Maybe it was the Beavertails. Maybe it was the flight from Dulles. Perhaps they were held over a ridiculously long time at Customs. It could be that the officials there forgot all about hockey no thanks to the lockout. Whatever the reason, the Capitals completely squandered a great start to a game they seemed to be winning handily. They started out so well, dominating both ends of the ice. And then over the course or forty or so minutes of play, they faded like an overly bleached pair of jeans.
Perhaps the "O" on the Senators' sweaters were subliminal messages that told the Caps how much they'd have left in the tank by the third period. Because they certainly looked like they were OUT OF GAS.
Last night was yet another refrain in the song we fans kept singing about this team--why oh why can't they put together a solid 60 minute effort? That song may have ended on a horribly sour note with a highly dubious penalty handed out to Joel Ward towards the end of the game. However, as is often said, the good teams tend to rise above bad officiating. Last night was no exception. I am referring of course to the bad officiating done by Don Van Massenhoven and Wes McCauley. The truth is that the Capitals had ample opportunity to put the game away despite that and simply did not.
Yet another game where Alex Ovechkin got around 20 minutes of ice time. Here is what he accomplished: One hit, one minor penalty, and two shots. In other words, exactly squat. Perhaps what many are starting to say about him really is true. Only one man can properly answer the challenge. But he's only had two points in the first 6 games of this season. That puts him on pace to finish with 16 points. I don't have to tell you how embarrassing that is for someone that's supposed to carry this team at times as its Captain.
Wojtek Wolski set up Troy Brouwer's opening goal, but was also on the ice for the equalizing goal by Kyle Turris. Wojtek giveth and Wojtek taketh away.
The Caps did manage to get a few chances courtesy of two power plays of their own. But they limited their own opportunities by taking too long to set up. Then, when they did have a shot on net, Craig Anderson, he of the daunting save percentage and GAA, slammed the door shut for good. Why he wasn't named the night's First Star is beyond me--all he did was stop 31 of 33 shots. But make no mistake about it--his performance last year was definitely no fluke. As long as he is backstopping the Senators, this team has a chance to go far.
The Caps' best player up to this point, Mike Ribiero was far from it for this game. In addition to having his point streak snapped, he was a minus one defensively. He was also atrocious in the faceoff circle, only winning one draw...out of ten.
Mercifully this game may spell the end of the Eric Fehr experiment, as Brooks Laich will probably return to the lineup (hopefully) soon. And by soon I mean for tomorrow night's match against the Maple Leafs. Meanwhile, for Marcus Johansson, it was another night of nacho nibbling. If he hasn't gotten the point by now, he probably never will.
Matthieu Perreault...another game, another unneccessary penalty. He's like Alex Semin without the goals.
So to sum up, the game lasts for three full periods of 20 minutes each. It is also played on a surface that is 200 feet long. So all this team has to do, is figure out how to play like they did for the first 18 minutes for the entire 60 minutes of regulation. And do that over all 200 feet of the playing surface. Simple, right? If only.
Matt Hendricks is showing them the way....but nobody is following. If the rest of the team had his heart, they'd be running away with the whole thing instead of foundering.