After dropping a 2-1 Hollywood matinee to the Kings on Saturday, the Washington Capitals have lost three straight games in regulation for the first time this season. Perhaps most worrisome is the fact that some aspects of the Caps' performances in these losses are dangerously close to becoming trends... if they aren't already. In these three games, the Caps have been outscored 6-0 and out-shot 35-11 in the first periods, have gone 0-for-1 on 5-on-3 power plays in each game (the shortest of which was a 47 second two-man advantage), and have gotten just three even strength goals total.
Of course, if this is rock bottom... it ain't so bad.
Ten more notes on the game:
Nicklas Backstrom skated just nine shifts on the day, and none after the 3:04 mark of the second period. Needless to say, if he's out for any significant period of time, the Caps are in trouble... but given that it was
a monster hangoverapparently a migraine that forced him out, it's probably nothing long-term.
- If any one sequence of today's game could sum up the current losing streak, it may have been following Ryan Smyth's third period boarding call: nearly a minute of over-passing on the power play, followed by a lazy effort along the defensive boards that led to a shorthanded goal against, the eventual game-winner.
- That said, the power play did click for the Caps' only goal on the night - a Mike Green blast that may not have happened without Alexander Semin digging the puck out of the corner moments earlier. But in 8:48 of power play time (including 53 seconds of 5-on-3), the Caps had just six shots on goal. Not good enough.
- Speaking of Semin, he has now gone six games without a goal and has just one in his last nine games. He's not the only Cap forward not filling the net, of course, but when you make the kind of bank that he does (and will), your slumps fairly stand out a bit more.
- Green was generously credited with seven hits (now we know how Dustin Brown stays among the League leaders annually in that stat), logged 30:33 of ice time (an alarmingly high average of 1:23 per shift), and was on the ice for all three goals. "Ask Mike Green. He was on the ice the whole time."
- From the 12:25 mark of the first period on, the Caps out-shot the Kings 24-9. L.A. netminder (and U.S. Olympian) Jonathan Quick was good, but the refs' whistles lived up to the Kings goalie's name more than he did.
Alex Ovechkin had seven shots on goal, six hits, and a monstrous 1:20 per shift average.
Boyd Gordon won seven of his nine draws, and Quintin Laing had a great shift in which he blocked two shots. Good for the grinders.
Michal Neuvirth was solid in net for the Caps once again, and made seven saves on eight shots against in 8:33 of shorthanded time (thanks to five different Caps committing five minor penalties).
- Drew Doughty had a good game... but I'll still take Mike Green any day of the week.
So what does Bruce Boudreau do to shake his team out of this, their worst slump of the season? Baseless prediction: The Caps have a captain for Tuesday night's game.