The Washington Capitals lost their fifth consecutive game tonight, falling 3-2 to the Colorado Avalanche at Verizon Center. With the loss, the Caps closed out one of the worst homestands in recent memory in awful fashion and managed to make me sick to my stomach (again).
The Avalanche opened the scoring when Michal Neuvirth had a horrendous miscue, allowing Kevin Shattenkirk to score from the far boards at a ridiculous angle through his five hole. The Capitals got back into the game momentarily when Alex Ovechkin finally showed some signs of life and made a glittering coast to coast drive that culminated with a nice dish to Mike Knuble in the slot, who batted the puck out of midair to tie the game. Washington managed to create some sustained pressure thoughout the rest of the period but the Avalanche killed all their momentum when Ryan Wilson (again, who?) scored with a minute and a half left in the period on an atrocious defensive breakdown that allowed Wilson to skate in alone from the wing and roof a shot past Neuvirth. The second period again saw the Capitals come out and generate pressure before Alex Semin absolutely destroyed John-Michael Liles with a cross check to the back of the head that saw Semin excused from the contest and spotted the Avalanche a five minute power play, which Paul Stastny converted on to give the visiting side their eventual game winner. The Capitals buzzed the Colorado cage for the entire third period and Matt Hendricks was rewarded about five minutes into the frame with a power play goal, but the home side was unable to find their equalizer despite tremendous pressure in the last five minutes.
This Capitals team is simply not as good as last year's model. They are sloppy and inconsistent and seem to think that they can just coast by and win games on talent alone. They only have a sense of urgency when they are losing, and that is not a characteristic of championship teams. I am very discouraged.
Michal Neuvirth cost his team the game, and now has not won in nearly a month. This is the NHL. Soft goals cannot happen, and the first Avalanche goal was about as soft as a roll of Charmin Ultra toilet paper. Neuvirth is too good to keep playing like this, but Semyon Varlamov has been an order of magnitude better recently. Boudreau has got to give Varly the job for now.
Where is Alex Ovechkin? He shows up for one play a night and makes a contribution, and then vanishes and does little the rest of the game. Ovechkin is struggling mightily by his standards and only has 2 goals in his last 13 games...ouch. Plus, Sidney Crosby is making him look like a small child in the points race.
That's all for now. Caps are right back at it tomorrow night in New York to take on the Rangers. Game time is scheduled for 7 P.M.
Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!