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Caps' winning streak ends in Montreal

For the first time since Jan. 12, the Washington Capitals' offense was unable to push them over the edge.

After rallying from a deficit in eight of their franchise-record 14 straight victories, the Caps found themselves on the unfamiliar losing side as Tomas Plekanec's last-second overtime goal gave the Montreal Canadiens a 6-5 victory at Bell Centre.

The Caps had been unstoppable in the third period in their previous 14 games, outscoring opponents 30-6, and tonight was no exception as Brooks Laich completed the first hat track of his career to erase a three-goal deficit. But Pekanec's tally at 4:52 of extra time finally put an end to Washington's run.

The Capitals broke a 26-year-old franchise record of 10 consecutive wins by beating the Bruins on Feb. 2 and added three more despite giving up 11 goals combined in those games. The NHL record for consecutive wins is 17, set by the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins.

With the Caps down 2-1 in the second period, Coach Bruce Boudreau pulled rookie goaltender Michal Neuvirth and replaced him with veteran Jose Theodore, who made some key saves down the stretch but allowed four goals to snap his streak of 10 straight victories in net. Neuvirth did not return to the bench in the third period.

More to come soon from Tarik in Montreal, so stay tuned.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  February 10, 2010; 10:22 PM ET
 
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Next: Caps suffer loss, injuries in Montreal

Comments

Poor Laich! was that his 1st hat trick!!!

Posted by: capscoach | February 10, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

I washed my lucky fleece today. I am sorry.

Posted by: EricCarr | February 10, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Brooks had an awesome game. I'm glad we got the point though.

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | February 10, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Sad to see a loss, but that was a great run there and it still set the record for any win streak by a DC sports team.

Posted by: alex35332 | February 10, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Habs' fourth goal was offside. Caps' should have been third goal never should have been disallowed. Refs made up for it by calling some phantom calls against the Habs, but still... Poor reffing tonight. I'm not going to blame the loss on them, because the Caps slept through the second period, but I hate seeing games decided like that.

For those of you who think Pierre McGuire is biased against the Caps you should think again. He complimented the Caps non-stop on TSN tonight, and he could not believe that goal was waved off. Milbury is for sure, but not McGuire.

Posted by: Aldred15 | February 10, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

giving up 10 goals in two games is not going to get it done. Our defense has been chasing for the past several games and it finally caught up with us. Great game by Brooksie, too bad we couldn't get the W.

Posted by: kthhken | February 10, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

no goal on OV brutal call.....flash and semin both on the ice for 4 Montreal goals
Gordon is so lazy on the pk......

Posted by: wendel2 | February 10, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

The Caps gain a Bettman point in their loss. But in playoff hockey, a loss is a loss.

Hope Neuvy's okay.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 10, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Great streak for a great team!
Sorry to see Brooks have to lose a game where he nets a hat trick.
As far as this game goes, the Caps deserve alot of credit for tying it up, considering the Canadiens outplayed them much of the game.
How many times have you seen a team dominate the OT period only to see the other team win it...unbelievable.
Anyway, tough game coming up tomorrow night.
Go Caps!

Posted by: kcbrichmond | February 10, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Caps even lost their streak in style. I think Theo wouldd've beaten Price in the shootout. Oh well.

Posted by: Sonyask | February 10, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

quit complaining. Good game. Bad luck goal with 8 to go. We still have the best team in the East, if not the League.

There's only one medal the Caps need this year. They don't need a streak.

They need 16 wins in Apr-May-June.

Posted by: mattbuckley801 | February 10, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

No big deal fellow caps fans...we start another tomorrow!

Chin up....we will be just fine!

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 10, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

WE WUZ ROBBED! (Ovechkin's goal that was negated.) Nonetheless, huge kudos to the Caps for never giving up tonight, and for the incredible play they've been showing in every game. I hope they're able to keep the intensity going after the Olympic break. GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: nan_lynn | February 10, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Losing is not the worst thing in the world! I think a lot of upcoming practices willbe devoted to play in their own zone. I mean that goal getting waived off was atrocious, but thats still not an excuse for how we played.

Lets look at the bright side! We still have areas that can b improved, and when we do...we will be unbeatable!

Posted by: capscoach | February 10, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

The streak was bound to end folks. I like that they at least got a point out of this. Fifteen games, 29 out of 30 possible points. Can't complain about that.

