Joe Beninati: Loss In Vancouver

Joe Beninati: Loss In Vancouver
December 19, 2009, 7:33 am
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Friday, December 18, 2009

There was a time on Friday night in Vancouver where I thought the Capswere going to separate themselves from the Canucks and earn anotherroad win. After spotting Vancouver a 1-0 lead on a fluke bounce off ofJeff Schultz, they turned things around beautifully in the firstperiod.

Alex Semin and Chris Clark put tallies back-to-back on RobertoLuongo and there were several opportunities to extend that lead. It isodd to note that Chris Clark has two more goals versus Robert Luongothan Alex Ovechkin.

Ovie wasn't particularly effective in the first twoperiods tonight. He was played very well by Willie Mitchell for 40minutes, before he became a more consistent threat in the third period.The Caps had the upper hand for most of the second frame.

Vancouverbarely had the puck at Jose Theodore's end of the rink in that perioduntil the game's biggest turning point. Mike Green joined a rush andwalked right in on Luongo. The all-star net minder made the big save,and Green was trapped in deep. A subtle pick play by Alex Burrows onTomas Fleischmann helped create a 2-on-1 break, that Mason Raymondconverted with a pretty deke.

Raymond is rolling for the Canucks nowwith goals in four of his last five games. He is the man who gave thelocals the lead in the third period stashing a rebound for a power-playgoal that proved to be the difference.

While on the subject of thepower-play, let me add that Washington's man up unit was far from itsbest Friday. Over the course of four power-play chances they mustered ameasly one shot on goal.

The Capitals received a gift from the refereein the third period. Alex Semin was awarded a penalty shot on a foulthat should have been a 2-minute holding minor. Once Luongo stuffedSemin's wrist shot, Washington was all but done.

The last minute ofregulation was filled with a frantic finish and several stops by Luongosealed the deal. Temperatures are in the -20's in Edmonton where theCaps will play Saturday night on CSN hopefully you guys aren'tshoveling too much snow back home.