Saturday, November 26, 2011

Befuddled In Buffalo

Capitals 1, Sabres 5
Game Summary

You hear that noise? That is the sound of Bruce Boudreau's job security hitting the rocks. The Capitals can not seem to right the ship as they fall hard to the limping Buffalo Sabres 5-1.

Facing a team mainly consisting of rookies due to nine injured players out of their normal lineup, the Capitals couldn't even muster a forecheck on the young defenders. Add a few soft goals and some poor play by the defense, it made for a rough night for the away team. Instead of writing this one out, lets just go to some pointers.
  • Jason Chimera is the best thing that has happened to the Capitals in the month of November. A beauty of a penalty shot he earned by moving his feet and using that great speed of his. His shot beat Buffalo's goaltender Jhonas Enroth over his right shoulder and got stuck in the net. The awesome part of the whole thing was to see Buffalo fans that cheered thinking he didn't score, oh but yes, he did.
  • Tomas Vokoun is the biggest buzzkill the Capitals have right now. After a cutting into a 2-0 lead with Chimera's penalty shot goal, the Caps looked poised to get back into the game. But Vokoun let in a softie and it killed whatever momentum the Caps had to that point. 
  • It's clear to me that one of two things are falling apart on the Capitals. Either their offensive strategy is not working, or the players are not executing. Either way that points to a clear coaching conundrum. While I don't think Boudreau is entirely at fault, but a coaching shake up (head or assistants) could be in the near future. 
  • The Sabres followed the Rangers strategy to put pressure on the back line. With the effective forecheck they executed, it lead to a slew of chances and kept the Caps chasing the Sabres. 
  • The Capitals definitely felt the effects of playing the day before. With tired legs and a shortened bench, the Caps legs wore out on them. In the third they were pretty worthless. 
  • Roman Hamrlik has had a terrible November. He was a -3 in this game and hasn't been the solid rock on the back end the Caps were hoping for when they signed him. 
  • When things go south for the Capitals, it usually goes bad for the Caps top lines. Alex Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom were held with out a point and were a -4 to finish off the night. The ineptitude of the top line is a problem, especially when the Caps seem to need them to produce. 
The teams the Caps face over the next few nights don't get any easier. Even though they return to the phone booth, they face the St. Louis Blues and then the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Caps will have to nail down some kind of consistency and a bit more competitiveness.

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