Posted by: TimDz | February 10, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

now we can put Varlamov in.

refs were blind, man. totally blind.

Posted by: j762 | February 10, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Great streak - sad to see it end. So sad that Ovie's goal was waved off. That would have joined some of his other highlight reel goals. That is truly a pity. Something unique, just like him.

Posted by: crooks_c | February 10, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Well we did get a point. I wish I knew the rules better about the waved off goal by Ovi. Was there an explanation? Did they say he kicked it in or was it goalie interference. Why didn't it go to Toronto?

Six goals to a team whose top goal scorer (who played) was only 16, is not something to be proud of.

But once again they did show that they can come from behind and for the second time from 3 behind. That is quite an accomplishment.

Yes it would have been nice to tie the 17 game Pen record but this was still a great feat.

Posted by: rjma1 | February 10, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Great run, Caps. Still the best in the NHL! Too bad we were in Canada, Montreal no less. Should have been 6-5, Caps.
Stupid call on that disallowed goal, that's why they called a make up penalty.

Posted by: sorry2say | February 10, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

POSTGAME THOUGHTS:
Bringing the heat tonight!!!!! Wow what a night and what a difficult way to lose after fighting so hard. Let's keep this in perspective. When the playoffs come this will mean nothing BUT for right now a big congratulations and hats off to the guys for giving us an amazing streak that we as Caps fans have been so fortunate to be witness to. Bottomline: You still came out with a point tonight. Haha. It's been a pleasure to see this streak. Time to start a new one.

Neuvirth: Let's hope he's ok and isn't hurt seriously.

Laich - Hats off to Brooksie - that deflection to tie it was a thing of beauty. Way to never give up.

Officiating: Not blaming it at all as the Caps were porous and slow to the puck and Montreal hustled their asses off tonight and took advantage of the Caps being sleepy at times. However, when Ovechkin introduced himself to Hal Gill in the crease and the puck went in - the ref called a goal. The fact that they felt they could change that goal was a complete farce. You find me the rule in the rulebook as to why they felt they could justify turning over that call and I'll listen but until then - something stinks. Once you make that ruling - it's up to the war room in Toronto to overrule it. If that counts - who knows how this game ends up. I hope Boudreau speaks up and says something. These officials should be demoted. Absolutely pathetic.

Schultz: Hard to see a guy whose been consistent all year - take his eyes off his man in OT - he stays on him - we go to a shootout - all in hindsight. Chin up Schultzie.

NBC Bias: With respect to Maguire - he's a good analyst and has given the Caps plenty of praise through the years - he even sensed a few years ago something special was brewing in Washington. As for Milbury - he's as big a peice of s*** as that scum and non-dressing fool Don Cherry in Canada. They both should sit in a box and let Milbury dress up in Cherry's wardrobe. They're both a waste of time to watch and to the game of hockey.

*EXHALES* Haha. WOWOWOWOWOOWOW what a game. Let's hope this team has some energy and jump left for tomorrow night.

It's a clash of capital cities tomorrow night. The Sens await.

ICE BREAKERS GOAL SHAKERS.

Posted by: Jonathan6 | February 10, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

off to drown my sorrows in early valentine's day candy...
CAPS CAPS CAPS!!!

Posted by: dc33 | February 10, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Caps still have an undefeated streak going...

Posted by: elicea | February 10, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: elicea | February 10, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Even if the refs sucked...and lets face it...we got away with a few penalties 2! we still did not play very well, so maybe this will be a nice wake up call before the playoffs.

Posted by: capscoach | February 10, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Gabby's comments were very insightful, and not at all complimentary about team defense from anyone. I believe "porous and lazy" was the phrase he used. Schultzie needs to clear Plekanic out of there - I'm no hockey strategist and even I know that.

Still, standing O for the boys. Pick yourself up off the mat and get it tomorrow. I get the feeling they can take anybody's punch in the mouth and get back up and dish it right back. Haven't felt that around here since the Terps' NC team, and the 1991 Bandwagon Skins before that.

GO CAPS!

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | February 10, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

The goal is the Stanley Cup. Nice streak guys. Great help on the road to home ice for the playoffs.

