Disaster Game: Avs beat Caps By a Lot

Patrick Smith

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.
    laich down
  • 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.
Joe B suit of the night: fratty

Joe B suit of the night: fratty

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.

  • JenniferH

    I texted my sister — she who got me into this whole Capitals Hockey thing — about 30 seconds after the Avalanches scored their 5th goal: ‘This is effing depressing.’ That feeling hasn’t gone away yet. Now I have to go to work. I guess I’m a true Caps fan now.

  • Henrik

    Best game for Ovechkin this season and ofc he doesn’t get rewarded 🙁

  • Chris Cerullo

    So Oates’ comments tonight? “We played well. Their goalie played better. It’s still early. Still gotta work out some of the kinks” ?

  • Bobby

    We suck, embrace it. Let’s get that #1 pick in the 2014 draft!

  • Denis Carmo

    Take away Ovechkin, this teams has got nothing

  • Daniel

    you better get used to that feeling right away..

  • Anon

    I suggest replacing johannson with erat, brouwer with wilson but put brouwer on third line and chimera or ward on fourth.

  • Graham Dumas

    Ward to the fourth, replace with Wilson. Brouwer stays put on 2, I think. Wish I knew what to do with Erat, but I don’t think a move to the first line is the right thing for it.

  • beny485

    I was watching leafs verses oilers after the game finished i was thinking the caps could of traded neuvy and a pick for bernie mac

  • Derek

    Its absolutely panic time. this isnt just a streak or a thing that our team kinda does every once in a while. This is the new caps. Three seasons makes it your team identity now. We cant even rationalize it with excuses like we did last year either. This is us now

  • Ash

    Despite the fact that game was like having my fingernails pulled out, I always appreciate that RMNB recap can find some humor or point out the positive things we might have missed while we were crying with our faces buried in our hands.. Thanks, guys. You take some of the sting away.

  • Pat Magee

    If these lines don’t get shaken up by next game, Oates is officially an idiot. Erat was a beast in his biznasty amount of ice time. Brouwer has been INVISIBLE all season.

    On the lighter side, that Urbom kid is pretty good….. and Eric Fehr.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Is this the beginning of the end for GMGM? Has any other current GM been so unsuccessful for so long?

  • I’ll have more on it tomorrow, but I like Urbom a lot. He loves to shoot.

  • Thank you! We try.

  • beny485

    no wait for 2015 we could get connor mcdavid he would know andre and you could pair them on a line

  • RESmith

    I was at the Irish Channel watching the “game.” I can confirm the lining up of five shots of whiskey thing.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Yea I’d also like to give a stick tap to you guys here at RMNB. No sugar coating of anything. Telling it like it is with humor included. Something this team could learn from lol

  • Katherine

    The Caps give me ugh feelings. RMNB gives me happy feelings. I’m so conflicted. MOAR wine?

  • Matt

    They only had 2 power-plays, and one was interrupted by the intermission. This shows that even when your PP is the best, you can’t rely on it to win games.

  • Derek

    at this rate both

  • dylan wheatley

    hey remember two years ago when the caps started 7-0, and then almost didn’t make the playoffs?

  • Pat Magee

    This team really does affect your emotions like no other… When they win, im on top of the world, but every loss just ruins my night.

    It’s like i have no control over it, either!

  • dylan wheatley

    40 sog is a good game, no matter the outcome

  • Pat Magee

    Which? Urbom or Oates’ lines? Either way I’ll read it, haha.

  • Josh Carey

    Looks like Oates decided that the only way to not give up a lead in the game is to not have one.

  • Freedoooom

    MoJo deserves the promotion to PP1, Grabovski just standing around on the PP down low really killed them to start the third, whereas MoJo does rotate because he and Backstrom understand each other.

  • Pat Magee

    Nicky, Ovi, Green, and Brouwer were all statues too…… Oates better get their asses outta their heads!!

  • dylan wheatley

    he’s an incredibly successful GM

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    yep. boo.

  • dylan wheatley

    i hate early season hockey

  • Chris Cerullo

    Define successful lol? Think back 10 years ago. We started the rebuild and he basically built that same team but younger who peaked and cant win in the playoffs. Other GMs win cups and are still fired after a few years.

  • dylan wheatley

    a fan like you deserves a GM like Holmgren.

  • Chris Cerullo

    I’m sorry? What have I said that isn’t true? Am I supposed to support a GM who hasn’t been past the 2nd round of the playoffs since 1997? I love the Caps but cant stand this guy anymore.

  • dylan wheatley

    the season is five games deep, what the hell are you talking about?

  • Chris Cerullo

    Your point…?

  • Joben

    I described this game to my friend as: “watching a wounded gazelle limp away for three hours until the pride of lions finally decided to push it over.”

  • Matt

    To add to this horrible night, Sidney Crosby scored a hat trick against the Lightning.

  • beny485

    if we did get both imagine the line up we could have sam reinhart at center or mcdavid and andre on the wing reinhart or mcdavid could play on wing as well that would be a good line

  • Andrew

    My first game attendance since game 7 last year and my father and I realized at the 4-0 point we had seen 9 opposing goals in a row.

  • Chris Cerullo

    5 games into this year yes. Yes it’s early but you also answered none of my questions. 1,202 games and 15 seasons making it past the 2nd round ONCE. Give me one reason why I should believe he’s been a successful GM?

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Garbage fire game. Avs are hot and everything is going right for them currently. As was mentioned on the broadcasts, they are making mistakes but they aren’t paying for them yet. We haven’t seen the real Capitals, nor the real Avalanche yet.

    Adjustments need to be made. I know Mojo is on the top line because he can move the puck up ice, but he isn’t a threat in the offensive zone. it is like how they played our PP. They cut off passing lanes and dared Backstrom to shoot at times, which he wasn’t going to do. Need a net driver on the top line, or at least someone who will take some shots. Don’t know if it is Erat, but nobody knows because he is being buried on the 4th line.

  • Owen Johnson

    Ok we suck right now, but unless we literally win the lottery I doubt we are getting the #1 pick. Over the course of the season, I think we will be at worst a slightly below average team. Also, Holtby and Neuvy can’t suck this bad forever.

  • Matt Root

    The thing that is frustrating for me about Backy not shooting on the PP is that he has a sick wrister. Hate seeing him pass it off even though they always give him a shooting lane.

  • Rotating-Earth

    don’t bother Chris. He’s a “Rock the Redder” (AKA Leonsis pocket change).

  • JenniferH

    Holtby had one bad game, and he was working new edging. He had two good games, and two great games. It wasn’t his fault that poor puck possession and crappy defense was in front of him, thank you very much. Don’t blame him for Neuvy’s performance last night.

  • OlietheGoalie

    Yup. Just another miserable outing. This is what, year 8 of the “five year plan”? Any day now, Ted. We’re waiting.

  • Alex Erchov

    The Avs were 4-0 coming into our game, with a couple of close and a couple of trouncing victories. I don’t know if it’s fair to insinuate that they suck just based on the past season.