As mentioned in my first installment, I'm trying to provide a different perspective on Isles games from an English fan's viewpoint. Like I said last time, expect a post derived from sleep deprivation and a few beers.
Tonight's beverage of choice is Staropramen. We don't just drink tea in merry old England.
What can I say? Tough game. Showed some potential, but still a disappointing result. On a side note before I get into the game itself, I probably know more of the US national anthem than I do my own. Most British people tend to only know the one verse from ours, perfect to drunkenly shout at patriotic events. Anyway, on to the game. I even took some notes.
The game definitely started with some pace, the Isles' top line getting an early chance through Tavares and Chimera that was broken up, which would become a recurring theme across all the lines. Barzal was given his debut, and he made an impact from his first shift, where he promptly sat in the box for a slash, testing the PK early on. The rookie then sat an additional two before stepping on the ice. Not the best first impression, but still, a 19 year old playing at the top level of his sport. I wasn't doing anything close to that at 19. The second PK lead to a lot of sweaty moments in front of our net, thankfully the PK seems to be as effective as last season. Of course the luck couldn't last and following a hit from Hickey the Caps went ahead. Bloody Winnik. I was shocked later in the period to find that our PP can actually be successful. Sometimes. The sweet irony of Strome banking a goal off a Caps skate, after his mishap in the Rangers game. I felt pretty good at the end of the period with the score even.
The main takeaway I got from the second period is that Barzal settled down a lot more. Maybe I just noticed him more after the issues in the first, but he did good. Looked pretty calm on the PP. There were a few chances for the Isles, including when Nelson drew the penalty. Of course Lady Luck giveth in the first period but she taketh away in the second, with Hamonic losing an edge and Winnik (again, the bastard) making the most of the opportunity. Later on in the period a key chance for an equaliser through the combination of Tavares, Ladd and Clutterbuck had me out of my seat ready to celebrate, but it wasn't to be. Late penalty on Seidenberg didn't exactly help matters.
The 3rd I didn't take many notes, as I was too busy hoping for a miracle. I thought I had it with the Lee and Strome 2 on 0, but Lady Luck again decided to laugh at my hopes for an equaliser. The 2 on 1 rush from Wilson and Beagle was a pretty tense moment. Quite surprised Wilson didn't do anything too dumb actually. It's still early in the season, and there still needs to be some getting used to the new guys, I fell that the Tavares and Ladd 2 on 1 should have resulted in a goal.
All in all I think it definitely could've been worse, especially considering how often we were on the PK against a team with Ovi waiting for pucks, and the Isles showed potential. Maybe it's delusional Isles fandom, maybe its the British stiff upper lip, but I think we can still get on the right track. Plus, it's only the second game of the season, so there's that.
On to the next game then, home opener, where a win would really be nice. Don't think I can deal with the misery of emulating the start to the Blue Jackets last season.
For those who are interested, the report for tomorrow's game will be delayed, as I doubt I'll be watching the game live. I've got an important meeting with the Queen..... Nah, just hockey practice. You may be surprised to know that we do play hockey in Blighty. Some of us anyway. I'm going to have to put up with some smart arse Rangers and Caps fans though.