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Caps lose in shootout, 3-2

What a weird night in Raleigh. The Caps rallied from two goal deficit. Semyon Varlamov had his best performance since returning from his injuries. Rookie John Carlson scored his first NHL goal. The team set a franchise record for points.

But they lost, 3-2, in the shootout.

Check out my gamer here, then come on back for a few notes and some video:

*First, here's Carlson talking about his first NHL goal, which was a long time coming considering how many shots he had sent off the post and crossbar in recent games. Best part, in my opinion, was the fact that the rookie called for the pass from veteran Jason Chimera.

Keeping with the weird theme tonight, here's a weird factoid: Carlson was one of three rookie defensemen to score, joining Carolina's Jamie McBain and Bryan Rodney. It's first time that's happened since 1947, according to the AP

*By reaching overtime, the Caps set a new club record for points with 109. They also could have clinched the franchise's first Eastern Conference regular season title. They got the help they needed from the Devils, who lost to the Rangers in the shootout. But Alex Ovechkin and Co. couldn't pull it out in penalty shots.

*Ovechkin did not score against Carolina this season (in five games). He and Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby also got caught by Lightning second year center Steven Stamkos, who scored his 44th and 45th goals tonight. (I took a lot of heat from Caps fans for writing about Stamkos last week, but I did it because I had a funny feeling that this day might be coming.)

Ovechkin was stopped in the shootout (he's now 2 for 9) and was penalized in the second period for interfering with Manny Legace, who appeared to be struck on the helmet by the two-time MVP. Legace was out of his crease, and he may have embellished it a bit, but Boudreau said he did not have a problem with the call.

*After surrendering two goals on the first seven shots he faced, Varlamov put together one of the Varly of old. In position. Challenging shooters. Anticipating crossing passes. He finished with 29 saves, including a clutch stop on Eric Staal in overtime. Now he just needs to do it three of four more times before the playoffs.

*Mike Green didn't show up on the score sheet. And he missed in the shootout. But he played one heck of a game, I thought. In 26:15, he logged five hits, two blocked shoots and singlehandedly broke up a number of 'Canes scoring chances. If the Mike Green from tonight's game shows up consistently in the playoffs, the Caps are going to be tough to beat.

*Quote of the night comes for Nicklas Backstrom, speaking about the slow start: "Our heads were somewhere else. I don't know what happened."

The Caps are off tomorrow, but will return to the ice Saturday for practice.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 25, 2010; 11:34 PM ET
 
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Next: Caps set new mark in loss to Canes

Comments

chimera has incredible speed, but he has one move . . . down the wing. the shot is not a threat to any goalie. that said, watch him be key come playoffs. Love this team, love this time . . . lett's rock the red!

Posted by: LettsDropThePuck | March 25, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

uh, and first.

Posted by: LettsDropThePuck | March 25, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

congrats to rookie carlson. now go get laich some steak.

Posted by: LettsDropThePuck | March 26, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Varly played great, like the Varly of old. Don't want to see Sloan in the lineup ever again. And for that fact Erskine either.

Flash needs to start putting some pucks in the net again. Back to the shootout ways. Not sure how we won the shootout last night.

Posted by: CAPSHOCKEY2 | March 26, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

@CAPSHOCKEY2

Why is it when we "rest" guys, we always play both our 7th and 8th defensemen? I can understand playing our 7th or our 8th but both

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 26, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Semin scores and has a penalty. Ovie doesn't score and has a penalty. Japers Rink finds a way to bash Semin anyway. Typical.

Posted by: BigMogilny | March 26, 2010 1:47 AM | Report abuse

Green was good, but Laing played a great game as well. Would like to see his big body in the lineup always.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 26, 2010 2:08 AM | Report abuse

@BigMogilny

You're obviously not the first person who's picked up on that. And, sad to say, won't be the last.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 26, 2010 6:58 AM | Report abuse

Too many penalties, we have to be more discplined come playoff time. Congrats to Carlson, well deserved! I don't care if any of the Caps get any of the personal awards this year, we just need one trophy for the whole team!

Posted by: NatyBG | March 26, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

@Big Mogilny

amen to the comment about japers. it's just ridiculous how much semin-hate runs around that site.

Posted by: 33spinner | March 26, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: concepthockey | March 26, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Don't get the Sloan/Erskine bashing. I agree they are the 7th and 8th guys but thought they played solid last night. Which goal was their fault? None.

Agree Varly played well but am I the only guy that thought both goals he gave up were a little soft? I think Varly at his best (or Theo) stops both of those.

But, if you only score 2 in regulation, you can't expect to win.

Green was great and loved seeing that.

Lastly, I think Tom Poti could poke check people from the stands. He can put that javelin of a stick of his anywhere he wants. And he and Corvo together are a really strong 2nd D pairing. Not many teams have a better first 4 than Green, Schultz, Poti and Corvo. Cue disparaging responses....

Posted by: Avar | March 26, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Not many teams have a better first 4 than Green, Schultz, Morrisonn and Carlson...

Posted by: chombie13 | March 26, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

I'm just happy that our chances of facing Carolina in the first round of the playoffs are very slim. In all liklihood, we'd win, but it would go 6 or 7 with plenty of heartburn.

Posted by: rbpalmer | March 26, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

As much as I hate to admit it, if 52, 55, 3 and 77 our top four, just in the East, Pens, Bees and Flies have better D right now

Posted by: igor_k17 | March 26, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

@Avar

Neither of the goals were Sloan or Erskine's fault, but I didn't think either of them played that great. Erskine played better than Sloan, but not great. Sloan was sloppy and turned the puck over several times. Erskine is just too slow.

Posted by: CAPSHOCKEY2 | March 26, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Erskine did a great job blocking his own goalie on the first goal... either get down and block the shot or get the heck outta the way!!!

Posted by: joek443 | March 26, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Don't want to see Sloan in the lineup ever again. And for that fact Erskine either.
@capshockey2

_________________________________________

i agree about sloan, but erskine is exactly the defenseman the caps need....he and carlson were caps best defensemen last night (and only green/poti logged more icetime than erskine)....get your head out of your hole and recognize erskine for what he is....a tough, rugged stay-home who provides the caps the one element they are sorely lacking on the team

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 26, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

i don't get the disdain some of you have for erskine, yet you gush with infatuation about shultz???? it's seems apparent that the team, and fans, have evolved into one big pacifist bunch

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 26, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Stamkos probably would have benefitted from spending a little time in the AHL. He had a rough rookie season with a mightily dysfunctional team, but he is a great young talent who's finally getting his chance to shine. He will be a force to contend with for years to come.

Posted by: farmgirl19C | March 26, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

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