Posted by: caps1974 | February 10, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Great effort by our Caps...You can see how the lack of practice is starting to take effect...too many people open on the point, running around in our own end, etc. We have such talent that we can cover up those mistakes most games. Montreal gives us fits w/their small forwards. This is the one team Jeff Schultz struggles against...just a bad matchup for #55...oh well...clear up some things & start up a new streak in Ottawa.

Posted by: lusby1 | February 10, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Valentines Day? OMG...did I miss that? Been so tied up with this streak...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 10, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

@ Jonathan6: Very well said! I would certainly like to hear the explanation on why the goal was disallowed.

Posted by: kyle_woodruff | February 10, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

The waved off goal was correctly inferred by Locker: BB said during postgame remarks that the ref told him the non-goal was because Carey Price's ability to play the puck was interfered.

BB's argument was: back judge called it a goal, so there needs to be proof to overturn, and he didn't see it. Fair either way to me. AO still gets style points in my book for the housecleaning.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | February 10, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse


Wise jinxed them with his crap column today....

Posted by: chombie13 | February 10, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

I think the lost was due. Caps haven't played their best the past few games. They were getting by more with talent rather than hard work. Now they can regroup. It's good that it's a back-to-back game tomorrow, so they can bounce back that much faster.

Wonder if Varly will get the nod tomorrow.

Posted by: elicea | February 10, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

It was the fault of the person who had pizza and burgundy when they should have been rocking the white.

And what a lame excuse - couldn't get out of the house to get food. What if Noah had used that excuse?

I predict the Ovi "goal" will make a huge controversy in Canada. You'll get "honest" Canadians like Gordie Howe who will say - "Should have counted." A fair man, that Gordie Howe.

Then you'll get Cindy: "Like it or lump it, they waived it off."

Someone should waive you off, Cindy.

In the end, will we get a fair and decent explanation? There could actually be a reasonanble explantion, based on the rules, but I heard the league wants all Caps fans to hold their collective breaths and wait for that answer.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 10, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Someone earlier made agood point that the Caps need to spend some time looking at footage and such against this team...we could very well face them in the first round of the playoffs.

Posted by: capscoach | February 10, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like the lower-body injury with Neuvi is still there; with no pressure on for the streak, I'd start Varly and see what he can do, and take Theo for the last game before the break.

Remember, the Caps want Neuvi to play in Hershey during the break.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | February 10, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

I for one still believe that the team could use another defensemen. We have given up a lot of goals including the six tonight and the four against the Pens. We also gave up five against the Rangers. You cant win the way we have won in the playoffs by only showing up for half the game or less.

Posted by: arcassells | February 10, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

@arcassells: Gabby's point in his remarks is that they allowed 15 goals in 3 games and shouldn't expect to win when you leave your goalie out to dry.

It's not the talent level of the players; it's what they're doing. If Niedermayer left Plekanic in front of the net, then we would all be talking about how crappy - and expensive - our defense is.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | February 10, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Thanks refs, for completely SCREWING us over. We should never put all the blame on one thing or one person but this is an exception. They totally stole this game away from us. Yes, we played like horse s in the first two periods but the game was still in our reach. WHY did they emphatically signal "goal" on Ovechkin's goal at first? It would've been different had they called it "no goal" initially. I still don't get the explanation, or maybe I just don't care enough to listen because I know it's the wrong call. I'm so bitter because our streak could still be going but we lose because of pathetic reffing. God, I sound and feel like a Pens fan whining about the refs, but they absolutely screwed us over tonight.

Didn't help that Schultz was horrible in this game. He has been great but tonight he was the Schultz of last year. BMo is in a serious slump right now. Brooksie was in one and snapped out of it in the Flyers game, I really hope BMo can snap out of it. Where was Semin tonight? (Not hating, but he did nothing tonight)

Posted by: rachel216 | February 10, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Cant blame the refs for this one. Caps got away with several calls and were awarded th power play late. I thought that the calls eventually evened out, but i would still like to hear a league explanation on the Ovi goal, which likely would have made a difference in the game

Posted by: arcassells | February 10, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

@info_stuporhighway - thanks for sharing the info. about Gabby's comments. In other words the refs reasoning is complete BS. Since when did the goalie's ability to play the puck ever become a part of the discussion. There's traffic in front of the net all the time and as Ovie hit Gill the puck was already on it's way into Price and when they land - the puck goes in. BS - if that's their ruling then they should've been on the headset to the war room in Toronto. Never heard that made up crap before. Again these refs are a joke and should be demoted. A HORRIBLE display of judgement. Farce farce farce. Hey just sayin. :)

Time for Ottawa. :) Drop the puck aready.

