Sunday, April 13, 2014

Washington Capitals: A ONE-point Afternoon -- Game 82: Lightning 1 - Capitals 0 (OT/Gimmick)

Live by the trick shot, die by the trick shot. 

The Washington Capitals ended 20 of their 81 games played before Sunday in the 2013-2014 season with the NHL’s own little Gimmick, the shootout.  It was entirely fitting that the Capitals ended their season with just such a finish in their season finale against the Tampa Bay Lightning, coming out on the short end of the freestyle competition, 1-0, on Fan Appreciation Day at Verizon Center.

It would be one thing to say that the hockey portion of the game was dominated by top-notch goaltending.  In fact, there were moments when Washington’s Braden Holtby and Tampa Bay’s Anders Lindback had to make saves to keep the game scoreless.  But the game was played more like a “let’s get this over with” sort of air to it.

When all was said and done, only Matt Carle, a player who had not taken a shootout attempt on the road this season and a defenseman to boot, would find the back of the net in the trick shot phase.

Other stuff…

-- The Caps were 8-3 in their first 11 trick shot competitions this season, 2-8 in their last ten.

-- The Caps were 0-for-3 shooting in the freestyle against the Bolts.  That made them 4-for-35 in that last 2-8 run in the Gimmick (11.4 percent).

-- 21 trick shot competitions sets a new NHL record for non-hockey hockey.

-- Season in a nutshell… Adam Oates sends Alex Ovechkin in the shootout (15 shot attempts, two goals), Ovechkin tries a trick-trick shot that ends up in the goalie’s logo.  Stubborn on one hand, pretty for a moment on the other, ultimately not what was hoped for.

-- When Peter LeBlanc took the ice for the Caps, he became the 12th rookie to dress for a game this season for the Capitals (11 skaters, one goalie).  That is the highest number of rookies dressing for the Caps in a season since Washington dressed 17 rookies in the 2003-2004 season (14 skaters, three goaltenders).

-- The 18 shots on goal was the fifth time this season that the Caps were held to fewer than 20 shots on goal.  This was the only game in which they earned a standings point (0-4-1).

-- Only nine Caps had shots on goal, none with more than three (Backstrom, Brouwer, Ward).  Six Caps had more missed shots than shots on goal.

-- Braden Holtby’s shutout was his fourth of the season.  In his last eight appearances he was 4-2-1 (one no-decision), 2.07, .939.

In the end…

What is left to say?  It was a game devoid of highlights to end a season with too few of them.  Tampa Bay goes on to the playoffs, the Caps go on to their exit interviews. 

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