Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A ONE-Point Night -- Game 15: Columbus Blue Jackets 2 - Washington Capitals 1 (OT)

The Washington Capitals had a third period lead against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but they could not hold it as the Blue Jackets tied things late in the third period and won the contest in overtime, 2-1.

The teams fought to a scoreless draw in the first period and almost escaped the second period without a goal recorded.  However, late in the middle frame, Nicklas Backstrom took a Brooks Orpik pass in stride, skated through the neutral zone, eased in down the middle, and snapped a shot past the glove of Sergei Bobrovsky.  The goal at the 15:43 mark would be the only scoring through 40 minutes.

It might have been enough, but Zach Werenski, who seemed to be all over the ice in this game, tied it 13 minutes into the third period with a laser that beat goalie Philipp Grubauer on the glove side off the post to make it 1-1.

That would be all the scoring in regulation, a goal by Nicklas Backstrom having been disallowed on video appeal due to an offside.  In overtime, the Blue Jackets ended things in the first minute when Brandon Dubinsky won a draw, Cam Atkinson picked up the loose puck, and Atkinson snapped the puck past Grubauer’s blocker for the 2-1 Columbus win.

Other stuff…

-- Washington and Columbus combined for a total of just 28 shot attempts and 11 shots on goal in the first period.

-- At one point, Justin Williams, Dmitry Orlov, and Lars Eller had nine of the Caps’ 16 shot attempts and half of the team’s six shots on goal.  That is not a good mix for the offensive load early in games. 

-- Weird stat.  In six games coming into this one in which Columbus had two or fewer power play opportunities, they recorded at least one power play goal in five of those games and were 6-for-11 overall (55.6 percent).  In games in which they had three or more power play opportunities, they had power play goals in three of them and were 6-for-25 (24.0 percent) in those games.  Columbus was 0-for-3 in this game.

-- The Caps had three shots in the third period, none in overtime.

-- The Caps had two power play shots (no goals) in 3:31 of power play ice time.  Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson were the shot makers.  Again, nothing low or in the middle.  There just seems to be a general lack of aggression on the man advantage.

-- Only three forwards had less even strength ice time than Ovechkin (11:20) – Zach Sanford (10:12), Daniel Winnik (10:21), and Jay Beagle (10:17).

-- Backstrom’s goal was his first in five games and just his second of the season.  Backstrom has had some slow starts in his career, but last year he has his second goal in Game 2 of the season.

-- We noted in the prognosto that Cam Atkinson has been something of a one-trick pony so far, being mostly a power play phenomenon.  He did have three of Columbus’ five power play shots, and Nick Foligno and Sam Gagner contributed a shot.  It suggested that Philipp Grubauer was the Caps’ best penalty killer.

-- Brooks Orpik had an assist on the night, his fourth assist and point of the season.  All of them have come on the road.

-- T.J. Oshie led the Caps in shot attempts for the evening, getting a total of seven (3 shots on goal, 2 missed shots, two shots blocked).

In the end…

The Caps are a team in a fog at the moment.  Their offense has no continuity, their power play has no cohesion, and they can’t seem to hold a lead when they get one (late leads lost to Chicago in a win and in this game).  Last season, the Caps had a unique ability to keep one loss from becoming two, even if they were not playing particularly well.  So far this season, the club looks as if it is still sleepwalking a bit after their loss to the Penguins in the second round of the postseason.  Well, they get to do something about that on Wednesday night.

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