Posted by: Jonathan6 | February 10, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

P.S. - anybody willing to bet if one of the Canadiens players knocked our d-man into Theo and the puck went in that they would've gathered together - discussed dinner plans - then overturned the call???? I don't think so. :) Hey I'm blowing off steam here - cut me some slack.

Posted by: Jonathan6 | February 10, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

so any official word on Neuvy?

Posted by: joek443 | February 10, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Yeah yeah yeah, we got away with several calls, but they TOOK a goal away from us.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 10, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

anyone notice the Post pulled the latest Mike Wise trash article?

Posted by: daddy_axe | February 10, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Way to go Brooks! Keep playing hard. Nice streak for the boys! Chin's up...be proud...bring it tomorrow night!

Posted by: BGSU91 | February 10, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Can't win 'em all. I am just SO glad we didn't end the streak against Pittsburgh!

Posted by: butcherbaker | February 10, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

anyone notice the post pulled the latest wise article?

Posted by: daddy_axe | February 10, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

rachel: Semin made a great steal to set up the first goal.

I chalk it up to the way the cookie crumbles, or the way the cards play, or the dice show, or whatever you want to call it. Some of our close wins had a lot of post shots by the other team. There's always subjectivity in the officiating. Someone said our team should be concerned, we could play the Habs 1st Round, whatever, except that Habs were very lucky to win and would be lucky to get 2 wins in a series. Even with Cammalleri back, Habs aren't that tough.

Most here agree the Caps need to toughen up the overall team D. I put on the other thread and then BB said himself, 15 goals in 3 games. Never acceptable. McPhee will addres. Plus, the rest will help.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 10, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

I would think if a goal is called as such by a referee, then it should only be overturned in Toronto. Also, how can it be goalie interference if no penalty is called?

Posted by: kcbrichmond | February 10, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Even if the goal was allowed, it would have been 5-5 (as we wouldn't have pulled the goalie and played for the tie). This was a bad game, nothing more and nothing less. Despite that, we got a point. There are still 20 plus games to go and we are in good shape.
I see GMGM making a move or two before March 3rd.

Posted by: TimDz | February 10, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Wise was trying to be funny in that article. I don't think he pulled it off, and when I was listening to his radio show today, he seemed to realize that (he sure got enough nasty comments about it). He admits that he doesn't know a lot about the subtleties of hockey yet but enjoys the game and the way the Caps play it, and everyone has to start somewhere. Give him a break!

Posted by: wocoliz | February 10, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

One more thing:

Absolutely, positively, Varly goes in goal tomorrow night.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 10, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Okay, the OV disallowed goal cannot be reviewed upstairs. Whether a goalie is interfered with or not is up to the refs, and is not a reviewable play.

I agree that it was a blown call, but I wanted to clear that up, as about 15 people have asked why it wasn't reviewed.

Posted by: Aldred15 | February 10, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

None of our defensemen played their best game tonight. On the last goal, Schultz had to take and play the man or at least his stick after the drop pass. He didn't, and it cost an OT goal. That having been said, at the beginning of the streak, we had a number of games in which the forwards backchecked, played D in our zone, controlled the gaps, took pressure off the defensemen, and used their defense to transition to offense. We were explosive. The forwards stopped doing that and have tried to play run and gun for five or six games now. I hope this reminds us that team defense got the streak going, and can bring home the Cup.

Posted by: FredG1 | February 10, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Wait what? I'm confused. Why couldn't they review it upstairs when they initially called it a good goal?

Posted by: rachel216 | February 10, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

If we get just marginally better in our own zone, it will make a world of difference.

I think cstanton has some great takes on things but I disagree with him that our forwards are the root cause behind our difficulties in our own zone. I also don't think it's due to Boudreau's system.

There are at least three skills defensemen need to effectively handle aggressive forechecks and kill off penalties: speed, grit and good decision-making with the puck. Each defenseman doesn't need to be elite in all three areas but they should be strong in at least two.

Most of our defensemen our relatively slow compared to the average NHL defenseman. That makes it easy for forechecking forwards to get in behind them on the forecheck and it makes it difficult for them to move their feet and stay with their man.

Most of our defensemen struggle in one-on-one battles along the boards and have difficulty using grit and physical play to knock opposing forwards off the puck. Some of them also get knocked off the puck too easily when they do get possession.

Finally, our defensemen too often struggle making good, quick decisions with the puck or making good, clean first passes or carrying the puck out of the zone. Even our best puck mover, Green, makes too many bad plays trying to move the puck along the boards or trying to make a first pass out of the zone.

Bascially, I see us as too vulnerable to aggressive forechecks because of our inability to get to enough pucks first, win enough individual battles and make enough good, quick decisions with the puck. The deficiency of these same skills also hurt us on the penalty kill.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 10, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the explanation, aldred15. I'm still learning too!

Posted by: wocoliz | February 10, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Our forwards and our system may also play into some of these issues but I see it mostly stemming from the inabilities of our defensemen, collectively. Even when the opposing team does not have a numbers advantage, we still struggle to win pucks and get out of our zone.

I think a couple of people have hit on what we need to do help shore up these weaknesses. I think at least one change on the backend is a necessity. I don't think we simply need a gritty, stay-at-home defenseman. Those are fine skills but I think I'd sacrifice a little grit to get another speedy, puck mover that can get to more pucks first and skate it out of our zone or make good, smart first passes. Ideally, he'll have enough grit to win battles along the board as well but he doesn't need to be overly physical if he brings those other skills.

I think upgrading our 2nd line our 3rd line center could also help the cause, especially with Morrison's struggles but I wouldn't mind two defensemen that bring some combination of upgraded speed, skill and grit to the backend. If nothing else, I hope McPhee brings in at least one signficant upgrade on the backend.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 10, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

rachel216: Only certain things can be reviewed (like if the puck is kicked, if it crossed the line, etc.). In this case, it is not a reviewable play as it is the ref's discretion and if a ref is deemed by the others as having made a bad call they talk it over and the call is over-ruled on the ice (as we saw happen). It is like in football when a flag is thrown, the refs talk it over, and the person who threw the flag is over-ruled. Again, I don't agree with the call at all; it's just the rules.

Posted by: Aldred15 | February 10, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Wise jinxed them with his crap column today....

Posted by: chombie13 | February 10, 2010 10:46 PM

anyone notice the post pulled the latest wise article?

Posted by: daddy_axe | February 10, 2010 11:02 PM

Well I should hope so. That was the worst piece of hockey writing I've ever seen. Jackass Wise. Total jinx.

Posted by: kevbnyc | February 10, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

We lost! We're doomed! It's time to jump off the Caps bandwagon and get behind a real potential winning team. I think I'll support the Nationa..., wait a minute the Redsk...., wait a minute the Wizar...Oh no, we're doomed.

And an extra layer of sarcasm on that post. It is only one game. Let it go. So we are mere mortals. The best mortals in the NHL but still human.

Posted by: AADCDERM | February 10, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

The Caps have arrived at a loss. Savor it. Enjoy it.

Posted by: jjlust | February 10, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Another thought that's been touched on and I have been thinking for a few games, but haven't mentioned because the team has found ways to win:

Has anyone else noticed that the Caps give up lots of goals in consecutive games? They will play 8 or 9 games of shut down defence, then suddenly give up 15 goals in 4 games (or 17 in 4, as the past games have shown). In the playoffs, should this happen, the end result will be a blown series. If this many goals are given up in this many consecutive games it will be too much for even the Caps if the opposition is playing tight, playoff hockey.

As such, the time has come to consider another defenceman even more seriously. Someone who is a proven top 4 player and will battle every night. It would make me sick to the team lose in the ECF because they lost each game 5-4.

Posted by: Aldred15 | February 10, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

That MAKE UP PENALTY call after they waived off Ovechkin's Goal. That is REALLY ANNOYING... Why would you give a make up call on a disallowed goal that the four of you gathered to discuss?? So stupid.

Is Semin only gonna score during game that are MEANINGLESS??? he is more liable then helpful during really meaningful games. so many turnovers and penalties. He needs to really mature in the way he plays.

Our defense runs circles in our own zone. geeez... they really need to play better. 5, 4, 6 goals allowed the last 3 games. i mean, how many come backs can a team have? this ain't basketball where they score in the 100's. this is hockey where u might not score again for a long time. hats off to the caps for finding ways to score. but their D is not gonna get it done in the playoffs...

