This guy. (Photo: Doug Pensinger)
The Capitals kind of blew it on Saturday night. Easing off the metaphorical gas in the third period, they gave the Coyotes the opportunity to tie the game and end Washington’s winning streak. That was a disappointment and perhaps reason to lower expectations for Sunday night’s date with the Colorado Avalanche. The back half of back-to-back games, following an overtime loss, played in a city where it’s apparently hard to breathe or something: those are the excuses we might sling around to explain the Caps’ performance. Regardless, they definitely weren’t the better team on Sunday, and despite a good rally in the third period, this was pretty much all Avalanche, all the time.
Cody McLeod chipped up the puck up high to beat Braden Holtby in the first. Joel Ward crashed the net to tie it up in the second, but Nick Holden was like nu-uh and tied it back up 30 seconds later. The Capitals couldn’t score on a longer power play, and then P.A. Parenteau put the Avs up 3-1. Gabriel Landeskog got the dagger with under two minutes left.
Avalanche beat Caps 4-1.
- The Capitals were not prepared for this game. The Avs dominated the first period, exploiting a bevy of Caps goofs. Alex Urbom overcommitted early on, giving the Avs a near-goal that dribbled past the crease. Nate Schmidt missed an assignment on the next shift, allowing McLeod to get a backhand chip shot from the high slot.
- About that first goal. If Bordelau got it– as the score sheet says– he certainly hit it above the crossbar. If McLeod was the only one who got a touch, the goal would be clean. Since the Colorado scorer says it’s Bordelau’s goal, I have a hard time reconciling that information. Check out this slow-mo GIF via Freedoooom (whom you should all be nicer to in the comments!)
- By the end of the 1st, the Avs attempted 22 shots to Washington’s 8. The Caps didn’t force Semyon Varlamov to make a save until 10 minutes in– and I think Varly was being a bit charitable to play Ovechkin’s wrister.
- The Caps did much better in the second and third, which says to me the Caps weren’t quite ready for this one. That’s understandable given they were playing back-to-back games on the road– the first game going 45 minutes longer than expected. Then again, the “Hey, you’re a professional athlete” card kind of nullifies that excuse.
- I try not to go to the “Refs Suck” well too often, but theses refs suuuuuuuuuuuuucked. Troy Brouwer got clipped up high in the first. Jason Chimera got kinda-sorta boarded in the first. Marcus Johansson got held in the first. Alex Ovechkin got high-sticked in the second. Martin Erat got boarded in the third. No calls on those, but as soon as Jason Chimera had a sassy mouth he got marched off to the penalty box. Paul Devorski, in case you were wondering.
- The Caps’ penalties in the first and second periods came between 4 and 6 minutes in– before the ice in Denver devolved into something you’d pour high-fructose corn syrup into at a 7-11. Good ice: Avs on attack. Crummy ice: Caps lose passes on the rush.
- I didn’t do any of my push-ups tonight. My bad. Cheat day.
- Jan Hejda tripped Alex Ovechkin and shoved his head into the corner boards late in the second period. I’m not sure I breathed for a couple minutes there. Ovechkin was almost motionless on the ice before eventually skating to the bench under his own power. Ovi had some choice words for the no-call, and took the ice a shift later. Russian Machine Never Breaks. Denver fans applauded Ovi once he got up and booed him once he got back on the ice. That’s the way it should be.
- The thing where the Caps score and then give up a goal on the next shift is literally the worst thing in the world.
- Except maybe for the thing where the Caps have gone 11 straight 5v3 without a goal. The Caps lead the league in 5v3 ice time and have no goals– including almost a whole minute of two-man advantage in the third period. “Five-on-three, four-on-three, it’s something that we don’t practice a ton.” Well, why the heck not?!
- Mike Green hungers. He hasn’t scored yet this season, but if he keeps putting 7 pucks on net like he did tonight, it’ll happen.
Sydney LerouxAlex Ovechkin kicked in a big goal late in the third, but Devorski was actually reffing on that play.
It would’ve been really swell if the Caps won this game, but the Avs were just better all over. They were faster, they dealt with the bad ice better, they didn’t turn the puck over in neutral, and oh yeah they scored more too. They might be a better team than the Caps. I just shivered as I typed that.
Alright, gut check time. The upcoming schedule is scary. After the Blue Jackets, it goes like this: Red Wings, Blues, Penguins. The Caps have done everything right to escape that sluggish start, and now it’s time to prove what they’ve learned. Those teams aren’t schlubs, and without their very best hockey the Capitals could go winless in the next ten days.
Hey, I made it through this whole thing without libeling Semyon Varlamov!
— RMNB (@russianmachine) November 11, 2013