Friday, December 01, 2006

Caps Burn-out Stars, Laich & Zednik Get It Started

Okay, so yesterday my prediction slated for Zubrus and Brashear scoring. Well Zubrus was scratched due to being under the weather, and Brashear didn't score. However, I was right in that Pettinger scored, and the Caps were going to win by one. I thought I was going to be proven wrong when the Caps were up 4-1 at the end of the second, however the Stars jammed 3 goals home in the third. The third goal should not have happened. The front of the net was crowded with almost every player that was on the ice, and Jussi Jokinen snagged a shot when the puck trickled out of the scrum. Too much traffic. By the second periods end, I was thinking to myself that it was a low shooting game. After two periods, the shots were 18-14 favoring Dallas. However, the Stars came out with 20 more shots in the third. Even though the Caps won this game, it shows they need to learn to play with a lead.

Matt Pettinger was all over the ice. He scored a goal to prove it. However, if one only saw the stat sheet, they wouldn't know what role he played in this victory. He created many rushes, alot of pressure on the Stars, and maintain defensively responsible the whole time. Pettinger was also camping out in front of the net ready for any blasts to come his way to try and redirect. Pettinger is my pick for the hardest working player of the game. Usually I see it as Clark, Zubrus, Kolzig, but Pettinger earned it last night. By far the prettiest play of the night came on the first goal the Caps scored. Brooks Laich took it from their zone, fighting to keep it along the boards, and carried it in with two men on him. He made a spin pass to Zednik who stuffed it home. Brooks Laich has had a rocky start, however I think that this will definately help his confidence. He's young, has lots of potential, and needs to see some production from himself to get more energy and confidence going within him.

I also want to touch a little more on Richard Zednik. He seems to get some flak from fans about how he hasn't been scoring alot, or that he is overrated. Someone once said to me that they thought I was rediculous for stating he's a proven 30 goal scorer. Well, he scored 30 goals in a season, therefore proving he could do it. The only time Zednik has not scored 20 or more goals are in seasons where he has played in only 69 games or less. In the 97-98 season where he played 65 games and scored 17 goals, he was on pace for 21.5 goals. In the 99-00 season, he played 69 games, he scored 19 goals and was on pace for 22.5 goals. In the 00-01 season where he played 62 games and scored 16 goals, he was on pace for 21 goals. Last season, he scored 16 goals in 67 games, and was on pace for 20. In the 02-03 season, Zednik scored 31 goals and 50 points. In the 03-04 seaons, he scored 26 goals and 50 points, achieving back to back 50 point seasons.

When playing healthy, he is a guarenteed 20 goal scorer. This year, he has been one of the most solid players when it comes to defensive responsibility, and could easily score 20 goals this season if he isn't sideined by a third injury. The second injury only sat him out one game if I remember correct. Zednik also has 8 assists thus far this season and is on pace for 32 assists. If he meets his pacings, and hits his usual hot streak stride, he will have another 50 point season. Not too shabby for a 10th round pick. Hopefully the Caps re-sign him, but with a little bit of an overall salary cut, but a boost in incentives. Obviosuly I'm glad he's back, and I think he fits in great with this team. He works hard and has created many opportunities.


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