Two nights after struggling against the Predators, the Caps arrived in Denver and proceeded to have yet another bad game - albeit of a different sort, as this one was less of a track meet and more a series of mistakes ultimately leading to their downfall. The result was just about the same, though, as the Caps now slink home having been awarded exactly zero points on their brief road swing.
First, here's Thursday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: <File Not Found>
- Minus: Poor Philipp Grubauer. It may not have been his best outing but his team hung him out to dry yet again and he continues to look for his first win of the season.
And now, this...
Ten more notes on the game:
- Giving up a goal 17 seconds into the first period is... something.
- Not a huge fan of that Blake Comeau hit on T.J. Oshie in the opening frame, an infraction for which Comeau was given just two minutes in the penalty box. While Oshie did come to a stop, he didn’t turn towards the boards the way players often do and yet was still essentially tossed head-first into them. Thankfully Oshie was okay, but one would think that type of hit is exactly what the League is (allegedly) trying to get rid of.
- Giving up a goal with just over six seconds left in the first period is also... something. It’s almost as if the Caps needed to be keeping an eye on the Avalanche’s uber-talented top line.
- Tough to say what exactly any of the white-jerseyed lads were doing around their goalie on Colorado’s third goal, but it’s pretty safe to say that none of it was good - from letting Mikko Rantanen execute a wide-open pass to the front of the net to doing next to nothing to tie up Colin Wilson parked right in front of Grubauer. Bad look all around.
- Big welcome back to Brett Connolly, who scored his second goal of the year - and his first since opening night - off the faceoff late in the second period to carve into the deficit. Excellent hustle by Tom Wilson to get to the puck and flip a backhand pass to the front of the net, and great work by Connolly by actually, y’know, being there.
- The momentum from that shutout-breaking score almost got wasted about a minute later when the Avalanche appeared to score, but the coaching staff in its infinite wisdom decided to challenge it... and wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, won the challenge. Somehow.
- Of course, what would have been a 4-1 game became a 4-1 game about five minutes into the third when a Matt Niskanen blue-line flub resulted in a breakaway for Gabriel Landeskog and then a penalty shot... for some reason. The officiating was like 207th on a top-ten list of reasons why the Caps lost tonight, but a weak little tap on the hand (while maybe a two-minute minor these days) does not a penalty shot make.
- Want a living, breathing example of how overrated faceoffs can be sometimes? The Caps absolutely dominated in the dot tonight. And nowhere else.
- The Caps’ penalty kill has been a rare bright spot for the Caps these days. That trend continued for a bit, and that continued tonight - right up until the Avs cashed in to make it 5-1 halfway through the third... and then 6-2 with about 30 seconds left. But besides that, Mrs. Lincoln...
- Not willing to slink away quietly, the Caps showed a bit of life late in the game (after falling behind by four, of course - good timing!), generating some good chances and finally getting a second goal courtesy of Evgeny Kuznetsov.
The story of this one was ultimately that of a team that just could not get out of its own way. Missed opportunities, stupid mistakes, sloppy play and poor decisions ultimately cost them as they once again found themselves on the wrong side of a lopsided score. So what’s the issue - is it coaching? Is it a roster still adjusting to the offseason change? Is it pod people pretending to be the Caps?
Whatever it is... time is quickly slipping away to make it right.