Photo credit: Jacquelyn Martin
By the time the Carolina Hurricanes made their way to DC, the Washington Capitals desperation for a win became strong enough to overpower any shyness the team may have developed when it comes to scoring.
Troy Brouwer ended 134 minutes without a goal by going backhand on Cam Ward. Jay Beagle turned a perimeter shot from Dmitry Orlov into the Caps second goal. But the Canes came back quick with goals by Tlusty and Larose in less than five minutes. A whiff by Dennis Wideman led to Brandon Sutter’s pretty breakaway goal. Brooks Laich tied it up by giving and going with Marcus Johansson late in the third period.
OT? Faulk. Canes beat Caps 4-3 (OT).
- Jay Beagle had a big night. He crashed early, scoring his first goal of the season, and beating Ward on another after time expired. With soft hands like his, you gotta wonder why he ever thought he needed to fight back in October.
- Halfway through the first period, the Capitals struggled to clear their zone. Once they did, they began a line change– but a quick turnover in neutral turned dangerous. Instead of bailing and letting the next line deal with it, Mathieu Perreault stayed on and won possession. Little things– and little guys– like this really do mean a lot.
- What went wrong on Jiri Tlusty‘s goal? It was a bang-bang play following a neutral-zone turnover, but Alzner and Carlson had their guys marked. Tlusty was Carolina’s third guy in, and neither Halpern nor Brouwer successfully got on him. Is that a personal failure between the two, or are these players confused about their defensive assignments?
- Even our pristine deductive minds are challenged to solve that second period kerfuffle. Skinner bollywoggled Dmitry Orlov headlong into the boards, and Alex Ovechkin took umbrage. Gleason expressed that he felt Ovechkin’s actions were untoward, and fisticuffs ensued. Orlov joined the scuffle, but the referees found his mannerisms ungentlemanly. The defenseman served a 10-schilling penalty for abuse and ruffianism.
- The Capitals first period was one of the best of their season. They created nine scoring chances and crashed Ward’s net with wonderful regularity. At some point– either after the first intermission or Tlusty’s goal– the Caps got meek. While possession stats didn’t decline steeply, shot distances noticeably grew. Maybe they were afraid of all the odd-man breaks, but most of those happened after the Caps started playing cowardly hockey. There’s a compelling strategical argument to be made for increasing Washington’s offensive tilt, but at this point our preferred reasoning is that it’s just plain ol’ more fun to watch.
- To their credit, the Capitals fired shots like the end of Robocop. Brooks Laich led the effort with 7, only Schultz and Aucoin didn’t get in on the action. 49 overall for the boys in red. That’s almost TWO John Bonhams worth of shots.
- Knuble in the press box, his knights rioting in the streets. We love half of that.
- Faceoff ace Jeff Halpern took just 5 faceoffs tonight. Brooks Laich, who at least seems passingly familiar with the rules of faceoffs, took 27.
This homestand is now just a somewhat mitigated disaster. The rest of the eastern conference continues to steadily increment standings points, and the Caps are barely moving.
It hasn’t been for lack of trying. Shot totals are climbing, and that’s meritorious considering how dismal their counts were a few weeks ago. But the odd-man rushes Dale Hunter said he was going to eliminate seem to be reproducing like bunnies who cannot get contraception coverage through their employers. And despite increasing his shooting, Alex Ovechkin hasn’t found twine– which speaks more to luck than anything else.
This is a bad time for bad luck. They really are playing better. When the Caps were truly miserable earlier this year, luck lifted them to those crucial wins. But this season is now old, its bones are creaky, and luck can’t make it bend like it used to.
Here’s Jay Beagle to play us out.