Sunday, November 23, 2008

Defensive Debacle

Capitals 2, Sharks 7
Scoresheet - Wash Post - SJ Mercury

One would think that the tilt between the Washington Capitals and the San Jose Sharks would produce an exciting, high scoring game. Well it was high scoring for one team, the Sharks put the beat down on the Capitals who go on to lose their second straight, 7-2.

Tom Poti and Tomas Fleischmann were your goal scorers in a game that turned out to be a blow out for the other team. Alex Ovechkin keeps his point streak intact with a power play assist. Brent Johnson played better than the team played in front of him. That being said, there were seven goals.

It was very frustrating to watch the Capitals start strong and finish so poorly. They kept the Sharks pinned in their own zone but could not produce a goal. A heavy weight battle between Donald Brashear and Jody Shelley seemed to work out in the favor of the Caps, but they didn't feed off it. It seemed every shot the Caps threw at the net were extreme angle shots or they would lose the puck after one too many passes.

The Sharks scored on their first shot on net. After Shaone Morrisonn kindly gave San Jose goal number two by knocking it into his own net, the Caps unraveled and broke down defensively.

It is hard for any team to win on the road, but the idea is to at least try. The Caps were guilty of missing plays, telegraphing passes, losing the one on one battles and basically just stinking up the joint. Ovechkin, to me, does not look 100%, although that could just be San Jose's very good defense.

When the Capitals were able to get it out of the zone, they didn't get the puck in deep enough or passed it right to a waiting defender's stick and boom the play was right back in their zone. Perhaps it was too close for bed time for some of them.

Those who may have been up past their beauty sleep were the defensive squad. Morrisonn tapped in the puck behind Johnny to give the Sharks a then 2-0 lead. Even though Poti scored, this was not his best game. Watching him tee up a slapshot that just kept getting blocked was a bit hard to watch. I counted 3 times Poti wound up and shoot it right into a defender standing right in front of him. Jeff Schultz had a rough night too, he was a -4 on the night. The worst of any other Capital.

The Caps could ill afford to take dumb penalties against this very dangerous Shark power play. But that didn't stop them of course as they were called for 9 in fractions. 7 of which were stick infractions. The Caps needed to stay out of the penalty box, but just could not.

Sergei Fedorov made a brief return to the line up but left after logging less than 5 minutes of ice time after the first period. The Caps are already without the services of Mike Green and Alex Semin whose seemingly minor injuries apparently have kept them sidelined longer than anyone but the doctors want them to.

There is really no excuse for this loss. The Caps just didn't do the things they needed to do to win. I think the Caps need to get back to doing some leg work and crashing the net. This team seems to rather make one more pass than get the garbage goals. Instead of the shot heading on net, it was one too many passes that the Sharks jumped on, nullifying any offensive chance.

Asking the Caps to shake off the last too games and face another hot Western Confernece in the Minnesota Wild is a hard task for Bruce Boudreau and his coaching staff. But that is exactly what they need to do.

Video highlights courtesy of

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