that strong stretch on the power play, the Capitals are 1-4 in that five-game stretch. Because of a blowout win (7-1) over the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Monday, the Caps have actually outscored their opponents 14-13 during the five-game span in which they’ve posted a 1-4 record.
Flat in First, Flying in the Second – Over their last five meetings with Washington, the Flyers have been outscored 9-2. Heading into Friday night’s game at the Phone Booth, the Flyers were the league’s second-most prolific second period team this season with 18 goals in a dozen games. Philadelphia added two more second period tallies to that total tonight.
Mr. Jones – Eleven years to the day after he was dealt to the Colorado Avalanche in the trade that brought Chris Simon to Washington, for Capitals winger Keith Jones was in the house here on Friday night. In addition to serving as a studio host for NHL telecasts on the Versus Network, Jones works on Flyers telecasts for Comcast SportsNet.
Jones was Washington’s seventh choice (141st overall) in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft. After four seasons at Western Michigan University, the Brantford, Ont. native began his pro career in 1991-92, just up the road in Baltimore. He made it to the NHL with Washington in 1992-93, and totaled 62 goals, 127 points and 454 PIM in 258 games with the Caps. Along with Michal Pivonka and Peter Bondra, Jones was part of the PBJ Line in Washington in the mid-1990s.
On Nov. 2, 1996, then-Capitals general manager David Poile swapped Jones, a first-round choice in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft and a fourth-rounder in ’98 to Colorado for Simon and defenseman Curtis Leschyshyn. (Exactly a week later, Poile flipped Leschyshyn to Hartford for center Andrei Nikolishin.)
While with Colorado, Jones played a four-game rehab stint with the Bears in Hershey. A knee injury ended Jones’ NHL playing career in 2000-01 when he was with the Flyers, and he has been in the broadcasting business ever since.
This Date in NHL History – One of the game’s all-time greats netted his first NHL goal, the first of 379, on this date in 1944. “Terrible” Ted Lindsay, all 5-foot-8 and 163 pounds of him, tallied for the Detroit Red Wings against the New York Rangers. Lindsay went on to a great career, which included playing the left side on the famed “Production Line” with center Sid Abel (Brent Johnson’s grandfather) and Gordie Howe. All three players are enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Lindsay also was instrumental in the eventual forming of the NHL Players’ Association.
Down on the Farm – Hearty congratulations are in order tonight for goaltender Daren Machesney, who recorded his first career AHL shutout for Hershey on Friday night, a 2-0 road whitewash over the Albany River Rats in Albany. Ben Clymer and Kyle Wilson each netted his third goal of the season for the Bears to support Machesney’s 36-save performance in the cage.
Twenty of Albany’s shots on goal came during the middle frame. Hershey had to kill off a five-minute high-sticking major to Chris McAllister, and most of that major overlapped a pair of Hershey minors on either side, meaning the Bears were at a two-man disadvantage for much of McAllister’s penalty.
The shutout was the second of Machesney’s pro career; he notched his first with ECHL South Carolina last season.
The win raises Hershey’s record to 3-4, tied for fifth in the East Division standings. The Bears host Bridgeport on Saturday at Giant Center.
Down a level, Jared Bednar’s South Carolina Stingrays get back in action on Saturday when they visit the Columbia Inferno at Carolina Coliseum. The Stingrays are 4-3-1 and in second place in the ECHL’s South Division. South Carolina has scored 32 goals this season, five more than any other club in the circuit.