Just yesterday we talked about how Dmitry Orlov's offensive skills with the puck helped initiate a breakout against the Devils, culminating in an Alex Ovechkin goal (and an Orlov assist). In closing we mentioned:
That's the kind of slick play down low that can help mitigate Brooks Orpik's, uh, limited puck skills. They've been a surprisingly strong and balanced defensive pair of late, as Orpik mitigates Orlov's, uh, defensive adventures to an even extent.
As if to smite our confidence and hammer home the second half of the statement, last night the hockey gods provided us with this gem in the midst of an all-too-familiar slow start for the Capitals:
That certainly qualifies as a Big Mistake. The potential for turnovers is a bit of the risk that probably comes with Orlov's game - he's got the puck skills, and the confidence to match, but sometimes it backfires. On the whole the good outweighs the bad with Orlov, but those turnovers do sting.
The more egregious mistake on the play may have been backing right into Braden Holtby's lap and not doing a thing about the rebound in front, but Barry Trotz seemed to be more peeved by the turnover.
Mike Weber slams that puck high off the glass 11 times out of 10, and Trotz would probably be more comfortable with that, even if that approach would have precluded Ovechkin's goal against the Devils (and Weber definitely doesn't come up with Orlov's goal later in the Habs game).
The playoffs are just around the corner, and mistakes are magnified. We still haven't seen exactly how the defense corps shakes out with Weber, though Mike Vogel said that we shouldn't expect a shakeup in the top six defenders. For now the Caps can survive the occasional defensive Big Mistake... but we'll see what Trotz's risk tolerance looks like when late April arrives.