Saturday, December 12, 2009
By Joe BeninatiCapitals Play-By-Play
How does something that started out so nicely, turn out so rotten? TheCaps came out of the gate tonight with every intention of running theMaple Leafs out of their own building. In the first seven minutes ofthe game they looked every bit the part of an Eastern Conferenceleading team.
The line of Nick Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin, and Alex Semintoyed with Toronto and appeared ready to give young Michal Neuvirth allthe ammunition he would need for a road victory, but it wasn't to be.
Leaf's goalie Vesa Toskala made two really big stops in the firstperiod to keep the deficit at a respectable two goals. After thatperiod, the home team realized the Caps had not delivered the knockoutpunch and there was room for a comeback which they mounted in themiddle 20 minutes.
Whenever things come too easily for the Caps, itsure seems like they ease up on their opponents, and that bit themagain tonight.
As good as Toskala was in bailing his team out of atough spot, Neuvirth was not on equal footing. His timing was off ontwo of the Leaf's goals in the second period and all around this wasnot his best NHL showing.
Toronto owned the third period when itappeared the Caps had little left in the tank. Letting up in the secondperiod cost the Capitals this evening. They were too casual and allowedthe Leafs to feast on a momentum swing.
While Ovechkin, Backstrom, andSemin were fantastic at times, the rest of the forwards contributed fartoo little. Five games in eight nights seems to have caught up withthem.
Don't take anything away from the Leafs, Stajan, Kessel, Hagmanand Grabovski all kept their legs moving until the puck started to goin for them. They should thank Toskala for saving their bacon early inthe game.
It is time to forget this one and go West. See you in Denveron Tuesday.