Saturday, November 01, 2008

Good Grief

Capitals 0, Sabers 5
Scoresheet - Wash Post - Buff News

What the Capitals have to quickly realize whether they have Alex Ovechkin in the line up or not, teams will bring their "A" game every night against them. Especially a team that thought they embarrassed themselves in a loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning the game before. Caps get a little shell shocked as the Buffalo Sabres roll them over 5 - zip.

No goal scorers this time around. Even Alex Semin found it hard to get some open space as the Sabres buckle down and give the Capitals fits all night long. Instead of the Caps weathering the storm, Jose Theodore gives us another shakey performance and the defense broke down soon after.

The first period was just bad, so bad I refuse to use any self respecting adjectives to describe how bad it really was. The Caps should have been ready for this team, they should have known they were coming off a disappointing loss and wanted to come back strong at home. Bruce Boudreau knew it too, but more on that in a bit.

The second period the Capitals came back and actually put the Sabres on their heels, at one point out shooting them 9-1. But for what ever reason, it seemed the Caps were content to shot from the outside or try to make the pretty pass rather than get the puck to the front of the net. As a result, Ryan Miller saw everything he stopped (and he stopped them all for his eighth NHL shutout). The only really good chance was a Micheal Nylander steal right in front of the net and he hit the post.

The announcers tried to say comforting things like, "put this one in the circular file," or "this is a game the Capitals would prefer to forget." But I think the Caps have to learn from this one rather than just forget it or write it off as a bad game. The good way to judge how successful a team will be is how they react to bad games (Buffalo is a good example: lose at home against the Bolts 5-2, next game they tighten everything up and win 5-0).

Like we feared, Theo's play can either be spectacular or really, really, really... really bad. I think tonight is a night he would like to have a couple of those shots back. It's not like the defense played stellar in front of him, but there are some shots a goaltender just has to stop.

Speaking of the defense, the good: Tom Poti was back in the line up and his return was felt, kinda. The bad: Shaone Morrisonn left in the second and was rushed to the hospital for a CT scan. He may not even make it back with the team. The ugly: how they played. Mike Green always gets praise for his offensive swagger, but he needed to clean up his defensive end work in a game where he just didn't look like he wanted to play defense. Also, the "stay-at-home" defensemen didn't. Creating a plethera of odd man rushes against with Sergei Fedorov back to play defense after staring the game at forward.

Bruce Boudreau was clearly not happy every time the camera panned his way. Some of his quotes were dead on tonight:
"I wish I had an answer. I believe we were one of the better first-period clubs last year, so I don't know why this is happening. But you could definitely tell there were some guys not ready to play tonight. And it's unacceptable. We've got some great players, but Mike Green isn't ready to play and Sasha [Semin] didn't come to play and Viktor [Kozlov]. You can go on."

"You don't want to throw the blame on the goalie when everybody else is not playing well. But I think there were a couple in there he could have had. But even if he had stopped four more shots, we would have lost by one."

So, the Caps lost a stinker. Yes, these types of games are going to happen. How they respond will detrmine how much this team learned.

Now, I am off to vacation on a sour note. Haven will do a great job filling in. Peace out, see you in a couple of weeks.

Video highlights courtesy of

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