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Without their captain the Capitals were unable to hold off the San Jose Sharks who came into Washington and exerted their will against the home team. From the game's opening minute to its final horn the Sharks outpossessed and outplayed the Capitals, resulting in a comfortable 5-0 victory. San Jose goaltender Martin Jones made 31 saves in the shutout win.
Check back for our full recap later, but first, here's Tuesday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: Braden Holtby's play in the first period was the only reason tonight's contest was a game. His athletic power was on full display as he challenged shooter after shooter from the slot area on his way to a .941 SV% through twenty minutes.
- Minus: There's a lot to choose from on Washington's side but I'm going to highlight the overturned Dmitry Orlov goal. While the NHL may have gotten the interpretation of the rulebook correct it's really tough to agree with when we imagine what standard this play sets. It's even worse when you consider the call on the ice was a goal, meaning Jay Beagle's right elbow contact is enough to conclusively overturn the original call.
Ten more notes on the game:
- Washington allowed San Jose to control the game in the opening period by taking three minor penalties and, as a result, allowed the game's first goal. The undisciplined play put the Capitals behind from the get go, relying on Holtby to make 16 big saves to start the game.
- Joe Thornton started the scoring by tipping home a Brent Burns point short on San Jose's second power play of the night. Newly minted captain Joe Pavelski also picked up an assist on the play.
- Mike Brown kept the Sharks' offense rolling to start the second period by converting a Chris Tierney rebound into his first goal of the year. Brown hadn't scored a regular season goal since December 3rd, 2013 against the Maple Leafs, and tonight's is one all six Capitals on the ice would like to have back.
- Less than five minutes later Tomas Hertl put the visitors up by three by slapping a shot between Holtby's left skate and goal post. Barry Trotz immediately called timeout to reset his troops and get his disappointed thoughts across to his team.
- Trotz's words seemed to calm the Capitals and only two minutes later Dmitry Orlov had scored from the slot to cut the deficit to two. However, with the NHL's new Coach's Challenge™, the Sharks were able to overturn the goal due to marginal contact from Jay Beagle against Martin Jones.
- Jason Chimera had a scary collision with the goal frame in the third period but remained on the bench despite gingerly skating off the ice. Chimera would remain in the game, however, and promptly take a minor penalty for slashing (from the bench) in the most undisciplined act of the night.
- Matt Nieto would nab the game's first empty net goal at the 58 minute mark, his first of the year.
- Followed shortly by Tierney, also with his first on the year, 73 seconds later. Less than a minute later, the nightmare was over.
- Alex Ovechkin missed his first game since March 5th at home against the Minnesota Wild for personal reasons and we wish him the best of whatever he needs. According to several reports he was present at Verizon Center tonight, which hopefully is good news.
- Really disappointed with the precedence the NHL set tonight on the Orlov no goal. I think fans of at least 28, and maybe 29, other NHL teams would agree with us.
One team didn't show up to play tonight, and the Sharks were able to waltz into town and pick up two easy points as a result. Tonight's play should not sit well with anyone in the Capitals' dressing room, especially Trotz, and he will not allow this lackluster effort to go unnoticed. Thursday night is a tough outing against the Blackhawks, another powerful Western Conference foe, that the Capitals will need to be prepared for, captain or no captain.