Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Caps can't hold early lead, suffers 3-2 loss

The Capitals had their best start to a game all season Tuesday night, leading the Senators 2-0. Unfortunately they wouldn’t reach the scoreboard the rest of the game and would fall 3-2 late in the third. Oates' system does seem to be finally working, but playing a full 60 minutes seems to be a reoccurring problem. Troy Brouwer and Matt Hendricks tickled the twine in the first each for their second goal of the season.
In the third period, Michal Neuvirth gave up a weak goal near side to Milan Michalek to tie the game 2-2. Late in the third, Joel Ward would take a penalty that was a controversial high sticking call. The NHL rules state that it is not a high stick if it occurs during a follow through of playing the puck. This penalty would be the deciding factor in the game with Sergei Gonchar putting the dagger in the Caps on the extra man.
Neuvy didn’t play his best game even though the game winner was a deflection that he couldn’t control. Washington went into a defensive shell in the third period trying to defend their one goal lead, which could be why they were kept off the scoreboard. Mike Green and John Carlson led Washington once again in ice time and each had an even ice rating. Green also led the team with five shots on goal.
The most irritating thing about this game is the line combinations of the Capitals. Adam Oates is new to this team, but in the beginning of the year he stated he was going to do anything in his power to make Alex Ovechkin succeed on the ice. I’m not suggesting Ovechkin’s stats are more important than the team winning, but his success definitely reflects the team winning or not. I’m referring to putting Ovi on a line with Jay Beagle and Joey Crabb. This will simply not bring any positives to the Great Eight. Hopefully on Thursday we see Troy Brouwer and Nicklas Backstrom at his side because that line seems to have some chemistry from last season.
The Caps are definitely very close to reaching their full potential, and with a few tweaks I believe we will see the Ovi and Caps of old. If I am Oates I definitely keep the line of Chimera, Ribeiro, and Ward together because they are having evident success. We will see in Toronto come Thursday if he has a change of heart. Keep the faith Caps fans!
Player of the Game: John Erskine (1 assist, 8 hits)
Mr. Irrelevant: Matthieu Perreault
Unsung Hero: Wojtek Wolski

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