Thursday, February 05, 2009

Too Little, Too Late

Capitals 4, Kings 5
Scoresheet - Wash Post

The story of the Capitals' season seems to be their inability to beat the teams they should be able to especially in situations that favor their strengths. Playing to the level of their competitors, the Capitals started on the right foot by scoring just 14 seconds into the game. But that is were the bright spots for the Capitals end. The Kings take advantage of some poor defense to shock the Caps at home 5-4.

Alex Ovechkin finally has his goal against the Los Angeles Kings, leaving only the San Jose Sharks as the only team Ovi has yet to score against (Winnipeg Jets and Quebec Nordic jokes aside). While it was his first agianst the Kings, it was his 200th NHL goal for his career. Putting him in the in the top four of elite players to score 200 or more goals in their first four years in the league. A list that includes Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy.

Alex Semin scored on a early Kings break down in defense. Mike Green also scored in his fifth straight game and Brooks Laich was credited with a late goal to pull within one with just a minute left in the game. But their late efforts were futile as Jonathan Quick was clearly the game's best player. Jose Theodore played great, but he can not beexpect to stop all the break away chances the Kings were able to get away with.

Besides the first game of the season, this was the worst defensive outing by the Capitals. The Kings were able to exploit the Capitals on turnovers after several Capitals were unable to get the puck deep. The score could have easily been 8-2 by the third period as the Caps defense were just too overwhelmed by the Kings' speed and quick transistion game.

Eric Fehr was one of several Capitals that had a hard time tonight. Fehr was doing some first line duty in this game but his key turn overs led to more than a few break out chances for LA. It wasn't his best night.

The defensive core in general had a bad night. Far too many defensive break downs may give GM George McPhee cause to look for help on the blue line at the trade deadline. Jeff Schultz was badly out skated in this tilt, beaten to an icing touch. Shaone Morrisonn just couldn't stay out of the penalty box for one reason or another. Green sometimes overstayed his shift allowing the Kings to overcome his play on the defensive end. If you are tired, it is harder to be an effective defenseman. John Erskine just lost track of players behind him. Milan Jurcina seemed to get hit more than being hit.

The Caps took two bad penalties on the penalty kill that forced a 5 on 3 with significant time. Bruce Boudreau has already stressed the importance of playing a more disciplined game, but that reasoning seemed to be thrown out the window against the Kings. The Caps have now allowed a powerplay goal against in a franchise record 13th straight game. They also allowed a short handed goal against completing the collapse of their special teams play.

In the end the Caps fail to gain any ground on Boston who won against Ottawa in a shootout. The Caps struggles against the western conference continues, even if it's a team that is on the playoff bubble. A team the Caps should be having little trouble with.

Puckhead player of the game is tough one to pick, but Jose Theodore played well despite the bad situations his defensive core put him in.

AP Photo, Nick Wass

No comments: