Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hanging With the Best (Again)

Another game against the top team in the NHL, another encouraging performance from the Capitals. That standings point left on the board with the loss in the post-overtime useless gimmick shootout would have been nice to have, but taking the Red Wings as far as humanly possible, in Detroit, without beating them is nothing to be ashamed of. Optimism-haters could point to all sorts of nit-picky nonsense and could-have, should-haves, but it’s another standings point to a team desperately seeking them, and another step on eventually climbing the standings.

Speaking of the standings, they seem to look better and better every time I look at them. Is that really a playoff spot five points away? With still over half the season left to go? Tied with Atlanta for not-last-place in the East (yeah, those mighty Thrashers have two games in hand, but are they any kind of relevant threat anymore?)? With the team on an undeniably solid (and looking like non-new-coach-fluky) streak of 7-4-2? Come on. Time to re-kindle that early season 3-0 euphoria.

Despite the undeniably good feelings generated during and after this game, even the most optimistic fan could be forgiven for having a slight tinge of doubt/dread when the Red Wings broke a 2-2 tie with less than five minutes to go. However, in this season of increasingly balanced scoring (not completely balanced, increasingly balanced), Alexander Semin ended a game (season?) of near-misses with a blazing shot that was definitely missed by myself and Mrs. DCO watching on TV.

Kolzig is catching a little flak across the boards today for going 0-for-3 in the shootout, but who really knew of the killer power of the Detroit Backhand? Besides, Kolzig helped the Caps get to the shootout in the first place, making the same number of saves (27) as the sainted Dominik Hasek.

So there we go: a non-humiliating, completely impressive performance in front of what we could reasonably believe to be a national audience on Vs. In short, just about the complete opposite of the worst that could have happened when the best team in the NHL hosted the allegedly “worst” team.

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