Photo: Patrick Smith
Disaster game. The Capitals had just one win going into Saturday’s thing with Colorado, a shootout win over a reliable bottom-5 team. Despite that and the team’s myriad weaknesses, we had good feelings going into this one.
John Carlson started the game off with an own-goal, tipping in a centering pass from Alex Tanguay past Michal Neuvirth. Matt Duchene made it 2-0 for the Avs a few minutes later, roofing the puck after a duel with Karl Alzner.
Human baby Nate McKinnon scored his first NHL goal while the Caps were being penalized for being too manly.
Tanguay got a shorty early in the third period as the game descended into burn-the-tape territory, but soon after that Eric Fehr finally beat Varlamov with a quick shot set up by Jason Chimera. The glimmer of hope lasted all of 20 seconds before Jamie McGinn made it 5-1 for Colorado. That’s how it ended.
Avs beat Caps 5-1.
- I could have been at a party tonight. We all could have been at parties tonight.
- Shutout shutout shutout shutout shutout shutout shutout — hey it worked! Wonderful performance by ex-Cap Semyon Varlamov. Or maybe just really bad/unlucky shooting by the Caps, who put a lot of rubber on net, but perhaps with less screening and traffic up front than we would prefer. Either way: it stings.
- Brooks Laich went down five minutes into the third period. The score was already 5-1 at that point, but I wasn’t willing to dub it a disaster game until I saw Brooks’ baby blues squinting in pain. Laich returned to the game five minutes later. People watching this game in bars probably lined up those five shots of whiskey for nothing.
- John Erskine missed Saturday’s game thanks to a lower-body injury. His beleaguered D-buddy John Carlson did not fare too much better without him. Flanking Gabriel Landeskog, Carlson inadvertently tipped Tanguay’s pass in for a goal. I’ll be doing the weekly stats snapshot tomorrow, but here’s an early edition: yikes for Carly.
- The accidental collision between Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson was scary. I know it’s encouraging that Johansson skated on his next shift, but that doesn’t mean much to me. Head injuries are sneaky things that can take days, weeks, and even months to really take effect. I’m not saying Mojo sustained a head injury; I’m just saying I’m worried.
- Martin Erat played 2:26 in the first period– just 1:49 at even strength. What is going on here? My standing theory had been that he is occupying the 4th line to help out Wilson, but they’re not even getting the ice to do so. Is Erat hurt? Is he unliked? Does he want out? I feel like Mr. Belding up in this piece.
- In out of town news, local donut maven Jeff Halpern has signed a one-year deal with the Phoenix Coyotes. Now if we can get Dave Steckel job somewhere…
- Alex Ovechkin took a set-play shot off the faceoff that hit Cody McLeod in the knee in the second period. No more adventuring for him. McLeod couldn’t stand up; he was literally crawling off the ice until the refs blew the whistle. Awful to watch.
- Bright side: After a rough first week, Eric Fehr‘s line was excellent again– even before Fehr cracked Varlamov’s shutout in the third.
- Alex Ovechkin was pointless– err, held without a point, but he had double-digit shot attempts and continues to be the best player on his team. Still, goodnight to his 4-game streak. Oates did a wonderful job kickstarting the Great Eight, now for the other twenty-couple dudes on the roster.
This is the part of the recap where I sum up where the team is at right now, but I’m at a loss.
Adam Oates’ lines and deployment decisions continue to baffle me, and although he made some temporary changes late in this game I’m still mystified. The fourth line is an utter waste: Tom Wilson is not developing with 6 minutes of ice a night, and whatever decisions are driving the Martin Erat thing must use some kind of lovecraftian logic not comprehensible by mere mortals. The defense is young and getting younger without showing any demonstrable signs of improvement under Calle Johansson’s tutelage.
Alex Ovechkin still rules.
But the team is bleeding standings points while they… well, I’m not exactly sure what they’re doing. Are the working out the kinks? Is the problem in individual performance? Seems to me more like the players are mostly doing well individually, but an overwhelmed defense and some dubious roster choices are smothering the Caps offense in the womb.
Panic? No. Don’t panic– ever– but maybe for a night some despair would be fitting. Here, I’ll help:
Oilers on Monday. They suck, so maybe the Caps can win that one. Then again, that’s what I said about this game.