The Homestand From Hell: Avs beat Caps 3-2

This was pretty much the scene all night. The Caps tried with all their might, but could not score.

No goal. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)

Matt Bradley tosses his mitts and fights Cody McLeod. (Photo credit: Jacquelyn Martin)

Matt Bradley drops the gloves with Cody McLeod. (Photo credit: Jacquelyn Martin)

EVEN LATER UPDATE 12/12 1PM: Per Bob McKenzie, Alex Semin has been fined for his crosscheck on COL’s John-Michael Liles, and will play tonight against NYR.

UPDATE 12/11 11:50PM: Dmitry Chesnokov heard that Alex Semin will not be suspended.

Let’s get the hell out of town. The Washington Capitals have lost five games in a row, four of them at home base. The Colorado Avalanche brought their fast-paced offense to town as Washington tried to re-awake theirs. Despite showing more effort than in recent games, the Caps failed to stop, drop, shut em’ down, open up shop.

Kevin Shattenkirk got lucky with an early goal that Michal Neuvirth should have stopped. Mike Knuble responded with his 250th career goal, a typical Knuble score from inches out. Tom Poi was woefully out of position, allowing Ryan Wilson to waltz in and score the go-ahead goal. Piling on was Paul Stasny, who converted on the powerplay. Matt Hendricks launched a comeback with a no-looker from the crease, but the home team ran out of time. Avs beat Caps 3-2.

  • Former Av Matt Hendricks was your player of the game. He was on ice for 8 5v5 chances for and zero against. He scored the best-looking goal of the night, and he delivered some mondo hits. Maybe he was playing hard to show up his former teammates, those ungrateful bastards. Or maybe he really is this versatile of a player.
  • Hey, Tomas Fleischmann. Good to see ya, pal. How ya been? Cool. Hey, you know you contributed absolutely nothing to this game, right? The Capitals were literally ignoring you in those post-whistle scrums.
  • Big ups to Mike Knuble for recording his 250th career goal. And how appropriate for that 250th to be a nasty deflection from point blank.
  • Eric Fehr has been on ice for one goal for in the last twelve games. Benching is imminent.
  • Alex Ovechkin played all but 18 seconds of the Capitals 5:30 ice time. In that time, the Capitals had only one scoring chance. The powerplay is still disappointing.
  • Shattenkirk. No note. Just a funny name.
Joe B's suit of the night > Alan May's

Joe B's suit of the night > Alan May's

That the Capitals are enthused about the game is baffling. Post-game interviews, particularly the ones with Bruce Boudreau and Mike Knuble, were pretty mellow. Well yes, the offense played better at even strength, but the power play has been struggling for far too long. Unless we can consider Matt Hendricks our new man-advantage scoring agent, this team still has a serious problem. You can’t say that this team has hit rock bottom until they start heading in the other direction. And to me, that means a win.

See you tomorrow night at MSG. Maybe the change of venue will do some good.

Additional reporting by Neil Greenberg

  • MoniMaz

    jes.

  • DarkStranger44

    Benching won’t be imminent for Fehr — or at least not tomorrow. But I expect Semin to be a healthy scratch even if not suspended.

    So who will be the 2nd line right winger tomorrow — Bradley or Hendricks?

  • Em

    I wasn’t disappointed in this game. Had the game on at a party at someone’s house (I’m surprised I have friends left, really) and was discussing with a fellow fan how the Caps have faced zero adversity in the regular season the past few years. All their adversity has been in the post-season, when they haven’t had the time to work it out and find CHARACTER–in the playoffs, you either win or you go home. Time for the leaders to step up or new ones to be named. Time for this team to figure out, right now, in front of the whole world on HBO, what they’re made of and if they really have what it takes. We Caps fans have easily become spoiled by a team that kills in the regular season, only to come up short when it really counts. Would anyone mind if they flipped the script on us for once? I am mellowed and quite calm about this horrible streak right now because of that conversation. Honestly, I’d rather them be figuring this out NOW than once again trying do to it in April. Maybe if they build character now instead of waiting until April, they’ll do more than just sputter and die in the first round. I said maybe, fools.

  • Socialdogs6

    Forgot to thank Hannan… On ice for all three goals… Go Avs..!

  • BobbyG

    Has Tim Burton embarked on a second career writing the scripts for Caps games? This homestand truly has been The Nightmare Before Christmas: the sequel.

    @Em: we can only hope that all this adversity the Caps have to endure now will pay off big time in the playoffs. I have to hang on to something, anything, to get me through these dark hours and days. A reversal of fortune in April is the light at the end of the tunnel I’m counting on–as long as that light doesn’t turn out to be an oncoming train, like the old joke goes. It won’t be funny if the joke is on us in the postseason.

    @Peter Hassett: I take it there’s no love lost between you and Tomas Fleischmann? Maybe he didn’t contribute anthing to this game, but as Socialdogs6 said, Scott Hannan, the other half of the Caps/Avs trade, didn’t exactly impress either.

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  • Dominic

    DMX Reference FTW. This is just brutal. We’ve lost that flair we had. I don’t know if we’re just not taking teams by surprise anymore (Goalies do seem to have career games against us) or if the team just isn’t clicking, but I don’t see us taking home a W in MSG unless something changes. On the other hand, a win might be just what we need to revamp the team.

  • http://www.calacirian.org sonja

    I get that Fleischmann didn’t offer much in the way of stats, but if you look at the team’s performance ever since the trade, it’s fairly obvious that he was doing something for the team … he was giving them some heart or energy or something that is now missing.

    The other two issues are first that this team can’t make adjustments and second the youthful/untried nature of the goalies. I don’t know if it’s a coaching thing or a player thing. But hoping that adversity is going to somehow change that is like hoping the iceberg would have changed the course of the Titanic. Other teams study the Caps and now know every turn of their blade. They need to change something other than line combinations. The players are bored and the opposition knows how to handle them. If they can’t figure out how to change, this is just going to get worse.

    The second problem is that these goalies are very young. While technically and athletically excellent, they don’t have the leadership depth (yet) that a more mature goalie has. They will have it soon, but it’s a steep learning curve that every goalie goes through … this is why most goalies don’t hit their stride until much later than skaters do. It was a huge mistake to trade Theodore last year. HUGE. The team, but mostly Varly and Neuvirth, needed his experience and mentoring this season. Now they are learning OJT and that’s gonna have a negative impact on the rest of the team.

    We are seeing all of these issues play out now … hopefully, they will work themselves out before the playoffs, but I’m not holding my breath.

  • Livia

    Great news about Andrew Gordon being called up for tonight’s game! In addition to wanting to see him with the Caps, I would love to hear his perspective on the team’s current skid. His blogs during the AHL playoffs last spring were full of fascinating insider views, particularly regarding the psychological warfare (as he put it) of competition. I’m wondering how the Caps are weathering this low, how they keep their individual self-confidence burning and keep believing in each other in the face of such a string of defeats. I’m certain they’ll close ranks and get back their team flow soon. I only hope Andrew will keep a diary and share some of it with us after these dark days are over.

  • DarkStranger44

    @BobbyG,

    I love your Tim Burton comment! This month has been absolutely horrible for the Caps. Everything is going wrong for them and everything is going right for their archrivals, the Pens.

  • 28ISGREAT

    If the bloodbath at The Garden ends in a shutout – can we please be spared a Monday morning recap?

    Mondays are already hard enough…