Skinned: Canes Thump Caps 4-1

Canes

Photo credit: Rob Carr

The Capitals’ power play, the main factor behind Washington’s early wins, has dropped off. So, too, has their penalty kill. Still, the team is finding ways to win — barely. Though they got four points over the weekend, both games took extra time. Nevertheless, the team’s five-on-five play has been improving. Would it be enough to defeat the new old division rival Canes?

The Caps played well in the first, with Jason Chimera nearly converting early on a scrum in front to give Washington the lead. Carolina, though, struck first. After Eric Staal fed him the puck from behind the net, Hockey Bieber — that would be Jeff Skinner — took a shot from the goal line. Braden Holtby couldn’t make to the near post in time as the puck deflected in off his nether regions.

In the second, things got out of hand. Midway through the frame, lil’ Skinner was at it again with fly ball from the near circle. Less than three minutes later, the Hurricanes pushed the lead to three as Andre Sekera unleashed a blast from the point on the power play that Holtby never saw. Point number three for Skinner. Fifty-three seconds later, it got even uglier when Jiri Tlusty put a nasty backhand top shelf. Ugh.

For the final frame, enter Philip Grubauer. The Caps didn’t show much life in the third, but at least Mike Green got on board for the first time since the Obama administration with a power play marker. Nothing more. Canes thump Caps, 4-1.

  • I’m on limited sleep after two days at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Like Brooks Laich last season, I’m going to martyr myself for you and play anyway. This recap may not be good, but it’ll exist. If you see anything odd, just yell at Ian.
  • We didn’t get to say hi to our old friend Alex Semin tonight. He’s out indefinitely with a concussion. Maybe he’ll be back by the time the next time these teams square off on December 20. But Sochi’s a-coming.
  • You know how the Caps defense is bad? Well, that’s partly because they’ve been without baby-maker Jack Hillen, who fractured his tibial plateau back in October. We don’t know what that means either. Yesterday, Hillen updated reporters on his progress. He still in crutches after his surgery about a month in a half ago. Let’s hope he’ll be able to make before the end of the season. Barring a trade, Hillen’s the best hope to shore up the Capitals defense for the playoffs.
  • The Caps power play as been awful lately. Since teams have started shadowing Ovi and John Carlson took over the point position on the first unit, Washington’s man-advantage unit as been anemic, scoring just five goals in their last 36 chances. Tonight, the puck was more often going the wrong way as the team fumbled passes and failed to exit their own zone cleanly — at least through two.
  • In the third, however, Mike Green finally did that thing we’ve been wanting him to do. That’s right baby, Greenie scored a goal! Number 52 previously had the highest shot total of any player not to tally this year.
  • Because of that bigger power play role, Carlson’s ice time has crept up. This was the ninth game in a row he led the Caps in TOI. JCar also registered a team-high five shots on goal.
  • Braden Holtby laid an egg tonight after turning in an excellent performance on Saturday. Two of his four goals against were off weak shots. Holts has been a rock for the Caps, despite facing the third-most shots of any NHL goaltender. That workload, though, might be catching up to him. This was his 13th straight game in Washington’s net as Michal Neuvirth is out with a bum right leg. After 40, Adam Oates waved the white flag and put Philip Grubauer in net.
  • Jason Chimera was a boss tonight. Three near goals: two in front, one on the rush. Chimmer’s earning his extension so far. He saw significant power play time tonight and got an assist on Green’s marker.
Primo seats for Joe B and Locker.

Primo seats for Joe B and Locker.

The Caps haven’t been playing great hockey lately. They lost four in a row, before squeaking out the last two. If they want remain near the top of the Metropolitan Division, they’ve got to pick up their special teams play. This team isn’t very special five-on-five. Anyway, I don’t have any more cogent thoughts on this one. Go watch New Girl or something

  • Marky Narc

    Mike Green now on pace to score three goals this season.

  • Jack Conness

    Well, everything about that game sucked. Not much to say except that Beagle-Chimera-Wardo line was dominant in the 1st. Brouwer sucked most of the game. And it was nice to see Green finally score. Let’s hope he will start playing better?

  • maddyjl

    I’d like to see Grubuaer get a start. He looked good and I’m curious to see what he can do for a full 60 minutes.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    OMG that first bullet. Hahahaha.

  • CT

    http://instagram.com/p/hexHjwTadO/

    I’ll just keep posting this since it’s the only good thing to happen tonight. Ugh.

