Capitals 1, Kings 2
Every time the Caps seem to build some momentum, beating New Jersey and riding a three game winning streak, they lose the steam against teams they should be beating, losses to the LA Kings and the Carolina Hurricanes and losing their last three games. They always seem to take one step forward and three steps back. The latest was a lackluster game against the Kings at Staples Center 2-1.
Mike Green responds to his snubbing of Team Canada by coming out physical against the Kings. He racked up seven hits and scored the only Capitals' goal. It was an inspired game played by the Caps' d-man, but the intensity wasn't matched by the rest of the team.
Even with some moments of strong domination, the Caps were not able to capitalize on their opportunities. Their power play woes continue on the road. They did not score on a :53 two man advantage. They missed, in part, Nick Backstrom who only played two shifts and only :56 seconds in the second period before leaving the game with an undisclosed injury (Update: Boudreau told WaPo that Backstrom was suffering from a migraine).
As far as the game was concerned, the Caps lacked anything resembling anything to really write about. Brendan Morrison had a nice semi break away where he pulled the puck between his legs to get a shot on net. But the Caps opportunities seemed to just fizzle on them.
If Jason Chimera is suppose to bring some sort of spark or "edge" to the Capitals, I am having a hard time seeing it. In two games, he has produced zero spark, zero energy and one assist. If I heard right on the interview Bruce Boudreau gave to CSN, the Caps' coach didn't quite know where to put the forward. I am not totally convinced the trade was totally worth the price of losing a solid defenseman and a forward you could depend on.
The Caps need to stomp out of what ever funk they are in. The Caps return home to face the Montreal Canadiens. A team where the Caps seem to play tough and Alex Ovechkin plays his best. The Caps schedule goes into overdrive as they still have to fit in 21 games before the Olympic break in mid February. That includes three weeks in which the Caps will play 4 nights. They also have 4 back to back nights during this upcoming stretch before the Olympic break that begins on the 14 of February.
That means the Caps will have less time to practice over the next six weeks. Changing the chemistry will have to happen at game speed.