Friday, February 6, 2009
Breakneck speed with aggressive forecheck. That's the type of game the Washington Capitals came out and played last night. And man, talk about exciting. The Caps and Kings battled it out at the Verizon Center with the latter as the victors with all the spoils in the end. I can't really say that the Kings couldn't keep up with the Caps, because they clearly could; rather, the Kings were playing another style of game to where they couldn't get the last 20 minutes to look like the first 40. After Alexander Semin scored only 15 seconds in, the Kings played like gangbusters and scored the next three goals.
I'm not exactly sure what the style-of-play identity is for the Kings. Are they a team that is slow and methodical or are they a group that adapts to whatever style of play the other team brings? I'm not 100% sold either way; I've seen the Kings play well both ways but also play horribly as well. Sometimes they play well and shittily at the same time, but that's beside the point. I'd like to have a solid identity instead of having to think every other week, "Hey guys, can you stop playing like you're in a mini-mite league?" Maybe the team's identity is being consistently inconsistent. I remember thinking that a lot last season.
I know I'm talking like the Kings did poorly last night; the true is, they didn't. The forwards were grinding it out, the defensemen were (at times) chasing the Caps forwards around, and Jonathan Quick was a stud. Absolute stud once again. The Kings let an uncharacteristic 45 shots against, but that wasn't due to them leaving their goalie out to dry. I mean, c'mon, it's the Caps. When that much firepower is looking straight at you with some pretty solid passing, I'm just glad that only four pucks got past Quick. On the other end, Jose Theodore looked terrible. What was the deal? He looked unprepared to play any team last night and completely out of position. After Anze Kopitar's second goal, he kind of stumbled backward and had to hold on to the crossbar to keep his balance. I have no idea what was going on, but I'm not going to fret over it.
One last thing: the fact that Alexander Ovechkin plays nearly all two minutes of a Caps PP is insane to me. Yeah, he's then potentially potent for a full two minutes, but at the same time he looks lacksidasical when the puck isn't near him and only springs alive when he knows the puck is going to come his way. Is that really the best way to go about it or should I just let it go because it's Ovechkin? Oh well, the only thing that matters is that the Kings came out with the two points. They've been doing well on the road, so I'm hoping that the "consistently inconsistent" thing doesn't come back on Saturday against the Devils.