Saturday, October 10, 2009

Caps Fall To Red Wings

Capitals 2, Red Wings 3
Scoresheet - Times - Post - Exam

The Capitals answered their coach's desire to play better team defense, but it was bad penalties that give them fits again. The Red Wings took advantage of some free stick work by the Capitals beating them at the Joe 3-2. The Capitals drop their third straight game.

Matt Bradley opened the scoring with a tough angle shot that beat Chris Osgood. Brendan Morrison also scored on the power play to tie the game early in the third. But the lack of offense hurt the Caps in this one as Alex Ovechkin was held to an assist and Alex Semin and Nick Backstrom were left off the goal ledger all together.

It was penalties that led to the Caps demise once again. The Red Wings took advantage of the last two power plays to take the lead, the last one for good. Alex Semin and Mike Green were both called for penalties that lead to Red Wings' goals. It's been a carry over problem the Caps had from last season.

"It's the same culprits from last year," Bruce Boudreau said of the players that were in the sin bin. "We got to make them understand somehow that they can't do that."

It's not like the Caps played poorly, in fact they were much better at playing team defense. A problem against the Rangers on Thursday night. Bradley's goal early on gave the Caps some life early. The Red Wings tied it up by crashing the net and sneaking the puck past Jose Theodore. Then the penalties started to hinder the Caps. They were able to kill off the first three calls, but when Semin was called for interference late in the second period, the Wings took advantage with a boom from the slapshot of Jason Williams.

The Caps would get the game back to a tie early in the third on the power play carry over from the second period. Patrick Eaves crashed the net and was hit by Green and knocked the Caps net from its moorings. The Referee did not blow the whistle as the play went back down the ice and Ovechkin found Brendan Morrison in the slot. Morrison shot it passed Osgood and the Caps tied the game at 2.

Washington seemed to get a momentum swing from the goal, but Green took a lazy hooking call late in the third. He got his stick up into Ville Leino who didn't have the puck and was covered by Brooks Laich as he cut into the middle. There was just no justification for him to get his stick up like that. Green's penalty was answered by the Red Wings with a power play goal and the game winner.

Detroit badly out-shot the Capitals 37-24. The Caps only registered 4 shots in the third period.

The Caps played well all game long in a tough building to play in. But it was small mental mistakes that cost them the game. Jose Theodore deserved a better fate as he made 34 saves on the night and kept the score close for the Caps to claw back. They would pull the goaltender and get a chance late, but the damage had been done.

When Boudreau was asked about what is attributing to the Caps taking bad penalties, he shrugged. "It's just going bread dead, I don't know, I wish I could get inside their heads. It's not like they are raw first year guys doing that."

"We played a hell of a game tonight," the Caps head coach summed up. "And two bad penalties cost us."

Caps Notes:
  • Ovechkin had a great night, just didn't score. He had 4 or 5 great chances to score and Osgood was there with the save. He finished the night with one assist, 9 shots on net and 10 hits.
  • Bradley had a heck of a first period. Not only did he score, but he blocked a big point shot on the penalty kill and drew a penalty himself.
  • Green led all skaters (both Caps and Red Wings) with 26:50 of ice time.
  • A big thank you to for having me as a Guest Chatter on their live chat during the game. It was a lot of fun, even if there were not too many there. You can catch the replay of the chat here.
Caps face New Jersey on Monday night.

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