Monday, November 24, 2008

Late Rally Not Enough

Capitals 3, Wild 4
Scoresheet - Wash Post - Star Trib

The Capitals road woes continued tonight as they took on the Minnesota Wild. The Wild jumped out to a 4 - 0 lead that was just too insurmountable and you can add Jeff Schultz to the injured department as he left in the first with a broken finger,Boyd Gordon also went missing and didn't return after the first period and John Erskine left after the second. While the comeback was admirable, the Caps close out their road trip with a measly 3 points in five games and amassed a three game losing streak.

The late rally was sparked by a Matt Bradley goal less than 5 minutes to play. Alex Ovechkin finally got his first goal ever against the Minnesota Wild and Nick Backstrom made it interesting after the Wild took a late penalty. But the Caps could do no more and fall short 4-3. Both Backstrom and Ovi keep their point streaks alive.

The Caps really got beat in special teams. Both San Jose and Minnesota are two teams that you just can't take stupid penalties. The Wild were 2 for 6 on the power play and had two 5 on 3 opportunities which they scored on one of them. All of the infractions against the Caps were just bad penalties to take. Holding, tripping, elbowing, closing your hand on the puck (not once, but twice). Just lazy, mental errors that the Caps just couldn't afford to take.

Washington wasted yet another great goaltending effort by Jose Theodore, who had his share of some ten-bell saves including one on Pierre-Marc Bouchard who had a wide open net and Theo just plan robbed him. Besides the two power play goals that were scored against him, the Caps' defense (who took a big hit to the line up with Schultz and Erskine out) just didn't give Theodore much support. The Wild seemed to gobble up too many loose pucks and there were too many bad give-aways for Theo to stop them all.

With players out injured Tom Poti's ice time stretched to nearly 30 minutes, Ovi's ice time was nearly 26 minutes and Brooks Laich volunteered to play defense. The Caps had been beating the Wild in face offs in the first period, but that soon evened out when Gordon retreated to the locker room. Eric Fehr had two assists and played well tonight. Tomas Fleischmann also keeps a point streak alive with an assist tonight.

The Caps just got beat up this road trip. Losing now Erskine, Gordon and Schultz to injuries, the Caps can't get home soon enough. No word on any call ups from Hershey.

In the Southeast Division, the 'Canes also lost their game tonight and the Caps lead remains at just a single point. They will face division rival Atlanta at the phone booth Thanksgiving eve.

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