Friday, February 22, 2013

Penalties punish the Caps

The Capitals let one slip away from them last night in the third penalty because of penalties. The guys in red sweaters held a 2-1 lead entering the third period, but the referees would soon change that. Six penalties in the third period would give the Devils plenty of opportunities to tie the game and then take the lead. With a couple of 5 on 3 chances Ilya Kovalchuk would take the lead from the Caps late in the third period. Washington would be unable to draw even in the remaining minutes falling to New Jersey 3-2.
The Caps only goals were scored on the power play by Mike Ribeiro and Mathieu Perreault. They would convert on two of their four chances. The PP continues to succeed while the PK has started to improve. The Capitals were able to kill five of the six penalties despite the frequency of them in the third period. Braden Holtby aided Washington’s performance saving 34 of 37 shots. He continues to face well over 30 shots in the game, but this time it was because of the penalty parade once again.
Alex Ovechkin didn’t play a bad game despite his -2 ice rating. He created many chances for the Caps and had several good breakouts which lead to power plays. I keep hearing that the goals will come for Ovi and with the scoring chances he has been getting lately from the right wing position I have to believe that. Ovi lead the team with four shots and was second in ice time playing nearly 23 minutes.
The penalties were definitely the main reason for the loss, but the most meaningful goal in the game was the shorthanded goal given up to Patrik Elias in the second period. The Caps were careless with the puck in their own zone and the Devils made them pay for it. Even though the Caps were able capitalize later on that power play with Ribeiro’s goal, a short-handed goal can be very demoralizing to a team.
I thought that John Carlson played a decent game replacing all the minutes that Mike Green usually plays despite his turnover that lead to the shorty. He was the only player that logged over 30 minutes in the contest. Mike Green’s presence is still greatly missed and he is expected to return on Saturday against the Devils. Troy Brouwer and Nicklas Backstrom were the past Washington forwards on the ice logging a total of three assists. That offensive pairing is clearly working and should pay off in the long run.
The Capitals are digging themselves a bigger hole with each careless loss they suffer. Adam Oates needs to find some discipline and Alex Ovechkin needs to find the stat sheet fast. He currently has five goals and ten points in 16 games and the Caps need their Captain to lead the way. Holtby has finally found some consistency in his game and the PP is booming. It’s time to build off the positives, stop feeling sorry for each other and start getting the W. Keep the Faith. Rock the Red. Unleash the Fury.
Player of the Game: Troy Brouwer (2 assists)
Stat of the Game: 34 saves on 37 shots (Braden Holtby)
Mr. Irrelevant: Jason Chimera

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