The Caps were ice cold on the first big snow day in D.C. as they fell to the St. Louis Blues 4-1 and fall to one win in their last six tries against Western Conference teams.
Here’s Monday night’s Plus/Minus:
Plus: The Caps started quickly as Alex Ovechkin tallied his league-leading 33rd goal on the powerplay in the first period.
Minus: The wheels fell off in the second frame as Washington yielded three goals in a five-minute stretch.
And now, this...
This game is like the hockey equivalent of a cold, congealing Big Mac on the White House dining table.— Becca (@BeccaH_JR) January 15, 2019
Ten more notes on the game:
1. The Capitals hosted the St. Louis Blues looking to avenge a 5-2 loss a little under two weeks ago in the second and final meeting between the teams this season. The good guys were unable to stave off the series sweep for the first time in four years.
2. Tonight was a Batya love-fest as Brooks Orpik became the 330th player to player, and only the 22nd after player to play in 1,000 career NHL games. Despite missing the first several weeks of the season, Orpik has produced this year when healthy recording three points (2g, 1a) in 17 games while leading Capitals defensemen in hits per game (2.9) and shorthanded time on ice per game (3:19). Plenty has been made of Orpiks tenure in DC, starting with the deal that brought him to the Capitals to his presence on ice as recently as late last year. However, Orpik’s goal in last year’s Stanley Cup, to his locker room presence in addition to the team-friendly deal they were able to re-jigger after his off-season trade to the Avs have made him an indispensable part of the Caps organization enter” Cap For Life” territory.
The more I hear about Brooks Orpik changing the Caps culture, the more I picture him yelling in the locker room, "CUT THAT OUT!"— Capitals Outsider (@CapsOutsider) January 15, 2019
3. Tonight was an interesting match-up of two teams inextricably linked by familiar faces with former Blues players T.J. Oshie, Lars Eller, and Phoenix Copley (there and back again) suiting up for the boys in red (with Dmitrij Jaskin a healthy scratch.) Between the four Blues-turned-Caps, they registered 718 games in St. Louis and 504 games in Washington. Also, Head coach Todd Reirden recorded 31 points (6g, 25a) in 94 games from 1999 through 2001, the most points he recorded with any single franchise he played for in his five NHL seasons.
4. The second period has been the Caps’ stanza this season, entering tonight out-scoring opponents 62-to-42 but tonight’s middle frame was one to forget as they yielded three goals before the clock hid the midway mark. All three Blues goals which came courtesy of Ivan Barbashev, Brayden Schenn and David Perron came over a five-minute span.
5. Phoenix Copley got the nod in net tonight and stopped 33 of 37 shots for a .892 save percentage. By all accounts, it was going to be his night tonight regardless of Holtby’s “eyeball hole” injury that had saw him pulled against the Blue Jackets the last time out. Copley had a rough second period but has been otherwise stellar and with his 10-3-0 record 9.16 save percentage and 2.56 GAA over 16 games (in 14 starts.) Despite a rough outing, Copley has done yeoman’s work this year and has arguably elevated the Caps’ goalie duo to among the league’s best.
6. No stats, all eye-test on this of the ten “things” but what gives with the Caps’ proclivity for lazy back-passes and inability to hold pucks in at the blue line this year? I know it’s only January but this is becoming a worrying trend. /end rant
7. As they say north of the border, the power play has got to “figureidout.” Washington entered tonight’s contest just two of their last 39 on the man advantage. Ovechkin’s PP tally in the first extended his league-leading total to 33 and he now has 238 power play goal in his career, passing Brendan Shanahan (237) for sixth place all-time. Ovechkin is now nine power play goals shy of passing Phil Esposito (246) for fifth place all-time. However, the Caps ended up just 1-of-3 on the night with five shots.
8. Here’s another current trend that as my younger cousin put it is “not cute” the Capitals have now been outshot in eight of their last 12 games including by a xx-xx margin tonight. Washington has done a decent job this year of being out-paced on shots on goal yet have still found ways to win, but tonight was not one of those nights.
9. Ovechkin tallied a marker in the first while Vladamir Tarasanko registered his 15th of the year in the third periood. The two Russians have been stalwarts for many years in the NHL, and since the start of the 2014-15 season, Vladimir Tarasenko has 163 goals, while Alex Ovechkin has 217 goals, which ranks 3rd and 1st in the NHL respectively
10. On an otherwise crummy night following an extremely cold and snowy day, allow the story of John Carlson and Devante Smith-Pelly reaching out o the Metro Maple Leafs youth hockey club to warm your heart. This is another in a long list of wonderful community outreach endeavors the Caps have been involved in as an organization and speaks to the character of these players and this team by taking what was a repugnant act and turning it into an uplifting story.
Now having ended up in the wrong side of the record column in two straight games, the Capitals will have to put it out of their minds quickly as they face another tough test in the Nashville Predators tomorrow night with a chance to get back on the winning side.