When the Caps surrendered the dreaded last-minute goal with 51 seconds left in the first to break a 1-1 tie, you had a feeling that the team would need a shot in the arm to get back in the game - be it a pep talk, a shake-up in the lines, the right coaching adjustment, a lucky bounce - even though they were only down a single goal.
Well, they didn't get it.
In fact, it was the Cats who got the lucky bounce and that was that. Another game, another loss, but this one featured something new - the debut of the "Fire Hanlon" chant. Frankly, the team might owe it to Hanlon for all he's done for the organization to let him go while he still has his dignity - he doesn't deserve to be remembered as he will be if things keep going the way they're going and they keep him around for much longer. Something's gotta give, and sooner rather than later. Some other notes on the game:
- Sure, the Caps put some lipstick on the pig, but that wasn't a one-goal loss.
- Is Glen Hanlon desperate? Playing Alex Semin for 18-plus minutes in his first game back after saying the Russian would be eased back into the lineup might suggest so.
- As for Semin, he was manhandled at times, but also sure does like to embellish things, doesn't he? Still, his presence in the lineup unquestionably changes things a bit.
- Nicklas Backstrom has to do a better job of tying up his man in front on the first Panther goal.
- Brooks Laich's shorty was only the Caps' second of the year (Matt Bradley had the other), and it tied Laich with Tomas Fleischmann for third on the team in goals with four. Again, good on Brooks - bad on most of his teammates.
- Speaking of Flash, he registered his first block shot of the season in the first period, leaving Joe Motzko and Chris Bourque (who have each played just three games) as the only Caps without a blocked shot.
- The Caps still haven't scored a 5-on-3 goal yet this season - they're 0-for-6 in those situations.
- The power play is now 3-for-33 in the last nine games.
- Speaking of missed opportunities, I was in the press box but passed up the chance to exact some revenge on Panther color analyst Denis Potvin for the knee-on-knee hit that essentially ended Bengt Gustafsson's career. Sorry, Caps fans.
- John Erskine looked, uh, rusty on the Cats' second goal. I thought he was supposed to clear opposing players from in front of Olie Kolzig, rather than vice-versa.
- Remember when Matt Pettinger and Boyd Gordon got the occasional assist at least? Eight games and counting for each without a point.
- Chris Clark's hooking penalty midway through a second period power play was unforgivable and unnecessary.
- Mike Green had a pair of bad penalties, but drew one on a nice end-to-end rush. Typical Mike Green game.
- At one point in the third period, the Caps had a 3-on-2 break that they quickly turned into absolutely nothing, which allowed the Panthers a 3-on-2 break the other way that resulted in a quality scoring chance. That's coaching.
Next up: Atlanta who, in case you haven't noticed, has clawed all the way back to .500 after their 0-6-0 start.
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
Word is that Bob Hartley has been offered a job coaching in Russia.... A small handful of Rangers games this season are being broadcast in Chinese. The wins will be just as satisfying, but after an hour, you'll be hungry again.... Just when you thought Todd Bertuzzi couldn't be a bigger scumbag, there's this.
- Hart: Dany Heatley (Game-winning goal, 2A, +3)
- Ross: Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley (3 points each)
- Norris: Michal Rozsival (G)
- Vezina: Mike Smith (22-save shutout win)
- Richard: Olli Jokinen (2G)
- Calder: Mike Smith (22-save shutout win)
- Aiken: Johan Holmqvist (OTL, 4 goals allowed on 24 shots against, including two in the final six minutes of regulation)