Capitals 3, Hurricanes 6
Scoresheet - Wash Post - Wash Times
If a team is going to talk about how a certain game has to be treated like a playoff game with high intensity and pull a defensive debacle like that deserves to take a seat in April. This team obviously is not prepared to take the next step to the playoffs.
Whatever talk the Caps were bleating at the beginning of this game, they certainly didn't back it up. Maybe they're burnt out trying to come back from an early season implosion, maybe injuries were just too much for the Caps to bear, maybe they are just not clutch in big games in the NHL. This now puts the Caps at 0-5 in games they considered "must wins." Games where they could have pulled away, pulled ahead or pulled with in a game of their divisional foes on their own.
The game had the feel of some desperation early, but once again when the Caps got a lead they let it squander. Bad penalties, bad plays and a horrible defensive effort made this team look more like the Hershey Bears than the Washington Capitals, and that is an insult to the Bears. When the Hurricanes did whatever they wanted in front of Olie Kolzig, the result was 6 goals and it could have been more. Just about every goal the 'Canes scored were rebounds which the Caps defense just could not control.
If the Caps can't beat their own division, which is quite obvious they can't, they are not going to the playoffs and GMGM might as well be a seller. They have the worst record against the Southeast at 10-12-3 and the only team besides the Lightning that are below .500 against division rivals. If you can't have a winning record against your own division, you are not going to the playoffs, period.
Mike Green, Alex Semin and Brooks Laich all scored for the Caps. Semin is riding a 4 game scoring streak and the power play was a good 2 for 4. However, the penalty kill (that I had been raving about for the last 3 or 4 games) was dismal. The 'Canes scored 4 goals (4!) out of seven chances. The Caps misfortunes were stupid, laxed, lazy, dumb, unnecessary penalties too. Alex Ovechkin broke out of his point slump with primary assists on all three goals. Shaone Morrisonn and Mike Green were the only two players with a +1 rating while Sami Lepisto and John Erskine were both a -2.
I am not expecting too much out of this team tomorrow either, their moral took a serious hit in Carolina. That makes the Devils lick their chomps as they step into the phone booth to try to take the lead in the Eastern Conference. While the Caps have to pull together some wins to see if they can at least grab an 8th spot, however unlikely that will be with Florida and Atlanta making their push.
Yes I understand there still 20 some games left and the season is far from over, but if the Capitals continue to play their division like they have and stumble in games they consider "must win," then the future does look bleak. The Caps can ill afford to lose these big games.
There was a good contingent of Caps fans at the game this afternoon. It's nice to see Caps fans rally for the support of their team down in Carolina, but I am sure they wished a better outcome. Still, it's pretty cool to see a mix of old and new Caps sweaters up in the nose bleeds of the RBC Center. Let's hope they behaved themselves.