The Big Picture
…Yikes, that was one of the worst weeks the Capitals had all season. Since we last gathered here on the 10th, the Caps have gained a total of one point and lost by a total score of 13 to 4. For the second time this season Washington lined up against the St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators back to back and got wiped out by both. The Capitals offense has undergone a spectacular disappearing act over the last three games that needs to end very soon if they hope to get back on top of the Metro division. This is an offensive team, without offense they don’t have a ton to win games with.
The Last Week
OTL @ COL 2-1 (1/12)
Columbus has seized the lead in the Metro division taking advantage of the Capitals three game slide. They are playing like a team that wants to forget about the clown car of questions they are facing this upcoming offseason. The Blue Jackets had some help in this one with Alexander Ovechkin sitting out a large portion of the game with a mystery injury (later revealed to be a cut on his hand) and Braden Holtby getting high sticked in the eye in the second period and not returning.
The game itself was a rather dull affair, the Blue Jackets scored once early on (via Cam Atkinson) and Jackets were on the offensive for basically the entire first period. The Caps finally got some offense going in the second period, but nothing got by Columbus backup goalie Joonas Korpisalo who was in for 2 time Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky (who is apparently ready to waive his no trade clause, the drama is real in Ohio). Things looked bleak for Washington until the very end when Evgeny Kuznetsov scored in the few last minutes with a 6-5 empty net advantage.
Unfortunately for the Caps the Jackets would strike the game winner with 1:36 left in overtime on a power play shot from yet to sign an extension Artemi Panarin. Tough loss, but not an awful performance.
L @ STL 4-1 (1/14)
As I’ve said in the past here, the St. Louis Blues are not a good hockey team, in fact they are one of the worst in the league (although they have slightly improved of late). So how they keep mopping the floor with your Washington Capitals is truly a mystery to me.
There wasn’t much to talk about in this game, it was Brooks Orpik’s 1000th game and Alex Ovechkin is now 14th on the NHL’s all time scoring list with an elusive power play goal for this club. That was the first and only goal of the game for the Capitals, after that it was four straight for the Blues. Seriously that is kind of it, Washington did not put forth the effort needed to win NHL games tonight. They looked like were asleep at the wheel, they were outshot 37-29 and outchanced 52-38. Three unanswered goals in the second period were too much to even attempt to overcome. Just an all around bummer of a game to watch.
L @ NSH 7-2 (1/15)
Dear Lord what a sh**show of a game this was. The goalie play of one Pheonix Copley, was horrendous. Seriously, the Predators only shot the puck 29 times! That is good for a save percentage of about 75%, I know, yikes. I don’t even know what I should say about this game, yes Nashville is a quality hockey team, you could argue one of the best in the league. However, that doesn’t give this club an excuse to just be embarrassed like this.
I could harp on the lack of effort out of the gate, or the bad defense, or the bad offense, or the weak schemes, but instead I’ll take up this space to look ahead to the rest of the season. To put it in layman’s terms, the rest of the season might be rough. We all saw the Caps rock and roll through a lite december schedule that gave them a healthy lead in the Metro division. Unfortunately, things could turn very quickly for the rest of the season.
Washington has the 7th toughest schedule remaining in the league (via playoff status) and have several key players in slumps including: Braden Holtby (eye injury, not good for goalies), Ovi, Kuzy, Oshie, the entire 3rd line, and more. It’s been rumored that Brian Maclellan is looking to make a deal before the deadline to give the team some juice, if that is the case than I’m all for it, this team needs something to get themselves back on track, maybe tomorrow’s game against the Barry Trotz led Islanders will do it.