  • Jack Conness

    One more thing…

    Don’t get me wrong. I am a Holtby fan. But it always seems like he BLOWS UP every 7-10 games. Yeah I know, other goalies probably do that too. Maybe I just notice it more because I am a Caps fan. But it worries me…

  • Ash

    He’s been playing a heavy load. This Neuvy injury was awful timing, because Holtby needs some rest.

  • Bob

    This was the kind of game that makes you realize how far away we are from teams like chicago, pitt, boston, SJ, and LA. Those teams have so much more talent and have more than 2 guys who can shoot the puck. The lack of scoring chances we have with this, IMO, stagnant offensive system is frustrating. The only thing that gives me any joy with this team is knowing kuzy will be here soon

  • Josh Carey

    Call me crazy, but I’m really starting to like the way Green is playing the last handful of games or so. Hope the goal gets him going.

  • William

    Hmm…Some good play from carolina and poor goaltending on washington’s side seemed to be the summary of this one. Offense needs to step it up

  • Matt

    It was only a matter of time Holtby had a bad game with his workload with Nuevy out. The PP needs fixing, but I don’t think it will be too hard for Oates to figure something out.

  • JenniferH

    Yeah, Holtby blew tonight for the most part. Sigh. It happens. He needs a break. But it doesn’t and shouldn’t take away how strong he normally is. I still like Grubauer bunches from the little we’ve seen of him. We also need better defense. Big sigh. And we did have a lot of scoring chances, Peters was on fire. Why do we always seem to get their goalies when they’re on fire? And don’t say it’s because we suck, we don’t. We had some awesome scoring chances. Peters was just a brick wall for the most part.

    I was happy to see Greenie score though. Hopefully this breaks through and sends him on a streak. I don’t know what is going on with this team. The PP has failed, the PK is failing. The ES is improving, but not enough, and weak teams suddenly come to life and play their best hockey opposite us. WTH?!

    Sorry, you’re not feeling so hot, Chris, but even with the typos here and there, and the crummy game, you made me smile three times before the first paragraph was over, so thank you! :)

  • MuzzMuzzington

    13 games straight is about 9 too many in a row with this defense in front of a goalie. I get exhausted complaining about this team, I can’t imagine having to bite my tongue to not complain AND face 40 shots a night.

  • Ash

    Ugh. This wasn’t quite as horrible as the Penguins game, but it’s a close second. The best thing we can say about it is that it’s over. And that Green scored a goal finally. And the metrics weren’t as terrible as they could have been.

    Now, um, how do we weather the pain of seeing Hendy as a Pred, and the ten billion articles coming on Erat and Forsberg and trade winning and everything else?

  • Andrew Walker

    My girlfriend refers to this as “pulling a Fleury”

  • Myan

    dear god that sucked harder than Troy Brouwer on a one timer.

  • brian!

    I completely agree, but his first start did not go so well. Fortunately he’s had time to hone his game in Hershey. I’m eager to see what he can do in the big show! http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/2013/03/09/hot-heads-and-high-sticks-isles-beat-caps-5-2/

  • Graham Dumas

    No, no, pulling a Fleury is when you…

    http://youtu.be/ykEGtwJuZIs

  • X

    I liked what I saw from Orlov.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Chris Gordon

    Stud.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Chris Gordon

    Granted, you’re always to blame anyway.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Chris Gordon

    Ah, thanks! Hope they’re fixed now!

  • DeleteMyCommentMcPheeIsTheBest

    The weakest team in the world. Poor losers with only Ovechkin playing and scoring. I’m dreaming about Ovi in a team like Chicago or Boston. Poor guy, already at the Hall of Fame at his 28, but will remain without a Cup until he changes the team after his contract expires at his 40s. Teddy, if you read this, please kill yourself you fat bitch. And take this asshole who calls himself a GM with you.

    Thank you for attention, children.
    Let’s hope we will beat Buffalo in the table if Alex gets hurt.

  • HoltbyGotNoTalent

    Your jokes about Pittsburgh are Ok, but Fleury is a Contender as usual. And this year nothing will stop Pittsburgh if Chicago fails before the finals.

  • GuestZ

    My recap of your recap: “Waste of a game.”

    It’d be nice if everyone would get off their asses and stop assuming someone else is going to fight for the W. And dear Lord do Schmidt and Brouwer need to get some perspective from up top. Erat played harder than most tonight, and he’s the one on the first train out of DC…

  • Injury

    LOL. Oates can actually figure something out? Wait wait wait, I can imagine! “Hey Alex, could you please score more goals? 1/3 is not enough bro :(“

  • Jack

    Crazy.

  • Ash

    I, uh, assume this response was meant for further down the thread. Or you’re having this conversation in an alternate universe where I actually mentioned Fleury or Piittsburgh in my original comment.

