Caps Lose 3-0 to Predators in Final Preseason Game


Photo by Nick Wass/AP

Well, it’s a good thing we got this out of the way. Every hockey team has a measure of bad hockey games in them, so we should be relieved that the Caps disappointing performance came before anyone started keeping track.

After a sterling performance in net by Michal Neuvirth for thirty minutes, Dany Sabourin‘s relief effort fell woefully short. The first shot he faced, courtesy of Nashville’s Cal O’Reilly, got past him. Two of the twelve shots he faced in the third, both from Joel Ward, put the game well out of reach for the home team.

Not that the home team was very determined to win anyway. The best player on the Caps’ offense was Eric Fehr, who sported six shots on goal. Eric traditionally occupies the third line of the Caps offense, but he could headline the top for any of a dozen other NHL teams. Like the Predators, for example.

Mathieu Perreault, filling in for Nicklas Backstrom (14 stitches after blocking a shot against Columbus), looked strong in the first period. Crossing into Predator territory, he would protect the puck like a doting mother hen. But the physicality of the Nashville corps caught up with the shrimpy center, and he faltered in the back half of the game.

Mike Green and Jason Chimera were each sent hobbling to the locker room during separate errant-puck incidents, but neither sustained any real injuries.

What else? Alex Semin had a stick penalty, D.J. King surpassed 10 minutes of ice-time and even looked intimidating on the forecheck, and Alex Ovechkin and Shea Weber spent the day ramming shoulders into one another like a pair of grumpy buffaloes in fast-forward.

We know this team isn’t the real Capitals, so the pain of today’s loss is blunted a bit. Dany Sabourin won’t be the Caps man in the net, and Brian Fahey probably won’t be in a position to commit a double minor in a Caps jersey. The roster will be concretized in the next few weeks, and team must then find its chemistry. Today is an aberration, a curiosity with only dubious value as a hockey game. Think of it as a conversation piece, upon which we might frame these questions:

  1. What is the nature of Semyon Varlamov’s injury?
  2. Will Tomas Fleischmann be the second-line center?
  3. Will Alex Semin be a fixture on the penalty-kill unit?
  4. Will Karl Alzner and John Carlson be paired together on defense?  If so, can we come up with a clever portmanteau?
  5. Are there any shake-ups to the Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble line?
  6. What music will be on Brian Fahey’s and Dany Sabourin’s iPods on the bus trip back to Hershey?

That’s it for the preseason. Next time we talk, Joe Beninati will probably be wearing a lime-green zoot suit. Hockey’s back, everybody!

  • Dave

    Re: the appropriate nickname for Carlson and Karl:

    i’ve always been a supporter of “The Carlies” since we have Carly and Karly.

  • Hale

    I didn’t see the game, but thought it was pretty interesting to look at Semin’s stats and see: 2 hits, a blocked shot, 4 takeaways (yes, and 2 gives) in addition to his 5 shot attempts. What was going on out there?

  • CapsFan1975

    Some people already refer to them as Karlsnerson

  • Heather

    Carlalzner. That is all.

  • Neil – RMNB

    “Will Alex Semin be a fixture on the penalty-kill unit?”

    He should. His 5v5 numbers go up when he does and he is pretty good at it.

    “Will Karl Alzner and John Carlson be paired together on defense? If so, can we come up with a clever portmanteau?”

    Not sure what “portmanteau” means, but you really need to embrace Carlzner. It’s time.

    “Are there any shake-ups to the Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble line?”

    Huh, maybe an RMNB article is coming to answer just that question…

  • Mary K.

    I had to Google two words in this post to a) find out if they were real words and b) find out what they mean! One was concretized and the other was portmanteau. Thanks to RMNB, I have now expanded my vocabulary. Thanks guys!

  • Sean

    4. Carlzner. Just accept it, already.

  • A.B.

    I think it’s obvious enough what happened Sunday. After a game Friday night and Caps Con Sunday, I WAS TIRED! I hate to think of what the guys must have been like.

    Like the article says – every team is going to put out a stinker of a game now and then. Just accept it. We’re just lucky this one didn’t count.

    And, if the Caps are going to lose when the Redskins win and win when they lose, then – no offense – screw the Skins.

  • BobbyG

    Yes, hockey is back and long overdue. I agree the Caps’ last pre-season game was an aberration. It looked like the players were mainly concerned with getting this over with and getting on with the games that count. My main concerns at this point is how serious is the injury to Varly, because the Caps are relying heavily on him to shoulder the burden of at least half the Caps games if their is no clearcut #1 between him and Neuvy. My other concern is who to place in the #2 Center spot. Flash is certainly capable of the role but whether this will be permanent remains to be seen. It’s only a few more days until the regular season starts, and I can’t wait. GO CAPS!!!