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Caps suffer loss, injuries in Montreal

Tonight's 6-5 overtime loss at Bell Centre was a bit of a disaster for the Caps' defense and for sportswriters scrambling on snow deadlines. Since it's so late and the wireless here is on the fritz, I have to be really brief.

Check out my web-only gamer, which has been updated with reaction from Coach Bruce Boudreau and the players after one of the weirdest games of the season, then come on back for a couple of injury notes:

*With Jason Chimera already sidelined with a groin muscle strain, Tom Poti and Michal Neuvirth both missed time tonight with injuries. It's unclear to what extent Poti is hurt, but the veteran defenseman took only three shifts in the third period and is listed as "day-to-day".

As for Neuvirth, he suffered a "minor" injury in the second period and that's why he was replaced by Jose Theodore.

"He's not hurt," Boudreau said of Neuvirth, who notified Boudreau of his injury during a stoppage. "It's a minor thing. But with us having three goalies, I thought let's pull him out. He would be ready to play tomorrow if he wanted to."

I'll get updates on all three at the morning skate tomorrow at Scotiabank Place.

*I'm also told that Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges, who suffered a pretty scary looking head injury when he was struck by a first period one-timer off the stick of Mike Green, is expected to be okay.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 11, 2010; 12:50 AM ET
 | Tags: Bruce Boudreau, Canadiens, Capitals, Josh Gorges, Michal Neuvirth, Tom Poti  
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Next: Caps put up a fight, but go down in overtime


So now that the streak is over do we play Varly tonight against the Sens? Nuevy is hurting and Theo played most of the game tonight so he could be tired.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 11, 2010 1:50 AM | Report abuse

I think they should play Varly tonight. Streak is over, so no added "pressure" there. The defensive play has been a bit sloppy the past few games, so maybe having Varly in net will help them refocus a little and tighten up. Sort of like they would when Varly or Nuevy started in goal last season (most of the times).

I am just hoping that there will not be any shake up of the offensive lines! There is good balance in these lines (better when Chimera is back). One loss should not cause a huge stir, that could send the wrong message (I am assuming).

Hoping for a good game tonight!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | February 11, 2010 2:04 AM | Report abuse

There's definitely no need to shake up any lines as we scored 6 goals tonight, one of which was mysteriously disallowed. I'm still peeved about that call. We overcame horrendous officiating in favor of the opposition against Pittsburgh, but just couldn't do it tonight. But hey, we gave it a real go. Shame about the loss, but we're still an amazing team and had the Canadiens running scared in the 3rd. Have to admit though that the Habs gave it a great effort also considering that they had half the Hamilton team up for this game due to injuries. One thing we're not is boring. The last few games I've had to take a shower after they ended.

Posted by: ranndino | February 11, 2010 2:16 AM | Report abuse

Did anybody else catch that little exchange between Ovechkin and Knuble in front of the Montreal net after a stoppage in play late in the 3rd period?

I'm not sure what the issue was but it came right after Knuble fired a long shot on goal from the right wing.

It looked like Ovechkin said something to Knuble and Knuble got a little ticked off and skated away shaking his head with Ovechkin trying to hold him back to clarify himself or something.

Did anybody else notice that incident? If so, any thoughts on what might have caused it?

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 11, 2010 2:45 AM | Report abuse

Another point for discussion...

4-on-4 hockey is a situation where speed becomes a key factor.

In my opinion, a player like Schultz should not be out there in those situations unless there is no other choice. He has improved his overall game noticeably this season but he is still probably our slowest player along with perhaps Steckel, Knuble and even Poti (which makes you wonder if a few of those players aren't part of our penalty killing problems... maybe their lack of speed and inability to quickly change directions and react to plays outweigh their size and reach advantages... I don't know, just a thought).

Anyhow, I'm not brining this up just because of the OT goal. I don't even think that particular goal had much to do with a lack of speed although Schultz does have slow reaction time in addition to slow foot speed so it may have been a factor if you want to include reaction time and the ability to change directions in your defintion of speed (which I would do).

Basically, I think we should have our faster players out there as much as possible in 4-on-4 situations (which do occur in the playoffs as well) even if we need to go with 3 forwards and one defenseman. Maybe use some of your penalty killing forwards like Laich, Backstrom and Semin instead of a second defenseman. If not, strictly use quicker defensemen.

On a broader level, I believe our team speed is overrated and actually an area that needs improvement, particularly on the backend. We are a big team before a fast team. You don't usually have both and it's commonly talked about how we have a lot of height. I know we have a few fast players but I'm talking about our overall team speed compared to other teams, not just a few individuals.

So far this season, we've struggled with 4-on-4 play and on the penalty kill, both of which are cases where speed and quickness are at a premium. In addition to hopefully a trade that will help address these weaknesses, I think Boudreau should avoid putting slower players out there in those situations as much as possible.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 11, 2010 3:27 AM | Report abuse

well done Caps - that streak was awesome to watch from Down Under.
Now lets gear up for the cup run after the break...............
BTW - it's gotta be 100 degrees down here in Sydney - sweltering!

Posted by: ozcapfan | February 11, 2010 3:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm with you tmac, and additionally I now see why Schultz was double shifted there in overtime (Poti was injured). I brought this up in the OT/SO game against the Panthers, and though I think that Schultz has earned his right to playing time, his style doesn't mesh well with man-man coverage in lots of back and forth hockey.

It's the second time Schultz' lack of speed gave up a huge scoring chance in OT in recent memory (and this time that chance went in). I love Schultz (what's not to love about the defensive leader in +/-), but he may not be the right guy for 4-4 hockey.

Posted by: Raber | February 11, 2010 5:08 AM | Report abuse


I thought I saw Ovi say he was open. I agree Knubble didn't seem to take it well. He seemed to get into it with Backstom a few games ago also.

Posted by: DCRedMachine | February 11, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I see another streak comming: most consecutive hat trick games.

Posted by: guer_j | February 11, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

tmac, he most likely told Knuble to pass the puck. Ovi wants to win and conversations can get tense.

I hope after this Olympic break, Brendan Morrison gets his game back. He looks awful.

Posted by: noreaster1 | February 11, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 11, 2010 3:27 AM |

Geebus dude, you make it sound like we just lost 14 straight.
hayseus effin chryst.

Posted by: Rocc00 | February 11, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

"Did anybody else catch that little exchange between Ovechkin and Knuble in front of the Montreal net after a stoppage in play late in the 3rd period?"


I noticed that too, tmac, and I got the same impression you did. As much as Ovechkin wants to control things, I can imagine his desire to make plays can also get a little overbearing at times. He's so passionate and so wired that I could easily see him saying something to a teammate without necessarily thinking about it first. Let's hope it was nothing and they were both simply frustrated.

As much as everyone thinks the Olympic break is going to cool a hot team, I think it's going to be great for the Caps. They've been playing an insane amount lately and I think the schedule is starting to wear everyone down both physically and mentally.

Posted by: MartinLocraft | February 11, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully, before we get a deluge of people wanting to hang the Capitals for not getting Win #15 last night, that we all remember that the main objective this year and really, every year, is the Stanley Cup. Let's give the Capitals credit for the 14 game streak. We should all be proud of their hard work. Here's to some much needed rest for the Capitals who aren't on an Olympic team, and to the next half of the season.

C-A-P-S. Caps! Caps! Caps!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 11, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

@tmac, et tal, OV is the team captain, he was expressing his leadership skills to a doesn't really matter what he said or how he said it, it is up to his teammate to except it. he doesn't have to agree or like it. Allow a team captain to do what he is supposed to do. that is what you want from a team leader, the ability to speak up and say what needs to be heard, without concern for hurting someones feelings. this was not a bad thing...if it was a thing at all.

Posted by: joerutgens72 | February 11, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

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