Saturday, January 19, 2013

Caps Fall In Season Opener

Capitals 3, Lightning 6
Game Summary - Event Summary

Okay, let us go through the list of excuses. It is a new system. There was really no time to effectively implement said system. It is a work in progress. But a loss is a loss. The Washington Capitals failed to take two points from a divisional rival as the Lightning down the Caps in their season opener 6-3.

"I think some of the mistakes came from conditioning," said head coach Adam Oates of the loss. "We got tired at times, the game went in waves. I think some of the penalties in the third period, you can't really give them a five-on-three to start the third period. That obviously hurt us."

The Capitals got off to a good enough start. Two power plays right off the hop as Ryan Malone and Brian Lee took early penalties. But the Lightning would strike first with a point shot from Eric Brewer that beat Braden Holtby. Joel Ward would even the score with a late power play goal, but it didn't take long for the Lightning to regain the lead.

A complete break down in the defensive zone lead to a Vincent Lacavalier goal passed a sprawling Holtby. Ward would answer the call again as a quick rush up the ice with John Carlson led to a Bolts' delayed penalty. Not quitting on the play, Ward crashed the net and the puck ended up past the giant Anders Lindback to tie the game up at 2 a piece.

That is when Tampa's power play woke up. They would once again retain the lead when Marty St. Louis stuffed a back door pass from Lecavalier. As the Capitals landed in penalty trouble down the stretch, a four on four goal where new comers Mike Ribeiro fed a nice pass to Wotjek Wolski for his first goal as a Capital. It would tie the game up going into the second intermission.

But the third period did not fare well for the Caps' penalty kill. They allowed two more power play goals by the lightning and a bad break down by the Capitals defense made it a rough night. Conditioning was also a contributing factor according to Oates as the Caps seemed to lose steam as the game wore on.

"A lot of little mistakes, to be expected," Said Oates of his impression of the game. "And a little bit of conditioning; we got a little tired at times."

As predicted by Oates, the Capitals were sloppy and disheveled in his coaching debut. The Caps learning a new system on the fly cost them points early on, but as more games are played how this team will do under the new system will better take form.

"It's tough," Oates said of his team's chemistry. "It's going to take the guys a while. And we've talked about that, and hopefully we can win enough games until it becomes automatic. Tonight wasn't our night, but there's a lot of positives in the game and we'll talk about that on Monday."

The Capitals' power play could have capitalized early with the chances the Lightning gave them. Double that missed opportunities with the number of penalties the Caps took from lazy stick work, and the Caps were looking at a rough night with a potent power play facing them. The penalty kill was less than stellar, but give the Lightning as many opportunities as the Caps did with soft penalties bad things will happen.

There are no do overs for the Capitals, they are playing for points now. The learning curve will have to be quick. They have two days before the home opener Tuesday night. It should be enough time for the coaches to put video in front of the Caps and work out the kinks.

Caps Notes:
  • Jack Hillen was injured when he was taken out by Lacavalier who was not penalized for the hit. He did not return after the hit.
  • Tom Poti made his official return to the ice as a Cap. After missing almost two years, the veteran defenseman did not see a lot of ice time, but did get an assist on Ward's first goal.
  • Matt Hendricks and Troy Brouwer were the only centers over 50% on draws (Hendy 6-6 100%, Brouwer 6 -10 60%).

No comments: