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Caps vs. Flames Recap: Defense Burns Out, Flames Triumph 4-1

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The Capitals’ defense came up short on Monday night at Capital One Arena, giving up heaps of shots en route to a 4-1 drubbing.

NHL: Calgary Flames at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Capitals’ defense did not come to play Monday night, coughing up four goals to a middling Calgary squad and essentially leaving Braden Holtby out to dry all night.

Here's Monday night's Plus/Minus:

Plus: Jakub Vrana and Lars Eller showed flashes of magic together tonight, a much needed bright spot for a team that desperately needs secondary scoring.

Minus: Brooks Orpik was on-ice for 7 shots for, and 22 against. He was on the ice for 5 high-danger scoring chances against, and just 2 for. He just looks bad.

And now, this...

Ten more notes on the game:

1. Folks, the grassroots movement worked. Thank your local volunteers and congresspeople, because tonight marked the moment that #Jagr2DC became a reality. Would the mullet, and the accompanying man, set the tone for his own return to Washington?

2. Also making his return to Washington tonight was Troy "Boy Toy" Brouwer, the Dour Power, holding down Calgary's fourth line. Troy gave Capitals fans plenty of happy Winter Classic memories, and also plenty of postseason heartbreak via some still-scarring missed opportunities against the New York Rangers. Could he help Calgary down his former goalma mater?

3. Jakub Vrana showed off his hustle and skill early in the first, winning a footrace to a puck in the corner and winging around the back of the net before slinging a perfect doorstep goose egg to Lars Eller, who smashed it home to make it 1-0 Caps. Participate THAT, moji přátelé.

4. Travel-size Calgary uberkind Johnny Gaudreau answered back for the Flames just three minutes later. Johnny Hockey flew down the wing, easily past an inexplicably-vacationing-on-the-right-side-of-the-ice Brooks Orpik, to beat a helpless Holtby high and clean and tie it at 1-1 after one.

5. The second period got off to a hot start, only insomuch as the Flames scored first. Lars Eller took a penalty, and on the ensuing power play, Braden Holtby made a flurry of desperation saves, but one too few. Sean Monahan knocked home the loose biscuit and gave Calgary a 2-1 lead. It would hold until the final intermission.

6. In the third period, the wheels fell off for the Capitals. On the powerplay, Calgary’s Mikael Backlund knocked home a Dougie Hamilton rebound to give the Flames a 3-1 lead.

7. And just two minutes later, Mark Giordano rang a wrist shot off the post and in to bury the Caps by three goals.

8. That was all she wrote, and the Flames took this game 4-1 from the Capitals at home.

9. This was an all-around poor showing for the Capitals, who allowed 38 shots on net tonight to their own 27. If the other team is shooting 25% more shots than you, they’re probably going to beat you.

10. Tonight did see Top Line Vrana make an appearance, after gaining a promotion from the first line for his strong play early on. In the first period alone, he drew a penalty, recorded a primary assist, and helped create 2 high-danger chances while allowing none. He leveled off later in the game, but we’ll see how Trotz scores the young Czech’s play after being critical of him this week.

This is one to either learn from or forget for the Capitals. Next up is the Ottawa Senators at home on Wednesday.

Game highlights: