Friday, February 01, 2013

Another Collapse

Capitals 2, Maple Leafs 3
Game Summary - Event Summary

It started out well for the Washington Capitals. They got the big hit, the early goal. They got spectacular goaltending and a penalty kill that did okay. But another 2-1 lead into the third period withered away. The Capitals would drop their second straight night with a second intermission lead to the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2.

It was a homecoming for Joel Ward and the hometown boy didn't disappoint. Some hard work on the boards and a little bit of help from a fantastic play and pass from Mike Ribeiro, Ward recorded his fourth goal of the shortened 2013 campaign.

But as good as the Capitals were looking, they suddenly could not stay out of the penalty box. The Caps took 10 minutes of penalties in the games first 10 minutes. A combination of not moving their feet and frustration dug a pretty big hole for the Caps as James Van Riemsdyk scored off of a rebound on the Capitals third penalty of the game (Jason Chimera's second minor of a double minor assessed for hooking and unsportsmanlike conduct).

A good penalty kill by the Caps kept the game tied through the first period and early in the second, their power play finally clicked. Alex Ovechkin scored just his second goal of the season when Ribeiro again made a good pass tot he waiting winger on the half boards.

The Capitals would take the 2-1 lead into the third period, but that is when things fell apart. They would not register a shot on goal until nearly halfway through the final frame. With the ice tilted, the Leafs took advantage of the struggling Capitals in the third period and with goals from Nikolai Kulemin and Matt Frattin sealed the win for the home team Leafs.

While the collapse is a tough one to swallow, it is even tougher to see the team struggle in the third period for a second straight game. Below are just some random thoughts I had on the game:
  • The Capitals just can not survive by taking as many penalties as they had in the first period. Eight minor penalties were assessed to the Caps in this game all with in a span of just over 20 minutes between the first and second periods. All that PK took a toll on the players needed later on. Coupled with the fact that the Capitals had to lay off the Leafs for fear of taking another penalty. That lead to some glorious chances for the Leafs.
  • If it were not for Michal Neuvirth, the score could have been easily 8-2. Neuvy played his best game as a Capital and was the only reason the team was in the game in the first place. The Caps' net minder could take some solace in the fact that he point blank robbed Phil Kessel on several occasions to keep the Leaf forward with out a goal yet this season. He would earn the game's third star.
  • Ribeiro played inspired hockey tonight against the Leafs. He had two set ups for goals in this game. He was one of the few bright spots for the Capitals.
  • Nick Backstrom has been a non factor so far this season. Almost to the point of being barely seen at all in this game. 
  • If conditioning is the problem, it was never more apparent than in the third period. The Caps looked slow and stopped moving their feet. That combination led to a Maple Leaf assault that the Caps could not match. 
  • John Erskine had a monster hit in the first period on Kessel. Not long after, the Capitals scored taking the early 1-0 lead. Besides a penalty here or there, the break downs in the defensive system were far too many in this game.
Caps Notes:
  • The Caps were able to kill off seven of eight power play opportunities the Leafs had. 
  • Tom Poti, Matthieu Perreault and Roman Hamrlik were the Caps' healthy scratches.
  • Ovechkin only managed two shots all game.
  • The Capitals are now 30th in the league. Calgary has the same number of standings points but have played less games 2 less games.

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