Friday, February 1, 2013

Caps can't play 60 minutes, Leafs prevail

The Capitals’ Canadian road trip ended last night with their second consecutive loss. It was also the second time this week they’ve conceded a third period lead. Last night the Caps led the Maple Leafs very early with a goal by Joel Ward two minutes in, for his fourth of the season. After two periods the Caps would hold a 2-1 lead thanks to Alex Ovechkin’s power play goal.
Washington killed 7 of 8 penalties in the first two periods, the only goal coming off a rebound that James van Riemsdyk cleaned up. The Caps would go scoreless in the third once again and give up two goals to lose 3-2 to Toronto. It could’ve been much worse considering the penalty fiesta that occurred, but the even strength play wouldn't suffice.
Despite the loss, Mike Ribeiro continued to exemplify his talents logging two assists. His assist to Joel Ward was quite impressive when he spun the defenseman and slotted a pass through the middle. Ribeiro now has seven assists on the year and seems to be making everyone around him a better player. There is no surprise in this with the obvious evidence being Joel Ward’s success.
Michal Neuvirth played another commendable game recording 37 saves. Although the tying goal he conceded was weak, he kept the Caps in the game with other saves throughout the game. Braden Holtby is expected to make his first start in six games tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers because of the back to back games. Holtby didn’t play horribly in his first two starts, but he didn’t receive much help with the Caps still adapting to the new system.
The major concern of this game was the eight penalties the Caps committed in the first 40 minutes. Yes they only allowed one goal from it, but it definitely took a toll on Washington’s stamina in the third period. The Capitals must start playing a full 60 minutes if they want to escape this abysmal start to the season. Their record stands at 1-5-1 and they are the only Eastern Conference team with only one win.
Adam Oates has to realize that the line combination disaster that he has created must end before the weekend. Alex Ovechkin is still one of the best players in the world and he cannot be paired with Jay Beagle and Joey Crabb. I have nothing against the two, but their time is better served on the third or fourth line. This line that Oates threw together has had zero success at even strength which is where the Caps need the most improvement. The last four games Oates has waited until the Caps are trailing in the third period to put Ovi with Ribeiro or Nicklas Backstrom. It is time to put him with a playmaker and start winning games Oates!!!
Player of the Game: Mike Ribeiro (2 assists, +1)
Stat of the Game: 7 of 8 on the PK
Mr. Irrelevant: Tomas Kundratek

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