I'm not sure whether or not to classify last night's 1-0 loss to the Flyers as a heartbreaker or just fate. It was after all one of the two games in the homestand where the Capitals weren't exactly expected to come away with any points. But again, at least one would have been good. If there's any positives coming out of this, it's the fact that they seemed to be battling the whole game. But that's not enough when the only thing that matters with so few games left is the end result.
Alex vechkin personally cost the Capitals the game.
There's a reason I typed that statement the way that I did--I wanted to let it stand on its own because it is important. Yes, while he said all the right things and took responsibility in the postgame interview, he still needs to figure out how to carry the team on his back and take over a game the way he used to. So while his mistake put them in the hole in the first place, he needed to do everything in his power to get them back in the game. And it just didn't happen.
Unfortunately, the Captain is developing the kind of habits and consistency as a certain other Russian on the team named Alex. The game before this he only came up with just one shot on net. And before that he was barely a factor until overtime. This forces everybody to examine things from a new perspective--has Alex vechkin regressed to being an average player? He certainly looked it last night.
Now of course he wasn't alone. Not for the game and not even on that one play. Coach Hunter held him back to get the best possible line matchups against the Flyers. Given the fact that they only got the one goal, you could say that it was a tactic that was, for the most part, effective. Unfortunately it only works if you get the puck in the other team's net.
Marcus Johansson still looks lost out there. I'm not sure if he's a victim of not knowing what system he's playing or if he's just lost his way, but his abilities aren't being utilized to the fullest. He looks like a third line center trying to play a first line role. Which is exactly what he is. Unfortunately, we're stuck with him as our number one center until such time as Nicklas Backstrom returns from the wasteland known as post-concussion syndrome.
Now it was nice to see Mike Knuble back. Can we please start putting him on some front-line duty or at least on one of the Power Play units? I don't think it was any coincidence he had the best chance all night to put one past Flyers' goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.
Lots to build on, but it's a swift, hard kick to the gonads when you lose like that. Let's see if this team can dig deep and come up with a better game against Carolina. Remember, gents, it wasn't that long ago you were all embarrassed by Eric Staal's resurgence in a 5-0 loss. The Verizon Center crowd will not accept anything less than your absolute best.
(By the way, no, that was NOT a typo. No "O" in your game, no "O" in your name.)