I hate to say this cause it might come back to bite in the butt. but pacakge one o the goalies AND semin for so D help. that guy up in CHI is really good... but i doubt they will part...

Posted by: doeshin | February 10, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

@jonathan15: it seemed as if Gabby did not believe what the refs were telling him, as different waves of reporters asked him the same question and he was pressed to recall what he had just said. I'd chalk some of it to being disappointed, but some of it to the message from the refs not sticking.

Why no stick? Not important, or not plausible? HMMM.

@aldred15: the more I think about the trade route, the more I think I would be disappointed in GMGM if he sacrificed a lot of assets for a rental player. Another thing that - some blogger, I forget whom - pointed out is that in the post-lockout era, those stay-home D bonecrushers like Scott Stevens no longer exist.

Someone more enlightened (ie. most of you) can clue me in here, but it made sense to me.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | February 10, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Captious, cross, contrary. This seems to describe the Caps personality. Praise or critique they'll prove you wrong in a good way, for the most part. The first loss in the span of a month, and I can't help thinking I specifically forgot to mention Laich in the the group of Caps in the top 60 goal scorers or potentials. Mentioning Green, Fehr, and Fleischmann. While the obvious impact of Knuble cleaning up Laich was the forgotten man. Some of the same dirty, hard nosed goals that Laich picked up in the past Knuble was showing a high proficiency scoring. The way it was going it was easy to put your money on Knuble picking up the hat trick. But right when my mental RAM is maxed out on the large group of overachievers Laich's pronounced jaw line juts out. (He played in Moose Jaw back in the day didn't he?)

Too bad the streak ended. But how many months could I ask for? Still a couple games more, an entire Olympic break to pause while on a winning streak. They could have lost bad in the first game back and... you know. But they fought hard, another strong come back. Three goals down, tying it only to lose it with 7 seconds left in OT. Montreal skated hard and played tough defense. Much like the Pens. They really were gunning for the Caps. But I'm left to ponder how the next FEW games would have covered most of the next month.

Laich's hat trick helps vault him to 34th in goals only one goal back of Knuble (and Malkin) at 25th. The streak though gone also leave with Ove #1 and Semin and Backstrom tied at #9. Pretty cool to see 3 Caps in the top ten. But that Knuble 25th, Laich 34th with 21 and 20 goals respectively shows how the Caps have very nearly 5 in the top 30 with 30 teams. And Laich was tied with Fleishmann before the game. Flash had 4 shots with out a goal and I believe it dropped him below 20% in shooting percentage for the first time possibly all season (he was up near 1/3 chance of scoring when he shot). Him Green and Fehr are within reach but Morrison may pull a Laich out of his hat. Whose to say the sick numbers if they finish strong.

Posted by: chavez66 | February 10, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

@elicea & TominFla

I doubt that Varly is in shape to be in goal tomorrow. Or at least that was the impression I got.

Will Neuvy even be eligible to play down at Hershey during Olympic break? Or did we lose that opportunity by bringing him back for Friday's game and keeping him ever since.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 10, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

@CapsFan: TEB reported that the rule was a player could not appear in five of the remaining 15 games leading up to the break. So Neuvi, John Carlson, and Karl Alzner should all be in the clear.

I think.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | February 10, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

@ CapsFan75

BB has already said that Varly won't play tomorrow and left saturday open as a possibility for him to come back.

Neuvy has to be sent tomorrow before the game to be eligible to play during the break

Posted by: joek443 | February 10, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75

I think BB is more worried about Varly's 'rustiness'. He's faced AHL shooters, but NHL shooters are a level higher. Maybe it will be better if he starts Sunday-get a little more practice time before suiting up. That said, I'm an impatient person and I want him back out on the ice. (:

I thought Neuvy was able to get the amount of games he needed to play, to be eligible?

Posted by: elicea | February 10, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Well I guess the Neuvy question has been answered. Thanks joek. And BB could change his mind about Varly...

Posted by: elicea | February 10, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Totally my bad: here's the link from TEB.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitalsinsider/karl-alzner-recalled-from-hers.html

So the deal is they have to MISS 16 or more of the team's final 20 before the break.

