Saturday, November 7, 2009
A five goal explosion in one period is enough to cure what ails you as the Caps showed a ravenous appetite for goals in the last frame tonight for a sweep of the Panthers. This game was extremely physical from the outset with both teams getting involved as opposed to last night when the Caps did most of the hitting.
The Florida fore-check was filled with hustle for the first two periods and that was one of the reasons why the visitors had the lead after 40 minutes. The third period began with a bang for the home team. Mathieu Perreault's work ethic is contagious and the club was thrilled to see the young pup to score his first ever, to ignite a rally. The more we see of Perreault, the more we like, he was chosen as the Caps "Hard Hat" award winner tonight and the rest of the team took his lead once he scored.
The Mike Knuble, Brendan Morrison and Brooks Laich line, continues to demonstrate wonderful chemistry. So many of the goals this evening were of the scrambly variety; sharp angle shots, rebounds and tip-ins and this line excels in those situations. Florida goalie, Scott Clemmensen had an off night, again, against Washington. He did not fare well against the Caps last year while with the Devils and he didn't manage to give the Panthers the big stop they needed in the third when the Capitals were pouring on the pressure.
Jose Theodore gets the win in net for the Caps. I know that he would have liked to have been sharper with some of the rebounds that he allowed, that led to Florida tallies. Whenever Washington gives up four goals they are never pleased, even when they bag seven. Up next three well deserved days of rest for the boys. That can only help the likes of Ovechkin, Green, Schultz, and Gordon, all of whom are nursing various aliments but for now, the Southeast division lead is significant.
The Wizards are in need of an upgrade at point guard position behind John Wall, and now have one less option on the free agent market. To make matters worse, it was an Eastern Conference foe that is adding the former All-Star to bolster their bench.
After months of asking, LeBron has finally gotten his way. The Cavaliers will add Deron Williams, a three-time All-Star, to provide some help off the bench. How much Williams has left in the tank is up for debate, but he satisfies a need for the defending champs.
Williams was waived by the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday and it was widely speculated that he would join the reigning champions to help off the bench.
Williams averaged 13.1 points, 6.9 assists, 2.6 rebounds in just 29.3 minutes per game.
MORE WIZARDS: Backup point guard continues to be an issue for Wizards
The problem with the Wizards' defense is greater than one player, especially after giving up 120 points to the Philadelphia 76ers. But that area is supposed to be the calling card for second-year forward Kelly Oubre, who hasn't been himself in the last five games.
Oubre not only is shooting just 4-for-20 in that span, but he has slipped in his discipline and focus. The 76ers were able to have their way with the Wizards' perimeter defense but when Oubre came into stop the bleeding it actually got worse.
"He has to just focus on what he does to our team. If he doesn't do that he's going to struggle," coach Scott Brooks said after Saturday's practice. "You have to focus on the defensive end and staying in front of the ball, not getting lost. I thought he's had some stretches where he's very good at it and he's had some stretches where he has to kind of reboot and refocus on what he does."
At 6-7 and a 7-2 wingspan, Oubre can be the best perimeter defender on the team. He presented a more difficult matchup for LeBron James than Otto Porter. He was able to help hold Isaiah Thomas, a 5-9 point guard, to four points in the fourth quarter.
That wasn' t the player who showed up Friday. Sunday, it'll be the Utah Jazz at Verizon Center.
"Right now we need a better version of Kelly," Brooks said. "We're going to keep challenging him, keep pushing him. Hopefully he comes back better tomorrow night."
MORE WIZARDS: Eastern Conference foe adds former All-Star to come off the bench