I know that photo isn’t from our game, but it’s too cool to pass up. (Photo credit Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Ian “Bloglethorpe” Oland joined me for tonight’s game at Russian Machine Never Breaks World Headquarters, located miles under the Alleghany Mountains and adjacent to a combination Pizza Hut/Taco Bell. You’d think this would be occasion for celebration, as the top-ranked Caps should be able to stomp the Canes even without Ovechkin, still suspended after having been caught riding dirty. And while the Capitals showed some shimmer with Joe Corvo’s two goals, their laziness and disinterest allowed the Hurricanes to exploit one too many plays. Sad to say it, but the Hurricanes beat the Capitals in overtime 4-3.
Game notes, quickly before Ian falls asleep on my couch:
Earlier, Neil Greenberg pronounced that tonight was the night Joe Corvo would become Joe “Scorvo”. Corvo’s 2 goals showed a scrappiness that we’ve not yet seen, but with that spirit also came a goof that cannot go unmentioned. Corvo’s giveaway led to Chad LaRose‘s breakaway go-ahead goal. Not only did Joe show us one of the “Oh No! Corvo!” moments we had been warned about, but he didn’t even hustle to get back into the play. With these thrilling highs and lows, Joe Corvo has truly become a Washington Capital.
- The bad boy bullet once again goes out to the officials. After hiding their whistles somewhere for the first period, the zebras finally pulled them out to give Mike Knuble goalie interference for being cross-checked into Carolina goalkeeper Justin Peters. The Caps would go on to have two goals washed out, one a dubious glove swat from Knuble and another from a marginal too-many-men-on-the-ice technicality. That second cancelled goal led to a power play and then a goal from Eric Staal. Bottom line: the Caps got hosed.
- It’s important to find the bright spots in a dreary performance. The power play units spent most of their time in the offensive zone, and the point men were excellent at keeping the puck in front of the blue .
- Eric Fehr‘s tying goal at the end of regulation was a thing of beauty. A quick set up from B-Mo and Backy allowed Eric to unleash a lovely sweep that Peters had no chance to stop. That the Capitals leave Carolina with any points at all is a testament to Eric’s tenacity.
- Fehr’s goal tonight also gives the Caps their seventh players with 20 goals or more. If Mike Green can muster three tallies in the next 11 games, that’ll make eight. I don’t know how that count stacks up against the rest of the league, but I bet Nate Ewell will let us know. Hook us up, Nate!
- What happened to Jeff Schultz and Mike Green before Ray Whitney‘s overtime game-winner? Their mutual, unspoken, nearly telepathic decision to empty out the slot will haunt my dreams tonight. That kind of dumbassery is the reason why the Caps took away a -2 rating for the first time in a while.
- I’m confounded as to why The Capitals continue to struggle with 4 on 4 situations. During regulation the open ice is more likely to yield a goal against than a goal for the team. The Caps have now lost six of ten games that ended in overtime. We’re hoping someone in the organization is making a note of this before the playoffs.
- The big debate for this game will be about the performance of Semyon Varlamov. It is our opinion that they were mostly high-quality shots that escaped Varly’s grasp, although some may call them soft. A more aggressive move against LaRose’s breakaway might have saved one score, but Semyon can’t be faulted for Eric Staal‘s 5-on-3 goal (That was Tom Poti‘s boner) or Ray Whitney‘s point blank slapshot in OT. Even Varly would agree, however, that he is not yet back at his pre-injury level of play. At least for the immediate future. it looks like Theo’s our guy. And what a guy he is, eh, ladies?
Bruce Boudreau said that tonight’s game will at least have produced some “good video”, and he’s right. This defeat provides lessons, especially for lackadaisical veterans, that may prove invaluable when the stakes are raised in the playoffs.
I just wish the Caps could have eked out the win so Ian and I could do some crazy high-fiving up in this piece.