Capitals 0, BJ's 3
Scoresheet - Wash Post
I never in my life time have hated the phrase "Stopped... by... Mason!" as much as I did tonight as I listened to Steve Kolbe do the play by play on 1500 while watching the Caps on glorious non-HD standard 4x3 television on good ol' CSN+ (the plus is really for less!). "Pad save... by... Mason!" "Mason covers the rebound!" "Mason... robs... [enter Capitals player name here]!" Mason, Mason, MASON.
The Capitals put up a goose egg as the Columbus Blue Jackets basically bore their way to a win. If it were not for Steve Mason (rookie phenom that is either too brilliant for words, or too stupid to fear the Caps offense) the Blue Jackets may have had more of a problem on their hands. But when the BJ's were giving up oppurtunities, Mason was there to shut the door.
It was just a matter of a very good defensive team riding a very hot goaltender that gets the Blue Jackets a rare win at the Verizon Center. They frustrated the Capitals from start to finish, and the Caps could not escape Ken Hitchcock's trap and shut down, trap and shut down, transition, trap and shut down hockey.
"Their style of game is frustrating," Rookie Karl Alzner told reporters. "They're trapping and they're very tight defensively. If you don't get a goal quickly on them, they get a lot of confidence and get rolling."
Alex Ovechkin had a fluery of shots late, 12 shot in all, but all to no avail. In fact 13 Capitals peppered the rookie goaltender with 45 shots and Mason turned them all away. There is not much I would have liked the Caps do differently in this game, except for the bad penalties toward the end that stymied the Capitals' offensive push and allowed two BJ power play goals late in the second and third periods. Those were pretty bad penalties.
When you thought that maybe the Caps would come out and prove to the world that more than just Ovechkin should be donning an All-Star sweater, they post a dud. In a game where the Caps slighted Columbus in shots, hits, take aways and face-offs, the back of the net is somewhere the Caps just couldn't put it.
What now? Regroup.
"You get snakebitten," Bruce Boudreau shrugged at the reporters following the game. "But good teams rebound from it and, hopefully, we're a good team."
The Caps do end a four game homestand with a 3-1 record and 6 points out of eight possible. Now they hit the road to Montreal, where confidence is abound in the Habs. There is not much time to dwell on the second straight loss to Columbus by the exact same score.
Editorial Note: Being a radio guy myself, it's not unusual for me to turn down Joe B. and Locker to listen to Steve Kolbe every now and then. The audio on my TV was fine, thanks for asking.
Photo AP, Luis M. Alvarez