The Caps won't make any excuses for this loss, but it was clear that they were tired and that injuries are catching up a bit. But hand it to Bruce Boudreau and his assistants - they resisted temptation and kept everyone's minutes manageable, with only Tom Poti (24:12) and Alex Ovechkin (21:56) playing more than twenty minutes. That shift management should pay off on Saturday night.
To the recap:
- The Caps were badly outplayed in the first period, being out-shot 12-3 (more on that in a second), out-hit 18-11, and, of course, out-scored 1-0. Brent Johnson kept it tight, and was only beaten on an unlucky deflection out high.
- Back to first period shots on goal, check out where those three - all off the stick of Alex Ovechkin - came from. And note that all three were on the power play, meaning that in 16 minutes of five-on-five play, the Caps had
saved byZERO shots on goal. There's no number of injuries that excuses that number. It was at the 8:54 mark of the second period when the Caps finally got their first even strength shot on goal.
- Was David Steckel motivated playing against the team that drafted him? Whatever his inspiration, he had a strong game.
- It's no wonder Dustin Brown had 10,000 hits last year - the in-house scorer at Staples apparently has a pretty generous definition of what constitutes a hit.
- Nicklas Backstrom quickly atoned for choking on an open net on a five-on-three by depositing a beauty of a Viktor Kozlov pass. By the way, Kozlov is playing perhaps his best hockey as a Cap of late.
- I love Carrie Milbank as much as the next guy (ok, maybe more), but are they really still running the Carrie/Barry Melrose ad?
- A third period 2-on-1 notwithstanding, Jarret Stoll has mastered the ol' Sergei Berezin give-and-go (you give to me then go to hell - I'm shooting), eh?
- Related: Brooks Laich, without a stick, is a more valuable hockey player than Stoll with one. With a stick around the crease? Money.
- Michael Nylander and Chris Clark continue to stink, for the most part, but don't take my word for it - ask Corsi.
- Heading into the third period, the Kings had a 2-1 lead and were 5-0-0 when leading after two periods, while the Caps had the third-best "trailing after two" winning percentage in the League. Something had to give... unfortunately, it was the Caps' success.
- Eric Fehr needs to be willing to go to the high-traffic areas, or he'll be headed back to the press box as soon as the team gets a little healthier.
- Thanks to a pair of empty netters, AO ended the game minus-3 after taking the League's plus/minus lead. Then again, who cares about plus/minus?
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
Could the Blues be a Nylander destination?... Bruce Boudreau: "proven".... Rank your Hart Trophy candidates at the quarter pole.... After the reaction you all had to the Boudreau post earlier this week, I thought better of posting this "Green out for the year" link.... A nice article on the Bears' Rookie Line.... The New Jersey Rockets press release on John Carlson's contract signing (h/t sk8).