Sunday, October 27, 2013

Washington Capitals: A NO point night -- Game 11: Flames 5 - Capitals 2

In a season that lasts 82 games, not every evening is going to be beer and skittles.  The Washington Capitals saw their modest three-game winning streak come to an end in Calgary on Saturday night, falling to the Flames, 5-2.

Calgary scored early (64 seconds into the game on a wrist shot by Kris Russell), late (Curtis Glencross finishing off a 2-on-1 with 5:32 left), and often in between (Jiri Hudler getting one and Mike Cammalleri potting a pair) to overwhelm both Capitals goaltenders and send the Caps off in a grumpy mood.

The Caps never knew what hit them.  Calgary outshot the Caps, 8-0, in the first 4:25 and had a 1-0 lead.  By the time the Flames took a 2-0 lead 7:24 into the game they had an 11-2 edge in shots.  Even when the Caps showed the slightest spark of life, when Jason Chimera halved the lead 12 minutes into the first period, Calgary had the answer, restoring their two goal lead 48 seconds later on the first of Cammalleri’s two goals.

Washington would make it close once more, but that in itself was misleading. Aaron Volpatti recorded his first goal as a Cap. However, given that the top two lines were being held in check, it would be far from enough.  Calgary added the last two goals while the Caps were left quiet in the last half of the contest.

Other stuff…

--  Well, someone got his first goal as a Cap.  We prognosticated it would be Tom Wilson, but it was Volpatti instead.  Wilson, who skated more than 11 minutes in Edmonton on Thursday, got only 4:40 in this one with but a single shift in the third period.

-- It is not often that the Caps are led in shots on goal by someone other than Alex Ovechkin, but such was the case against Calgary. Jason Chimera had six shots on goal.  Ovechkin had five among his 15 shot attempts.

-- Mike Green was paired with Nate Schmidt again.  The pairing did not work as well as it did against Edmonton on Thursday.  Green and Schmidt were on ice for three of the Flames’ five goals.  Green has been on ice for 13 of the 29 even strength goals scored against Washington.  It dimmed just a bit Schmidt’s first NHL point, earned on Volpatti’s first goal as a Cap.

-- Congratulations, Aaron…now, you’ll only get only two more shifts the rest of the game.

-- The second line had one shot on goal (Troy Brouwer) and only three shot attempts.

-- It’s not like the third was a whole lot better.  Every shot attempt came off the stick of Jason Chimera (seven, six of them on goal, one in the net).  Joel Ward and Mikhail Grabovski played a combined 31 minutes without a shot attempt.

-- Marcus Johansson had the quietest 20 minutes of ice time imaginable for a first liner.  No shots, no shot attempts, one hit, one giveaway, one faceoff taken.

-- Note for future reference… give Braden Holtby a baseball cap against Calgary.  Holtby has a .760 save percentage in 29 minutes of work against the Flames this season over two games.  He has a save percentage of .927 against everyone else.  He came off the ice hot and with a few choice words about the decision to pull him as he was heading down the hallway, but after heads cool, folks will figure out it was hardly about him and all about what was in front of him, which was a mess.

-- Getting outscored, 3-1, in the first period means that the Caps have been outscored in the first period of games this season, 12-6.

-- The Caps were 0-for-4 on the power play, leaving them 1-4-0 in games in which they do not score a power play goal (4-2-0 when they do score on the power play).

-- Did Calgary go into a shell in the third period?  The Flames had only 12 shot attempts in the last 20 minutes.  Scoring on two of them just added to the despair.

-- Nicklas Backstrom, DDS, performed an exodontia procedure in the second period, removing his own tooth after taking a puck in the chops. 

In the end, the Caps stunk.  You have a better term for it?  Another poor first period, another instance of letting their goalie hang out to dry, another uneven level of effort from the forward lines (if, by “uneven,” one means a range of “little” to “microscopic”).  Maybe it was a case of nonchalance born out of the knowledge that they came back from an 0-3 deficit against this same team barely three weeks ago.  Whatever it was, the Caps looked as if they left their game in Edmonton.  They had the look of a team unprepared mentally to take the ice, and it was mindset they never escaped over the next 60 minutes.  They had better find their game in short order, or their visit to Vancouver will be even more unpleasant.

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