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The Washington Capitals ran into a different Calgary Flames team than the one they defeated, 6-2, in Calgary last month. This version did a much better job of frustrating the Caps’ offense, clogging skating and passing lanes, and generally making the game boring. The Caps erased a two-goal lead, but failed to get the extra standings point in overtime.
Here's Friday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: Philipp Grubauer. The Caps' back-up netminder gave the Caps a solid game in a relief role. His ability to spell Braden Holtby in back-to-backs will be one of the subplots to watch as the season unfolds.
- Minus: Energy. The Caps lacked it for much of the game. It should not have been a case of playing the second game of a back-to-back; Calgary played in Tampa on Thursday night. But the team looked sluggish for the first 50 minutes of the game.
Ten more notes on the game:
- Part of playing a good road game is holding your own early. Calgary held the Caps to a draw in shot attempts in the first period, 20-20, and in faceoffs, 8-8. It also helps to keep the big guns holstered. The top line of Evgeny Kuznetsov, Alex Ovechkin, and T.J. Oshie was held to one shot attempt.
- That even-steven distribution almost played out in the second period. The faceoffs were 21-21 for the contest after the middle frame, but the shots were 20-19 for the game, the difference being the extra one that went in for the Flames.
- When you get a team frustrated by slowing the game down and holding your own for two periods, especially against a team that is much better on paper, you might get chances later, and Calgary did. They opened the third period with four shots in a 42-second span of time, scoring on the fourth shot to take a 2-0 lead.
- Just over 12 minutes into the second period, Marcus Johansson missed a wide open net on a one-timer from the slot, then gave evidence to all of his total command of English-language expletives, something that rhymed with "truck bee."
- Michael Latta scored his first goal recorded his first goal of the season, his first goal as a Capital at Verizon Center. He had gone 66 games without a goal, scoring his only other NHL goal back on November 15, 2013 in a 4-3 win in Detroit against the Red Wings.
- Alex Ovechkin was held to one shot attempt in the first 35:04 of the contest. That was typical of the blah level of play for the team in the first two periods.
- It took 16 games, but Tom Wilson had his first bout of the season. This one was against Brandon Bollig. It did not go especially well for Wilson.
- Karri Ramo had a nice game for the Flames, certainly better than the four-goals-on-18-shots effort last month. But the Caps had 27 missed shots, too. Five skaters had more misses than shots on goal. Even with 36 shots on goal, the Caps needed to make him make more saves. He looked a lot shakier in the third period than he did in the first.
- Jay Beagle had a nice night. A goal, seven faceoff wins on ten draws (he won his first five draws of the game), a hit, and a blocked shot in 13 minutes and change.
- The Caps gave up the middle of the ice too easily in critical junctures. The first two goals for the Flames were scored from between the faceoff circles. We’re guessing that not how the defense is drawn up.
And now, this...