Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Mental Lapses Leads To Loss

Capitals 2, Maple Leafs 3
Game Summary - Event Summary

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Whether it was a miscommunication between the goaltender and the defenseman or a complete collapse of the defensive zone, when the Washington Capitals make a mistake it costs them games. No matter how small the infraction is, the penalty or the missed play, the Caps can't find the bounces. They moral collapses after bad goal after bad goal until there is a hole that is too much for them to over come. The Maple Leafs took advantage of the hapless Caps again 3-2.

Both Capitals' goals came on the power play. Marcus Johansson got  the scoring bug off his back when the Leafs broke down in their own zone. Tomas Kundratek helped with his first point in his NHL career when he found Johansson for the back door play. Mike Ribeiro gave the phone booth some life in the third period when again the Leafs over persued. Ribeiro was open on the far side and Troy Brouwer found him cutting in. He sniped it high over the shoulder of Leafs' goaltender Ben Scrivens for his third goal of the season.

It was a pretty decent first period for the Capitals. They were building up momentum, playing solid on a team that had played the night before. But a bad play behind the net where Michal Neuvirth left the puck to Tom Poti lead to a turn over. Poti frozen with the puck either didn't see James Van Riemsdyk, or his forecheck was too fast for the defenseman who just came back from two years off nursing a fractured pelvis. Van Riemsdyk stripped the puck from the Caps defender, and wrapped it around and into the net. It deflated the Capitals right then and there. They never fully recovered.

This is the first game that special teams didn't hurt the Capitals. The PK was perfect, and they scored two goals with the extra man. This is their first loss of the season when they have not had a power play goal against.

Alex Ovechkin had an assist in the game, his third of the season was a secondary helper on the Ribeiro goal. He had a few chances, but his failure to score and even strength goal is starting to become a concern. Once the most exciting scorer in the NHL, now a mere shell of a winger that would rather do the fly by around the net then battle for pucks in front.

It was the little mistakes, the lapses in judgement and miscommunication that did the Capitals in. Those details and little things a team has to do in order to win is eluding the Capitals right now. Whether it is a break down in the defensive zone or a missed read on a power play entry, those little nuances to the game and their system is being missed.

The Caps have a fragile moral right now. When they have a set back, a phantom penalty or a bad goal, it takes them at least 5 to 10 minutes of game time to get back to the momentum they once had. Often times players are breaking to make a play, but leave their responsibilities to make a play only to get burned. Those things can be corrected. They can be improved, but only if the team buys into the system and sticks with it.

Caps notes:
  • Nick Backstrom was credited with an assist, bringing his point and assist streak to 5 games.
  • With the Caps' loss and the Calgary Flames win, the Capitals are now dead last in the league (30th) with just 5 points.
  • Johansson was named the game's second star.

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