You know that feeling of lethargy when you get out of the car after a couple hour ride? I know personally, after driving the 3 hours plus to the beach, I usually feel like taking a nap. Imagine then, being asked to play hockey after having put in a full 60 minute game the night before. There really is no way to recover fully and be prepared to put in another 60 minutes.
Road legs made it almost impossible for the Capitals to get their first win ever in the Xcel Energy Center against the Minnesota Wild last night. This was after an almost perfectly executed road game put in the night before against the Carolina Hurricanes. Some post game thoughts, below.
- According to @HockeyFacts, “The best ice for professional hockey is approximately 3/4 of an inch thick and is held at 16 degrees Farenheit for proper hardness.” With the way the puck was rolling and bouncing around in Carolina on Wednesday night, I’m guessing the ice was not that cold.
- The Caps played a perfect road game in Carolina. All four lines got pucks deep and worked low to high, setting up point shots with traffic in front of Cam Ward.
- The Capitals looked slow from the opening face off in Minnesota. Most of the guys were coasting.
- The Alzner, Carlson pair just looks natural. They have great chemistry and cover each other up very well.
- In both games, the second line of Laich, Perreault, and Semin, was not as dominant as they had been in the previous two contests. I felt like this could be chalked up to inconsistent play out of Mathieu Perreault. We’ll have to see how he responds in Calgary tomorrow night.
- If the top scoring line drives three wide into the offensive zone, they will get a scoring chance and most likely put a puck in the net. In the Carolina game, Knuble pushed the puck down the right wing with Backstrom coming down the middle and Ovechkin on the left wing. This forced the Hurricanes defenders to give some ground, opening Knuble up for the shot, and Backstrom to stash the rebound behind Cam Ward. During the game in Minnesota, the top line more often than not, was a one man show with the puck carrier on his own entering the zone.
- I am a big Matt Hendricks fan now. That guy has a motor that never stops. In the third period in Minnesota, when Bruce Boudreau was mixing up lines to generate offense, Hendricks centered the Laich and Semin line. They had some sustained zone time and almost scored.
- Win or lose, I’m on #TeamNeuvy. Neuvy picks up his first career shutout on the road in a division rivals’ building. Then, even in a loss with little to no support from his team, Michal Neuvirth continues to stand on his head. That said, Braden Holtby probably gets the sentimental start against the Calgary Flames, on Hockey Night in Canada. Good luck, kid.
Hopefully, the Capitals get some much needed rest today as they prepare to take on the Flames Saturday night. They will need to play another perfect road game at the Scotiabank Saddledome.