Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Capitals' Losing Stretch Hits Seven

Capitals 1, Ducks 2 OT
Game Summary

It was a far better effort by the Capitals but the result wasn't what they were hoping for. The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim come into Verizon Center and beat the Caps with just 56.6 seconds left in overtime. The loss stings the Caps who know find themselves with just 2 points in their last seven games.

"We executed the game plan we wanted," centerman David Steckel said. "We just chewed the short end of the stick."

Even with a strong start and the opening goal by Brooks Laich, the Capitals seemed to hit a mental block. Whether it is taking an untimely penalty, a bad turnover, inability to score or breakdowns in the Caps' defense, the mistakes the Caps make seem to pile up a wall of doubt in the players minds. A team that has been used to winning based on talent now have to face the toughest adversity in some of their young careers.

It wasn't a bad game for the Caps' defense. But in close games, the most minor of mistakes become glaring miscues. On the Ducks' power play, both Caps' defenders Mike Green and Karl Alzner played the shot from the point instead of covering and boxing out the two Ducks in front of the net. Joffery Lupul was able to slide the puck under Semyon Varlamov to tie the game at one.

The game hit a stalemate with chances on both sides. But the Ducks seemed to play a good road trip by weathering the storm of Caps' shots and making the most of opportunities. Their overtime goal was a result of some miscommunication on behalf of the Capitals. John Carlson backed off of Ryan Getzlaf after his move to gain space. Either Alex Ovechkin or Scott Hannan were either a step too late, or didn't step in to take away Getzlaf's space and he made no mistake shooting the puck over Varly's shoulder to win the game.

Even though it will go down as a loss for the Capitals, their effort tonight was much better than the previous two games they have played. The Caps will have to dig deeper to turn their fortunes around. Their defensive effort was good, minus the few mistakes they made. They did have chances to add to their one goal lead. Mike Green did spring Ovechkin on a break away, but Ovi hit the post. Laich nearly had a second goal, but the trickling puck was swiped away by a Duck defenseman. Nick Backstrom had a wide open net and Jonas Hiller made a hightlight reel save to keep it from going in.

"I thought we played very good," Boudreau said. "Sometimes you play very good and lose."

This is a game the Caps can build on, if they continue to work hard. They made the jump into 40 points in the standings and at the moment have held off other Southeast Division rivals to stay atop the division for now. However, their schedule does not give them much sympathy as they have to travel for the next two back to back games on Saturday and Sunday. One would think their luck would have to turn. Soon.

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