Still reeling from an ugly loss in Calgary on Saturday night, the Caps took the ice for this late-night inter-conference showdown looking to get the ship back on course for righteous winmanship (this is a made-up word, don't bother with your pocket dictionaries), whose waters they had sailed for three nights before the storm in Calgary. But the British Columbian waters have ever been rough for USS Washington Capitals, who haven't won a game in Vancouver in over a decade.
It'd stay that way, as Ryan Kesler knocked home a juicy rebound to make the game 3-2, and send the Capitals home on something they're quickly becoming all too familiar with: a losing streak.
Ten more notes on the game:
- As long as I'm recapping, I'll continue to check in to see if John Erskine is still the worst defenseman in the NHL as measured by even-strength goals against versus ice time. He was when the game began, and he was when the game ended. Probably because he didn't play, no doubt a result of said affliction. Erskine's replacement, Alexander Urbom, wasn't particularly noticeable...which registers as "solid performance" on the spectrum of recent Caps defense play.
- Ryan Kesler is good, but he's not walk around both Karl Alzner and John Carlson for a quality scoring chance good. That play came at the end of a shift that featured a pretty terrible Nate Schmidt pass being intercepted in the slot, which resulted in extended time and several chances in the offensive zone. Carlzner was abused in terms of possession tonight (like 20% CF— WOOF), and was on the ice for the game winner besides. From Big John in the press box, to the top pairing in uniform, Calle Johansson doesn't have his guys playing good hockey, and indeed, at some point the guy who used to man the blue line, and now mans the blueliners, is going to need to fix it.
- Zack Kassian snapshot, unscreened, at an angle, from the circles? Michal Neuvirth is going to want the first goal of the game back. Neuvirth was otherwise strong, however, especially during a second period during which the Capitals were outshot to the tune of 16-3. Not even a little bit cool, team. If there was one flaw in Neuvirth's game, it was a disconcerting reoccurrence of big and/or unnecessary rebounds. Ryan Kesler made him pay for it before the third period was four minutes old. So to summarize Neuvirth's outing: he was good, insofar as performance with two bad goals, including the game-deciding one, can be good. By the way, think some of the Edmonton Oiler's brass were in the barn for this one?
- Remember when we compared Adam Oates and Dale Hunter? Remember how freakishly alike their statistics were, from their records, to their on-ice averages? Tonight was Adam Oates's 60th game behind the bench, and he came into it having accumulated 67 standings points in those 59 previous games, which matches Hunter's 60 game total. That meant Adam Oates had a chance to surpass his predecessor. Nope.
- Jason Chimera has scored as many goals in the last three games as he did during the entirety of last season. Always nice to see a heart and soul guy have his luck turn around for the better. But there was nothing lucky about Chimmer's hustle along the boards, leading to Mikhail Grabovski's early 3rd period goal, which broke the 1-1 tie. Thankfully, it seems we're a long way from this. Dropping Grabovski down to that third line raised more than a few eyebrows— my own amongst them— but it seems this might be another case of Adam Oates outsmarting the hoards of us couch-coaches. Who woulda known?
- Speaking of Chimera's goal, that's two even strength points for Mike Green in his past two games, after carrying an o-fer through the season's first 10 tilts. Always good to see that from Greenie. Things that are not good to see from Greenie: the astounding delay-of-game penalty he took early in the 2nd. Thankfully the 2nd best penalty killers in the NHL are on his side, and they did what they did best for a twenty-second consecutive time. And a twenty-third. And a twenty-fourth.
- Has anyone registered doestomwilsonhaveapoint.com?
- Pretty terrible game for the first line, which was on the ice for two goals against, was out possessed, and took a minor penalty in a one goal game with only three minutes left to play. When the offense isn't coming for these guys, the least they could do is step it up elsewhere. Not tonight.
- It'd have been awful nice to beat that always-scowling, hot-air-filled, grey-bearded, curmudgeon behind the Canucks bench, huh? Woulda been awful nice...
Well, the Caps are going to have plenty of time to think about these two disappointing losses. They'll have all week, in fact, as they don't again take the ice until Friday evening against the Philadelphia Flyers. There's one surefire way to make a three-game winning streak meaningless: by following it up with a three-game losing streak. Let's hope four days of preparation are enough to keep them from doing just that against listless Philadelphia.