Oy. (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)
[Editor’s note: With RMNB’s Peter Hassett out in California for the week, the PuckBuddys recap the latest Caps loss.]
Sometimes, platitudes are the only comfort we have. Like “Third time’s a charm!” Or “All in to win!” Or “Shomer f—-n shabbos!” Yeah, like that.
Be real. We went into this game feeling queasy; like Taco Bell Doritos Volcano Nachos queasy. Walking into Verizon we were already outscored two-to-one in the first two games; an unappealing start. Some pointed fingers at Coach Adam Oates‘ inability to instill discipline. (Those worries may have been answered by Oates’ curious decision to bench Marcus Johansson and Matthieu Perreault, and then re-start Matty.) Some demurred that the team is still learning a new coach and new style, and we’re willing to go some distance here. A few fickle fingers pointed at under-production by Ovi, Holtby, Greenie, Carlson…
Enough. Tonight brought one hard answer: the Capitals aren’t firing.
The first frame saw some testing on both sides of the other’s defense. Good efforts by Green, Backstrom and Ribeiro, and a surprising amount of icing from Montreal. Michal Neuvirth made several great saves (a few too close,) and we were hopeful with Nicky’s late flick to Wojtek Wolski until Ovi spoiled that. The PPs yielded nada, leaving both teams relatively balanced both offensively and defensively (though the Habs lead with hits.)
Second period: oh crap, 5 on 3? Ovi and Brouwer leave the Caps naked, yet Beags and Carlson, while never clearing it out, keep the Caps alive. Then with only :04 in the first PP, Plekanec cracks one in (with Markov on the assist) bumping the Habs up 1-0. Moments later, Andrei Markov (with Pacioretty) snaps one over Neuvy’s shoulder bringing the Canadiens up 2-o. Oxygen slowly leaving Verizon. Can it get worse? Yes. Rene Bourque sails it down the side and snaps it to Brian Gionta, who knocks it past Neuvy, tippling the score at 3-o. You want more? Francis Bouillon, on assist from Josh Gorges, blows one past a clueless Neuvy; Habs go up 4-0, Caps fans register their displeasure.
Third quarter squishes out with pretty much everyone in the wrong spot at the right time. Shots still favoring the Caps, although you’d never know that. Time dribbles by, our RMNB editors suggest a game recap isn’t even worthwhile. We soldier on, as does Matt Hendricks. At least someone’s trying. So is Beags to Chimera to Joey Crabb! Well at least John Carlson’s hair won’t get shutout, even though he’ll get one last penalty.
SCORE: Canadiens 4, Capitals 1
- Circus of the Stars: It’s not a perfect measure, and we’re sure someone (all of you) out there will get all up in our grill about this, but this game saw better performance by those who are supposed to perform. By that we mean the stars: Greenie, Alzner, Carlson, and our newest star, Tom Poti. Of course, performance ultimately means winning, and what we’re seeing so far is more appropos of the Washington Generals. Leading to….
- It’s Not All First: These last three games the Caps have performed generally well in the 1st, actually scoring and defending. We’ve seen deflation in the second, and belated rebound in the third, too late. So, let’s shoot more in the second and third, and defend better. In fact the Caps have spent far and away the majority of their time on the ice trailing. So that means…
- Rebound Nobound: It’s easy to say, and hard to do; we get that. But we’re seeing too many one-shot runs at the goal. Ovi, Green and Ribeiro seemed to work it hard, but we’re just not working well on second effort. We’re trying to be kind here, people.
- Mains Tied Behind Our Arrière: The Capitals roster hosts some of the most talented hockey players alive. What is going on that we have our hands tied behind our backs? Penalties have been pummeling us – just about every time we get one of our guys on the bench the other guys sink the puck. Of course it’s not time to…
- PANIC! FIRE EVERYONE! FIRE BOUDREAU AGAIN IF IT HELPS! Oops.
- Honk Honk Honk: So hurrah, Horn Guy is back home, and the crowd rallied. The fans are ready for better. Better yet:
- RMNB Rules: So here’s something to honk about – Fedor Fedin‘s analysis was cited in the CSN pre-show AND Joe B. quoted Olie Kolzig who was quoted in Ian’s post on Neuvy’s new goalie mask. Hey, victory where we can find it, right?
- Hero: Adam Oates is a bona fide hero. Hero play maker on assists, hero turn remaking the Bolts and Devs, freakin’ here Hall of Fame inductee. So OK, we said that. It’s unfortunate he need to figure out being top coach in an abbreviated season. But that’s what he needs to do. Be a hero once more, Mr. Oates.
What Did We Learn Tonight? (WDWLT): Well we hate to say this, but Neuvy is streaky. Offense is halting. Defense is filled with holes. In short, the team does not look good. Paraphrasing the newly-signed Flyer Mike Knuble from last year, the Caps are “…playing like clowns and losers.” Oof. They don’t need us to say that: it’s obvious. So guys, stop playing like that. That’s what we learned. Oh, and maybe Sasha was actually important for the Caps chemistry. Something’s obviously missing; unless someone can give us something better, we’re saying it’s Sasha.
What’s Next?: Stimulating Newark! Home of hairspray, hopelessness and the Devils! (And haha, yes we know Newark is in New Jersey, even if we were but a bit confuzled about the exact Province of the Black Pit of Winnipeg.) We’ve said before that our biggest worries this season for the entire conference exist in our Southeast Division – looking at you Tampa and Carolina. But that said, the Devs are among out greatest threats in the entire conference. Patrick Elias, Ilya Kovalchuk – even old goat Martin Brodeur.
Repeat after us: the season isn’t over. The season isn’t over. The season isn’t over.
And remember – this isn’t our fault. Although we think our RMNB masters are beginning to re-think asking us to write the recaps.