Photo: Tony Gutierrez
The Washington Capitals wrapped up the first week of the new season with a Saturday night date with the Dallas Stars. The Caps’ blistering power play kept on cracking, but the team looked aimless at even strength.
Alex Ovechkin did the power play thing, scoring the game’s first goal from his favorite spot. Following an unwise hard-around in the D-zone, Star Erik Cole tied it up from the slot, and Alex Chiasson (playing in his 8th NHL game) gave them the lead on a 3-on-2. A late-game delay of game from Tyler Seguin yielded some excitement in the final minute, but no goal.
Stars beat Caps 2-1.
- The power play glory continues and all is right in the world. Pay no attention to the 5-on-5 stuff. Unimportant details! Here’s your boy Walton calling Ovi’s goal:
- Nick Backstrom seemed to get a greasy one in the second period, but it was disallowed. We didn’t get a reason for the wave-off, but Backstrom’s crosscheck to Kari Lehtonen‘s face may have been a factor. Maybe.
- “You can’t do that.” That’s what the ref said when Shawn Horcoff got busted for hooking in the second period. I hereby declare this to be A Thing.
- Joel Ward and Jason Chimera seem to be pals, and everyone likes Eric Fehr. Still, I don’t think Ward and Chimera have complementary skill sets and the third line suffers for it. Along with bad breakouts by the D, weakness in the bottom six seems to be contributing to the team’s overall weakness at evens; Oates doesn’t seem comfortable rolling his lines yet.
- But seriously, 5v5 hockey seems to be a problem for this team. Playing down a goal in a largely even-strength third period, the Caps hardly mustered a shot on goal through 12 minutes.
- How cute is this:
- Marcus Johansson did not agree with a hybrid icing call in the second period, but whatever. Refs won’t get every call right, but if the new rule stops just one Peake- or Pitkanen-type injury, it’ll be worth it in my opinion.
- Ryan Garbutt. Heh.
- Alright, get this: John Erskine chipped in on the offense, big-time. Erskine put 4 shots on net– some muffins, some cannons. Great to see the blue line contributing to the cause, but if Big John leads your team in shots, woof.
- The ice in Dallas was a mess. The Caps spent a good portion of the third hemmed in their own zone, unable to get control of the puck enough to clear.
- 0 shot attempts from Marcus Johansson. I’m leaning towards passenger, though word on the street is he’s entering zones like a busta.
I’m trying to withhold stat-based judgment on the team until they get a few more games in, but as good as Ovi looks individually and the man-advantage crew looks, Caps play at evens does not strike fear into the hearts of men.
The good news is that the Caps are off until Thursday and will have plenty of time to work on their even-strength play.
Have a great Saturday night, everybody!