Wow, did I ever whiff on that one. Apologies. Still a little drunk from the postgame.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | February 10, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Do we know for certain that Neuvirth was pulled due to injury? Could it be possible (hang in here with me folks) that he is currently a key part of a trade that McPhee is close to pulling the trigger on and that he was pulled because the Caps cannot afford for him to be injured? I have been wondering why the Caps would bring three goalies on this road trip. It makes no sense ... unless the Caps management was thinking that one of the three might be moved at some point during the trip. Just a possible alternative as to why Neuvy was pulled at such a strange point during tonight's game.

Posted by: coveredwithhisdust | February 10, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

From Tarik's twitter:

Neuvirth has a "minor" injury, but could play tomorrow if called upon, according to Boudreau.
35 minutes ago from web
-----
Also he said that Tom Poti, who missed some shifts in the third, is uncertain fro tomorrow's game.

Posted by: elicea | February 10, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

@ elicea

BB could certainly change his mind and I'm hoping that he does... if Varly has no health issue, he should be playing.

he's not gonna get rid of the rustiness sitting on the bench

Posted by: joek443 | February 10, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the clarification on Neuvy's health. There goes my "trade in the works" theory.

Posted by: coveredwithhisdust | February 10, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

everyone is talking about where was semin?
He played a crucial role in the caps first goal

Posted by: mbgski1 | February 10, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Is Semin only gonna score during game that are MEANINGLESS??? he is more liable then helpful during really meaningful games. so many turnovers and penalties. He needs to really mature in the way he plays.

Posted by: doeshin | February 10, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse
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How was today anymore meaningful than any other regular season game? I don't disagree that Semin can be frustrating, but he wasn't the only one who had a bad night.

Posted by: elicea | February 10, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Screamed at the TV (and woke up kids) when they tied it up, bummed at OT goal, but in retrospect not so upset at loss--at least it happened on road (not at home vs Pittsburgh) and after a stupendous comeback, not a total dud blowout; frustrating, of course, to be so close to total record-breaking greatness and not get there, but might as well refocus on the real prize--in June, not February.

Posted by: jhershb | February 10, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Wonder if I was watching Tarik's hand while watching the postgamer. (Probably, right, but there were a bunch of microphones and iPhones.)

If I recall this correctly, BB said that Neuvi told him directly he wasn't feeling right, and with three goalies aboard there wasn't a good reason to risk anything. He said Poti was "day-to-day" but did not elaborate on the nature of Poti's injury.

I wouldn't worry about Varly. Whatever rust he has will likely get removed during Russian team practice. I'm slightly more concerned about dudes parking themselves on a Caribbean island and not doing anything for two weeks. (Although, really, not so much. These guys are professionals.)

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | February 10, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

@mbgski1

Yes, Semin did play a crucial role in the first Caps goal. Granted he's had better nights than tonight but he wasn't a total liability.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 10, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Semin? I thought BMo was the new whipping boy on the team...

Posted by: joek443 | February 10, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

By the way: jaw-dropping 2nd goal. Was it me, or did the guys look like they were playing basketball?

Except on skates and pads and you have to touch the ball with a 5 ft. long piece of wood.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | February 10, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

On the playing in Hershey:

Alzner and Carlson are in the clear

I still have my doubts that Neuvy is in the clear (and the posts here on the subject are contradictory).

Because of Varly's not quite ready for prime time, we can't really afford to send Neuvirth down.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 11, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

@joek443

B Mo has certainly been criticized a lot lately.

At one point, it seemed that Sloan was the whipping boy.

Now, it's back to being Semin (although I've seen all kinds of criticism of Schultz' play today on Japers).

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 11, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

I just want to thank the Caps for such an exciting streak. I know this is not the big prize, and nowhere near as exciting as it would be to win the big prize in June--but this is definitely something to be proud of as a Caps fan and I definitely hold my head up high for this great run!

I am soooo happy that this streak was not ended by a certain flightless team the other day. And I am happy that this team still fought back to the very end.

Congrats to Laich on his 1st NHL hat trick....I am sure he would have rather have gotten the win, but he really did give it his all out there tonight! And hey, Caps still got a point in the standings!

Go Caps!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | February 11, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

@The_Stanley_Caps

I am also glad the streak wasn't broke against the Pens. I hate to see what the media (and Pens fans) would have said.

Maybe there'll be a little less pressure since there's no longer a streak to maintain.

