In my foosball house rules, this goal doesn’t count. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Two things tend to bug the Caps: early games and Canadian teams. Up against both in today’s match with the Calgary Flames, the Washington Capitals dug themselves a hole in the first period and failed to climb out. The Flames scored four goals in the first period –a dominating performance that the Caps have not seen in a long time. The home team woke up in the third period, but the distance was too great. In a rare regulation loss, the Caps lose to the Flames 5-3.
Let’s get these bullets out of the way so we can forget about this game ASAP.
- The first period was horrible. If you’re expecting deeper analysis than that, I’m going to let you down. I don’t know what to tell you. The Caps were beaten in every possible way except for facial hair excellence. Let’s never speak of this again.
- Jose Theodore stopped only seven of the ten shots he faced. Those first two can be attributed to some bouncy rebounds and absentee defensemen, and the third was a juggernaut of a timing play. But we can’t deny that Theo was overwhelmed, and the hook was merited.
- Relief goalie Semyon Varlamov faced only twelve shots on the night. He let two of those pucks past him, but he also made some saves that brought back memories of the spring of 2009, when Varly was able to trump the laws of physics by willing it so. I wanna see more of that kid.
- Even though Alex Ovechkin scored the 46th goal of the season and regained the lead in the Rocket Richard Trophy chase (for about an hour), he still had a rough night. Four giveaways turned Ovie into a kind of ATM for pucks. Ovechkin is a high risk-high reward kind of player, but I don’t think we’re seeing enough of the latter lately.
- Mathieu Perreault was called down to cover for Brendan Morrison, the latest victim of the “tweaked” limb epidemic sweeping through the Caps roster. The two and a half hour drive from Hershey to Chinatown must have afforded Mathieu enough time to mentally prepare for today’s game. His third period goal from deep within the Flames zone was a peek into the future of the Capitals.
- When TheHornGuy lost steam in the third, GOAT stepped it up. The loudest man in D.C. led 18,000+ fans to a moving “Let’s! Go! Caps!” cheer in the third period. I am in awe of this man’s pipes.
The Capitals have a case of completion anxiety. Ending the regular season with a demonstration of dominance would bode well for the playoffs, but instead the Caps are floundering. The first-period energy evaporated, the secondary scorers did not deliver, and the superstars were less than super. So what now?
Well, the Capitals are going to face another Canadian team, the Ottawa Senators, at home on Tuesday night. The Russian Machine staff is going to be there in person to document the win. More on that later. For now, enjoy the rest of your weekend. Unless you’re on the Capitals coaching staff, please forget this day ever happened.