Thursday, February 28, 2013

Flyers roll over Caps

Last night’s game defined the inconsistency that exists among this Washington Capitals team this year. They came out extremely sluggish and gave up two quick goals, one being 23 seconds in by Claude Giroux. After the 2-0 deficit in the 1st period you had a sense that the Caps weren’t going to get out of this hole. The night before the Caps played their most complete game of the season against Carolina and they decided to follow that with a miserable 1st period to destroy any momentum from the shutout win.

The 2nd period was no better, letting up two more goals and extinguishing any chance of a comeback. After Max Talbot scored the 4th goal of the game Braden Holtby was pulled from the game allowing 4 goals on 18 shots. In defense of Holtby’s consistent play as of late, 3 of the 4 goals he could do nothing about. Philipp Grubauer then entered the game for his 1st ever NHL appearance between the pipes. He didn’t change the outcome of the 4-1 loss, but he did serve as the lone positive in the game stopping all 14 shots he faced. It was definitely a special night for the 21 year old even with how the game ended and I congratulate him on his efforts.

Joel Ward scored his 6th goal of the season for Washington in the final minutes spoiling Ilya Bryzgalov’s shutout. The Caps couldn’t seem to find the net on the PP which is a rarity in the last 10 games. The special teams in this game was very poor, killing 1 of 3 penalties and going 0 for 3 on the PP. Alex Ovechkin led the team with 6 shots, but could not capitalize on any of them. Ovechkin didn’t play his best game and missed a one on one with Bryzgalov late in the game when he tried to go forehand backhand as opposed to just wristing it. Mike Ribeiro had a rare bad game logging a -2 ice rating and picking up his familiar unsportsmanlike conduct towards the end of the game. Jason Chimera………well it’s safe to say he didn’t score and keeps proving himself unworthy of a top line position. Brooks Laich needs to get back in the lineup to solidify our top 6.

The defensive pair of Tom Poti and Tomas Kundratek played a very respectable game being the only Caps blue-liners with a positive plus-minus. Poti also logged an assist on the Joel Ward goal in the 3rd period. However Karl Alzner and Mike Green were on the ice for both even strength goals and had -2 ice ratings. That defensive pair led the Caps in ice time, both playing over 21 minutes. In the 4-1 loss I was expecting a fight to occur for the sake of a momentum change for the Caps, but it never came. The closest encounter came at an unfortunate moment when Mathieu Perreault left the ice after a cheap hit from Harry Zolnierczyk. He received a game misconduct for the hit to the knee in the last minute of the game. Perreault has been playing well lately, so we all hope he isn’t sidelined because of this jackass.

With 29 games left in the season the Caps don’t have time for inconsistency. They have a great opportunity to seize the Southeast division lead sitting only two games back. Every divisional matchup down the stretch will be important for Washington, especially with the Winnipeg Jets coming up on Saturday. They currently hold a 3-way share of the division lead with 19 points; the Caps have 15 points. I would expect Braden Holtby to start with the two day break, but with how Grubauer played yesterday who knows what Adam Oates will do. The puck drops at 3 on Saturday in Winnipeg. Keep the Faith. Rock the Red. Unleash the Fury.

Player of the Game: Joel Ward (1 goal, +1)

Stat of the Game: 14 saves on 14 shots (Philipp Grubauer)

Mr. Irrelevant: Karl Alzner

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