Win the next two games and end on a good note before the break.

Also, NJ and Buffalo are very close to being knocked out of first place in their divisions.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 11, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

@capsfan: I agree, the rule concerning Neuvirth is confusing to a guy like me. Best I can figure is that the Caps' last 20 games to the break start with Jan. 7th. Since then, Neuvirth has only been the goalie of record 5 times: 2/5, 1/29, 1/27, 1/23, and 1/9.

This makes it sound like utter BS that Gabby pulled him for an "injury." Had he been the goalie of record, that would have made 6 games for him as such. And possibly - since I'm speculating - ineligible to play for Hershey during the break.

So, Michal, hope that whatever-you-have feels better soon! GO CAPS!

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | February 11, 2010 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Schultz was brutal tonight. The OT goal was 100% on him. How you turn your back to the puck and follow a guy to the crease without tying up his stick or something is beyond me.

Any word why Neuvy was pulled?

Posted by: pokerface1208 | February 11, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Simply put, the Caps need to get faster, tougher and more skilled on the backend. I'm not pointing at any individuals but rather our defense as a whole.

No team is perfect but our defense is too much of a weakness at this point. And I do think it's the defensemen more than the forwards or Boudreau's system.

Remember, we barely beat the Rangers in the first round last year. They hurt us with their speed, physical play and forechecking/backchecking as much as goaltending or anything else.

One way or the other, we need to improve our ability to respond effectively too fast, aggressive forechecks. As it is, we too often crumble under such pressure.

We also have to improve our penalty killing but I think it's very possible that the solution to the previously mentioned issues will also be the solution to this issue. We need defensemen that can get to pucks first (speed), win board/puck battles (grit/toughness) and make good, quick decisions with the puck in order to get it out of our own end more consistently and effectively (skill).

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 11, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse

@capsfan75

I hope you are right and that the pressure being off can be a good thing.

In all honesty, it would be human nature if these player did have a bit of a letdown after such a run....however, I think that perhaps we do have enough talent and fire power to really not have too much of a letdown (not by most team standards anyway).

Whatever happens in the next two games, I for one am glad the team will get a bit of a breather for the Olympic break. The majority of the team will be around for some good practices, they will get some much needed rest and recuperation...and I think they will have some time to really let this streak set in...that may be valuable. The seasons are generally played at such an intense pace, this year it has been made even more intense...teams and players never have the time to sit and reflect on certain moments in the season til after the season/playoffs. Having time to let this streak set in, relishing in the emotions that this streak brought, thinking about all the little things they did (more particularly during the first 8 or so games of the streak)...I don't know, I think that is a great thing to bring into the break. Now they will come back with 20 games till playoff time, and they can focus on the great things that made this streak happen...

I have no idea if I am getting my point/thoughts across very well, but, I don't know...they played hungry hockey during this streak, and I think that having the two weeks to sit back and enjoy their accomplishment before continuing their season can make them only that much hungrier.

On to even better things!

Go Caps!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | February 11, 2010 12:47 AM | Report abuse

elicea

Tonight was more meanginful because we were down 3 goals, and trying to go for 15 in a row. he scores in games where we blow other teams out. but he is invisible when we are down and fighting or are in a tight game.

Also, I say trade him because i think other teams will be REALLY interested in Semin. We might get an upgrade on the defense. how many alex's from russia do u need if one o them is gonna turn the puck over in crucial moments and take a penalty each and every game... I know u prolly can't have too much offense, but i think all the good he brings, he brings just as many bads... trade him for a high profile D man.

Posted by: doeshin | February 11, 2010 1:20 AM | Report abuse

Congrats, doeshin, for sharing your past experience as a hockey coach and your adept skills at assessing the needs of our Capitals. If it weren't for you, we wouldn't realize what a horrible mistake it would be to keep two Alex's on the team. I mean, apart from the hassle of having to clarify which of the Alex's we want to talk to every time we holler "Alex, I'd like to speak with you" in the crowded locker room. Phew. Good riddance to Alex Semin. Now, while we're at it, let's get rid of that new Morrison guy. We already have a Morrisonn. Let's replace it with a Banjo Hoffstetter or Dreeling Mangum on the team to avoid the confusions with these multiple Alex's and Morrisons. *rolls eyes*

Alex Semin stays, dude. Stop being such a Crosby about it.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 11, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

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