Posts Tagged ‘Matt Hunwick’

October 19th, 2010

Hockey Night in Washington: Caps vs. Bruins, October 19, 2010

Green Thomas
Tim Thomas with the save as Mike Green slides. File photo by Pete Silver

I’ll be at Verizon Center tonight tweeting live during tonight’s game between the Caps and Bruins.  Click here for a link to my Twitter feed.  I ought to be up and running between 6:45 and 7:00 p.m. U.S. EDT.  Hope you join me then.

POSTGAME THOUGHTS: Nobody like dropping a game at home (3-1), but there wasn’t a whole lot to complain about tonight when it came to effort.  The Caps got the lion’s share of the chances, outshooting Boston 36-21, and head coach Bruce Boudreau said after the game that the team played as hard in the first 10 minute as they had all season.  Unfortunately, the bounces weren’t going their way tonight—two great scoring chances melted away thanks to broken sticks—though you also need to tip your cap to Tim Thomas (18 saves in the 3rd period), who after all is a little more than a season removed from winning the Vezina Trophy.

I think I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Alexander Semin’s play.  He let loose with a team high 10 shots on goal, and seemed to create a scoring chance every time he touched the puck in the offensive zone.

A couple of weeks back, I wrote a post about why intimidation still has a place in hockey, and having defensemen who can engage in a physical battle in front of the net can be so incredibly important.  For an example of what I was writing about, be sure to watch the entire video of Milan Lucic’s goal.  I don’t mean to pick on Jeff Schultz, who is a solid all around defenseman.  He’s not a physical guy, and Lucic was able to take advantage in this instance.

Special teams continue to be a good news/bad news proposition.  The penalty kill continues to be perfect as Boston went scoreless on four chances with the extra man.  Without Mike Green in the lineup, Washington’s power play can’t help but be hobbled, and it went scoreless in four chances.

The big question tonight was about Michal Neuvirth, who was lifted just 12:42 into the game after giving up two goals.  It turns our Neuvirth has the flu, and Boudreau admitted after the game that he had no idea anything was wrong until Neuvirth complained of dizziness and a headache.  While Neuvirth didn’t say anything beforehand, it’s clear that Boudreau didn’t seem terribly upset, noting that he understood why a competitor like Neuvirth would prefer battling through an illness instead of sitting out.

Semyon Varlamov was more than adequate in relief, stopping 13 of 14 shots.  Only a Matt Hunwick shot from just inside the blue line eluded Varlamov, a shot that he simply couldn’t see through a Boston screen.  As for who will start Thursday in Boston, Boudreau wouldn’t say.

If there was one silver lining, it was seeing Marcus Johansson get his first NHL goal and first NHL point in the second period.  Matt Hendricks did a great job on the forecheck to keep the puck below the goal line. Jason Chimera picked up the loose puck and popped it onto Johansson’s stick as he the rookie cut to the net on the right wing side.  After the game, the kid said he didn’t know where the puck was, but that he’d be sure to keep it.

If you’re filling out a fight card, tonight’s game had what you were looking for with a pair of tilts: Matt Hendricks vs. Greg Campbell and John Erskine vs. Lucic.  With his fight, Lucic snagged a Gordie Howe hat trick.  We were almost treated to a heavyweight bout in the first period when it appeared that DJ King and Zdeno Chara might rumble, but it didn’t materialize.