Captain America Scores! Canes Beat Caps 3-2 (SO).

John Carlson Scores His First Career NHL Goal against the Carolina Hurricanes

Legace's Oscar Worthy Performance Sends Ovechkin to the Box For Goalie Interference. (Photos by Gerry Broome)

Legace's Oscar Worthy Performance Sends Ovechkin to the Box For Goalie Interference. (Photos by Gerry Broome)

Sorry, we thought the photo should be extra big tonight. The Washington Capitals took too long to suit up for tonight’s appointment with the Carolina Hurricanes. A sleepy first period left the boys from Chinatown with a two-point deficit. The Caps woke up and delivered captivating hockey for the rest of regulation and overtime, but it wasn’t enough to best their division rivals.

For the second time in as many nights, the Capitals could not seal the deal in an hour of regulation hockey or the five bonus minutes. But unlike last night, the Russian Alexes did not go 2 for 2, and Bruce Boudreau’s hunch did not pay off. When Mike Green‘s shot sailed high over the Carolina net, it was game over. Despite their best efforts the Caps fall to the Canes 3-2 in the shootout.

Bullets, shall We?

  • The less said about the first period the better. Two goals came in the first ten minutes, but neither belonged to the team that actually has a post season ahead of them. Despite having only one game in four previous nights, the Caps looked tired. Given the performance that would follow, we can say with certanty that the team’s weakness was mental, not physical.
  • Semyon Varlamov let two past him in the first period, but he recovered with dignity. For the rest of the game, we saw the Varlamov of old: surprise attacks, splits, and saves improbable. It’s almost unfair that Varlamov’s first game in a week coincided with some questionable defensive work.
  • Speaking of, my heart was not warmed to welcome John Erskine and Tyler Sloan back to the flock. I’d grant that Shaone Morrisonn deserved a break after the ultraviolence he provided last night and Jeff Schultz needing a recharge, but their replacements weren’t up to snuff. Sloan and Erskine were crucial ingredients in Carolina’s early two-goal lead.
  • Alexander Ovechkin is going to have kick it up a notch if he wants the “Rocket” Richard Trophy.  He was inert tonight, while Steven Stamkos and Sidney Crosby are at his flanks with 45 goals each.
  • Captain America! John Carlson‘s days of post-ringing are over. J.C. scoring his golden goal against Manny Legace was a delight to everyone who’s been rooting for him since the World Junior Champs. Welcome to the big leagues, dude! You’ll fit in fine.
  • In an uncharacteristic struggle, Tomas Fleischmann struggled with his puck handling. We’re going to chalk this up to maybe bad luck or how about playing 2 games in 2 nights, and hope no late-season funk is setting in for Flash.
  • Meanwhile, the New York Rangers defeated the New Jersey Devils in another shootout. Both the Devils and the Caps gained a point tonight, so the Caps still have some work to do to get the conference title sewn up.
  • And how could we forget? The Capitals’ one point earned for the overtime loss tonight sets a new franchise record for team points in a season with 109, but really, no one is much in the mood for celebrating. We have bigger goals in mind.

Washington has two days off before facing the Calgary Flames, who are still fighting tooth and nail for a playoff spot with the Detroit Red Wings. Only eight games are left to decide the winners of Prez, the Hart, the Richard, and a miscellany of other metals. So if you were expecting a doleful trot to the post-season, think again.

  • http://twitter.com/LynnLynnLynn_ Bobbielynn

    It’s understandable that the Capitals looked tired. Yes, they had only played one game in four night, but this would be the second of back-to-back, so it would only make sense. Of course, two players who weren’t in the line up yesterday, looked like they probably shouldn’t have been in the line up tonight. As I wrote earlier.. http://bit.ly/bRR3MH .. I surely did mean it.
    I’d say Varly looked pretty good out there tonight. He looked a little shaky to start out, but I think he got the hang of it pretty well. He started to look like his old self, and I’d say plenty of DC folks would agree. http://bit.ly/9z3wD7
    Congrats to Carlson. It’s a shame when he scored, every other Capital on the ice was worried about getting his puck from the net, so he really didn’t have anyone to celebrate with. http://bit.ly/ce5m46
    Yeah, they’ve got bigger goals in mind (well, one bigger goal in mind), but I think they still need to stop for a minute, and see that they have set a new franchise record for team points. Of course, I wouldn’t take much time. They have more that needs to be accomplished before the season is over, and they can get to that big goal that everyone has on their mind.

  • Peter Hassett

    Thanks, Bobbielynn. I think you’re right about being tired. The Caps rarely do well on back-to-backs.

    And you’re right– award trophies and points take a distant second to the real goal.

  • http://RockTheRed.net Krafty

    I say we take Carlson, clone him 6 or 7 times, and just run two of ‘em out there on every change.

    No?

    It was worth a shot.

  • http://youresovain-dailyvanityplates.blogspot.com/ Katie

    I’m glad Carolina won’t be in the playoffs, b/c we seem to inexplicably struggle against them. Great to see Carlson’s first NHL goal…it seemed that moment was thisclose to happening a dozen times in recent games. I want to see Ovie start scoring. I don’t think the league will give him MVP unless he wins the scoring and points races.

  • http://twitter.com/LynnLynnLynn_ Bobbielynn

    Krafty, I think that it a great idea. But who has the cloning machine?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Russian Machine Never Breaks

    I know somebody who has a Hot Tub Time Machine. Maybe he can help.

  • CapsFan1975

    While we all love Carlson, we probably wouldn’t want 5 other blue liners like him. We’re better off with a mix of skill sets.

    Speaking of Carlson, the Caps Image of the Day on their website is the picture of Semin putting his arm around Carlson at warmups during one of the games.