For 16 minutes last night, the Washington Capitals looked like a team to be reckoned with. For the last 44 minutes, they looked like a wreck as the Arizona Coyotes pasted the Caps for five straight goals after the Caps took a 3-1 lead in those first 16 minutes. The Caps scored a couple of window dressing goals late to make the 6-5 final more respectable, if not easier to swallow.
For a detailed look at the game, take a look at the quick-recap and more lengthy recap we penned over at Japers’ Rink.
-- Arizona came into this game not having won a game on the road and suffering the ignominy of being shut out by the Carolina Hurricanes for the Hurricanes first win of the season the previous night. Well, now the Coyotes have one road win.
-- The Caps had been outscored, 8-0, in the third period over their last four games before they scored those two goals in the last 1:53 of the game.
-- Alex Ovechkin, with four points on the evening, tied Peter Bondra for the franchise record in points (825). Bondra set his record with a goal in a 4-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on February 15, 2004, in what was Bondra’s penultimate game with the Caps. Oddly enough, Bondra’s last game with the Caps was against the Ottawa Senators, to which he would be traded the following day.
-- Caps fans can take small solace (yeah, very small) in Martin Erat going minus-2, pointless, and with a penalty for his evening.
-- Ovechkin gets the coupon for the all-you-can-eat buffet… a goal, three assists, four points, seven shots on goal, 14 shot attempts, five hits, a takeaway. Oh, yeah, two minor penalties, one of which led to the goal Shane Doan goal that tied the game and sucked what was left of the momentum out of the Caps’ end of the ice. Sure, it was an iffy penalty, but like the sign says, “players are responsible for their sticks.”
-- In case you haven’t noticed, for all the needles at Brooks Orpik since the season started, the other big-money free agent defenseman doesn’t yet have a goal (he is averaging precisely half the shots on goal he averaged per game last season) and doesn’t have a point in his last four games.
-- Speaking of Matt Niskanen, he was one of only three Caps without a shot on goal (Karl Alzner and Andre Burakovsky were the others).
-- It was the type as well as the frequency of penalties that was annoying (ok, the refs were annoying, too)… holding, interference, hooking, hi-sticking, hi-sticking. Stick and impedance fouls strike us as signs of laziness.
-- Mike Green had his first “minus” game of the season. He was a minus-1 after going a cumulative plus-8 in his first nine games, five of them in plus terrirtory.
-- Tom Wilson had a goal, an assist, and two roughing minors…sort of a “Gordie Howe Hat-Trick Lite.” Be strong and get well, Mr. Hockey.
In the end...
It was a grisly effort by the Caps against a team that, frankly, stinks. Four straight losses, five in six games, post-game closed-door players meeting, somber barely-able-to-contain-his-anger-coach at the press conference, players rolling out all the “contrite” and “thoughtful” quotes after the game. Hey Caps fans, look familiar?