Ovi scores a shootout winning goal, Semin's goal was more like insurance. Going into the third period Ovi didn't register a single shot on goal. Did he play bad? No, I would not say so.
He set up Backstrom who couldn't score on an empty net, he gave a perfect pass to Green from behind the net, but Green couldn't handle it. There were a couple more moments like that, but his partners couldn't finish.
Ovi was doing what Nicklas Backstrom was supposed to do, setting up his partners. I actually don't remember when last time Backie set up Ovi, maybe it was last season. :-) It was not Backie's night, he was also horrible on faceoffs winning only 24% of faceoffs.
At the end Ovi took the game in his own hands, cruised all over the place and almost scored. The game was stopped because Ovi got slashed and Caps went on PP. Two goal posts later Caps couldn't finish Leafs in regulation, then comes overtime, shootout, Backie misses, Leafs' Kessel and Kulemin couldn't solve Neuvy, but Ovi and Semin scored.
I was extremely upset how Caps played defensively for the most part of the game, especially because of all that recent talk about improvements in that area. If it looks like a Swiss cheese, you know, then it is a Swiss cheese.
Here's what Brooks Laich said to Corey Masisak recently:
“Overall I think our team defense has improved, but it is not where we want it yet. We still have strides to go there,” Laich said. “I’m not satisfied with it yet and I don’t think our team is either. I think we’re still giving up some chances. Especially early in games, we’re giving up too many quality scoring chances and we’d like to eliminate that. Five-on-five we don’t want to give any goals up. I think 5-on-5 should be the strength of this hockey team. I think we still have for improvement in our defensive-zone play.
“The little things matter so much. Just chipping a puck out in the first opportunity and not giving them a second opportunity, good passes out of the zone from defensemen to forwards and forwards making a good pass to your center – sharp things like that keep the puck out of your net.”
"The little things"? It should be a system, you won't go that far in playoffs with "little things". When a system, a variation of a neutral zone trap, is installed, it dictates you not to give up scoring chances to an opponent.
Here's an excerpt from today's article about Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher and his defensive system by Damian Christodero:
So perhaps the Lightning, with its 1-3-1 system tries to stifle teams in the neutral zone. It does have elements of the trap, after all. And the Lightning does send two defensemen into the corners of the defensive zone to harass puck carries, and that does force the forwards to come back to the defensive zone to take defensive positions abandoned by the defensemen. But the goal is to get the puck. And as Boucher said, "I'm all about the transition. ... I'm a forward game type of guy."
That's what the system does, it's not about "little things", it forces "the forwards to come back to the defensive zone to take defensive positions abandoned by the defensemen." This is what left wing lock, installed by Red Wings did: it forced the left wing to play defense.
It is the same when we talk about the goalies, one is acrobatic, takes unbelievable saves and then goes down with groin injury. Another one is solid in positioning, is drilled to take the right position with the right angle at the right time.
Chances are, you can still win without a system doing little things here and there, no question, or you can also win a lottery and retire to your own island. :-)
Ovechkin (nice NFL undershirt), Chimera, Green and Gordon talk to he media
2 assists, -1, total ice 23:11, 26 shifts, average 00:53, PP 05:52, even 7:14, 3 shots on goal, 5 attempts blocked, 1 missed, 3 hits, 1 takeaway, 1 blocked shot