    (I assume in that alternate universe Fleury is a legitimate contender and Pittsburgh isn’t constantly being overhyped as the only team in the NHL who can play well. I suppose stranger and rarer things have happened.)

  • Duck

    You can now feed yourself.

  • johnnymorte

    The possession numbers don’t lie. There’s been far too many of these nights and nights where we can’t keep a lead. Everybody said this team was a cup contender prior to this season, but I just don’t see it. We need a management change. Oates just doesn’t have the horses right now.

  • Owen Johnson

    Who is this Justin Peters (Peters or Bieber?) and why does he always destroy the Caps? His career numbers are well below average, but against us he’s a brick wall. If Chimera buries that shot in the 1st, it’s a completely different game.

  • Owen Johnson

    Peters is ALWAYS a brick wall against us. I think his last 2 starts against the Caps were both shutouts.

  • Owen Johnson

    “And this year nothing will stop Pittsburgh if Chicago fails before the finals”
    That’s what they said last year. And the year before….

  • Owen Johnson

    After being benched in the Playoffs last year, Marc-Andre Fleury tried to commit suicide by laying down on the train tracks. The train went through his legs.

  • JenniferH

    I didn’t realize it was Peters we were up against before too. Ugh. Why is he a brick wall against us? UGH! UGH! UGH!

  • Shaun Phillips

    I blame this loss on Ian losing to Wilson in NHL ’14 and changing the twitter logo/feed name. It’s all your fault Ian! :P

  • Ash

    Why yes, I DO think Spenserian sonnet forms are superior to Petrarchan forms. I’m so glad you brought that up.

  • standarsh

    Absolutely crazy

  • RC

    Holtby was off again last night. He’s on one game, off the next it seems. Such inconsistency from the lead net minder, combined with crappy defense, anemic offense (Ovi also is on extended nap duty it appears) and terrible puck control points to the sad reality – despite the hype, despite the well (over?) paid talent, this team is light years away from winning the cup. Just being realistic.

  • Pat Magee

    It’s like when we miss a golden opportunity in the first, they just quit the rest of the game……….

  • JenniferH

    Holtby has played 13 straight games including one recently where he wasn’t even supposed to play. And where you get that he’s on one/off the next I have no idea. He’s rarely off, but more often than not is saving this team’s bacon and keeping them still in the game. He has some of the best stats in the league (in the top ten) despite being in the top three for facing shots (between 30-40, generally closer to 40) every game. We are dang lucky to have him. Weak netminding is NOT one of the Capitals’ problems. Netminding is one of the few Capitals’ saving graces at this point.

  • RC

    When Braden misses shots he can clearly see (at least a couple last night) he’s off his game. Doesn’t happen all the time but it happens often enough that you never know which Holtby will show up for any given game. When’s he’s on, he’s brilliant. When he’s off, it truly hurts the team because our defense isn’t up to snuff. Weak netminding is not the issue. Inconsistent netminding is. The stats don’t provide all the nuances of the situation facing the Caps in my opinion.

  • JenniferH

    And again, I say, he’s not inconsistent. Every goalie misses shots sometimes. It happens. But considering the number of shots he faces, and the number of shots he saves, and the number of amazing shots he makes and the fact that we’re close or win games as much as we do is down to Braden Holtby a LOT of the time. That is not inconsistent. That is a damn good goalie in net with crappy defense in front of him. Last night was a bad game, no one is denying that. Last night was a rare bad game.

    I am sorry but with all of the issues that this time does legitimately have Braden Holtby is by far not one of them. BY FAR. He does not get nearly enough credit for how often he has kept this team in the running and allowed them the chance to steal a game and capture a win. Time and time again. He’s a great goalie. He’s also young, and yes, he doesn’t make every save. But he makes a lot of them, and he makes a lot of unbelievable ones and unlike a lot of NHL teams, he does in front of pretty inexperienced defenders. Frankly, I’m getting a little tired of Holtby not getting the credit he deserves more.

  • Graham Dumas

    I’m with Jennifer on this, biased fangirl though she may be :). Holts is solid almost all the time. Of late, though, there’ve been a couple of flukey ones he’s let by. It’ll pass.

  • JenniferH

    Me, biased?! Nooooo…..

    Seriously, I agree, he’s let some flukey ones through, but I think it has to do with the heavy workload without any breaks. We all know that for goalies it’s such an intense mental game and on top of the 13-games in a row, he had that unexpected Friday game to play. And a few flukey ones are just that, flukes, for the most part, like you said, he’s solid almost all the time.