Mar 8, 2010, 9:52 PM EDT
The mighty aren’t invincible at home after all.
career-high 49 saves propelled the Dallas Stars to an improbable 4-3
overtime victory against the Washington Capitals, at the place everyone
believed they were unstoppable. And yet it happened, against a team that
had their backs against the wall and were reeling after three straight
So is there reason to panic in the nation’s capitol?
really, but this does show that they are beatable (all teams are, of
course) and it has exposed the weakness that all Caps fans should be
worried about headed into the playoffs: the team defense is great, the
defense scores a lot of points but the goaltending is not at the same
level as the rest of the team.
The Capitals score at a higher rate
than any other team and it’s not even close. In fact, the offensive
firepower this team has is beyond ridiculous and frankly it’s not fair.
How can one team have so many talented players on one roster? The
scoring has managed overcome the team’s weakness in net and there’s
nothing to say they won’t continue to do so but when the Capitals lose
it’s usually not because of a lack of offense.
Look at their three
losses just before the Olympic break. Scored 13 goals in three games,
yet lost all three while allowing 15.
NBCSports.com contributor Kevin Dupont notes that the Caps won’t be able to depend on either goaltender once the playoffs begin.
O.K., most nights those three goalies are competent. The playoffs,
though, aren’t most nights. Theodore and Varlamov are a combined 26-33
in postsesaon play. Neuvirth doesn’t have a postseason minute on his
resume. In all likelihood, it will be Theodore or Varlamov in the
postseason and coach Bruce Boudreau will spend the next two months
figuring out which of those two will carry the load. Why do I think a
coin flip will be his ultimate decision-maker?
Now there’s nothing that
can be done now, and there really wasn’t much to do at the trade
deadline either. The goaltending is far from bad, but there’s no doubt
it’s the weakness of the team. Can a team win a Stanley Cup with the
offense as carrying the team? Can you imagine a Stanley Cup finals
matchup between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Capitals? My blood
pressure instantly ratchets up just thinking about it.
thoughts on the game:
- The Dallas Stars were lucky just to have a chance in this game,
and that’s all thanks to Marty Turco. The last time I witnessed such a
masterful performance by Turco in net was during the 2008 playoffs. His
athleticism, competitiveness and concentration were on full display
tonight, and he showed that he still has the ability to be dominant.
That he struggles with consistency speaks more to his mental
conditioning than his actual physical ability.
- Well, Alex Ovechkin is back. What an absolutely incredible goal he
had to tie the game late in the third period, as he turned Stephane
Robidas around and whipped a shot over Turco’s shoulder all in one
motion. I’m not one to get involved in the Crosby vs. Ovechkin debate,
but I have to admit he has to be the most exciting player in the NHL to
- That this game was decided by a shootout is a travesty. It was
back and forth action all game long, and the overtime period was even
better. Then the ultimate anticlimactic ending: all play stops for the
shootout. I understand it’s more exciting than a tie — I guess — but
the fact that an important two points are gained by a skills competition
is beyond me. Of course, at this point it’s cliche to even mention
being fed up with the shootout so I’ll just… move on.
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