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Devils 3, Caps 2 (SO)

Jose Theodore was occasionally spectacular in net tonight. The rest of his team? Well, they had occasional struggles against the Devils, who dealt the Caps their fourth straight defeat, 3-2.

I outline all of those struggles in my game story, which can be found here.

Here's a postgame wrap-up video:

A few other notes from tonight's game:

*The latest on defenseman John Erskine is that he suffered an upper body injury in the second period and is day-to-day.

*Mike Green said he was relieved to get his first goal of the season after tallying 31 last season. (It was also his 24th birthday.)

"To be honest with you, yeah," he said when asked if it felt like a burden had been lifted. "Obviously, there are expectations for me to produce for some reason as a defenseman. I finally feel comfortable, and tonight I felt like that."

Green also had the LOL moment of the night late in the second period, when he raised both arms in celebration of his second goal. Except one thing: Marty Brodeur made the save.

*Alex Ovechkin, playing on a line with Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Knuble, registered assists on both of the Caps' goals. It was Ovechkin's fourth multi-point game of the season.

The Ovechin-Backstrom-Knuble line clicked for sure. But considering Coach Bruce Boudreau's comments afterward, it will be interesting to see how long the trio stays together. Dropping Alexander Semin seemed to mess up the chemistry on the second line.

*It was a good news/bad news night on special teams. The PK killed off five shorthanded situations, including a 4-on-3 in OT. But the PP went 0-for-5, even with a 53 second two-man advantage in the third period.

*Boyd Gordon was in the box late in the third period again tonight. He's been whistled for four minor penalties this season, second on the team to Green. Gordon took eight all of last season.

*The Caps fell to 16-27 all-time in games decided by the shootout.

*Practice is at 11 a.m. tomorrow.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  October 12, 2009; 11:49 PM ET
 
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Next: Morning Roundup: Caps Come Up Short

Comments

Tough loss. We will bounce back thursday!

Posted by: broud0 | October 13, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Tough loss. We will bounce back thursday!

Posted by: broud0 | October 13, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

@CapsSkins (from previous thread)

At least the Caps have played all tough teams this year, except Toronto. The Redskins have a losing records against all bad teams. So, that's the consolation.

I just don't want to see them get in too big of a hole and have to win every game to squeak into the playoffs like the 2007-2008 season.

Yes, I'm upset. I haven't conceded the division or the playoffs yet. Maybe the conference. (Or, then again, maybe when playoff time rolls around, someone will take us too lightly as an opponent and we dump them and surprise everyone.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 13, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

If any opponent should take us lightly, the Sharks would be the perfect candidate to do so.

We are definitely the underdogs for that game. The Caps do better when they are the underdogs.

Go Caps.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 13, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

I know the Devils like to play back a bit and trap at the blue line, but I saw alot of dump and chase today and not enough controlling of the puck. I even saw them dump and chase with a 5 on 3. Caps are playing a bit tentative and unsure.

Theo had a monster game. Glad to see him in good form.

Why does this team the last 4 games have 3rd period meltdowns? Is it conditioning? Lack of focus?

Posted by: cirrus_nine | October 13, 2009 12:46 AM | Report abuse

As i said in the last post that knuble and green need to show up,well they did,but the rest of the team didnt.caps are never gonna win if they dont get 100% from EVERYONE! once they find out how to win as a team they will be unstoppable.GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: gratefuldid | October 13, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

At least we aren't the Flames blowing a five goal lead.

Posted by: icehammer97 | October 13, 2009 1:14 AM | Report abuse

At least we aren't the Flames blowing a five goal lead.

Posted by: icehammer97 | October 13, 2009 1:14 AM

Wow. I remember switching to versus during a commercial right after the goal that made it 5-0 and hearing the versus caster say "Chicago has a potent offense, so they should just chip away at this lead. Don't go anywhere yet."

I LOLed at the time, mostly at vs for picking the wrong game to feature. Now I'm LOLing because they probably lost most of their viewers when the game got lopsided over a span of five minutes in the first period.

Posted by: Raber | October 13, 2009 2:04 AM | Report abuse

Boudreau = Therrien

Too bad without a real GM, the Caps will fail to achieve potential.

Ted - Money hungry sellout

Posted by: Cheef | October 13, 2009 2:42 AM | Report abuse

Ummm wouldn't a bad owner and gm be one that wasn't money hungry?

Posted by: trunkenmath | October 13, 2009 3:21 AM | Report abuse

I see -- a certain troll is back.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 13, 2009 6:38 AM | Report abuse

When the game was 2-0 and 2-1 f'in Brodeur made huge saves to keep the Devils in it too. The save he made on Green was a save of the night candidate. Sometimes you just lose because a hall of famer does what he has done his entire career. Make saves at key times and gives his defensive minded team a chance to win.

Posted by: fanohock1 | October 13, 2009 7:20 AM | Report abuse

1st period was great, 2nd period not so great. Then it went downhill fast with Al Koken's interview of some Howdy Doody look-alike radio guy from Hershey - man, keep him up there! The Morrison(n)s get spun in circles in the 3rd period and Gordon finds bad luck for the 4th time. To top it all off - we can't score in a shoot out! better days have to be coming.

Posted by: rockdaredlangely | October 13, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

The Verizon center crowd, probably consisting of about 5,000 that wouldn't have been anywhere near Verizon two years ago at this time, is taking the fun out of going to games. They critique EVERY aspect of the game, every pass, every shot, every check, EVERYTHING.

My sons (19 and 17) were joking around on the way out of the stadium as a way with dealing with our disappointment. We thought, too bad Greenie, Semin, and a few other Capitals can't spend a day standing behind some arrogant boo-er while they are at the office today. When they blow a sales call they would heckle them. When they back-space they heckle them. When they fail to meet a deadline they heckle them. They would have a right to do that because they are paid to do those things 100 percent right 100 percent of the time...right?

Again, my sons and I were disappointed, not mad. I didn't see one player not giving it their all. When the Devils scored the tying goal I saw exhausted Capitals, more discouraged than any fan, laying on the ice because they worked their tails off trying to get the puck out of the zone. I saw Poti laboring to get off the ice on the 4 on 3. To claim these guys are not good enough, or do work hard and compete, is rediculous and now tiresome. Yes, the Caps are 2-2-2 and have lost 4 in a row. All 4 by 1 goal. I'm not happy that the Caps are not on the winning end of those games, but I'm not goofy enough to claim it is because they are not talented and/or don't try.

Posted by: fanohock1 | October 13, 2009 7:31 AM | Report abuse

the body language from Semin last night looked like he was pouting since he was moved off Ovi's and Nicky's line...There is no I in team boys! Theo had a damn good game he definately is gonna make it tough to move him to the #2 guy. no panic they Will find their MOJO, they need to play both ends for a full 60, cut the George Allen mentality of getting a lead and try to protect it!!!!!play WFO every shift and you will get rewarded! LETS GO CAPS!!!!! c u all @ VC thursday nite.. Ps. not bashing Semin just want him to pick it up on the 2nd line, has the potential and the skys the limit C'mon Sasha!!!!!!!

Posted by: bigBinMd | October 13, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

@cirrus_nine, first we complain that Ovi and Semin and others try to stick handle too much around people and end up giving the puck away. Now people are complaining that we're spending too much time dumping and chasing.

Dumping and chasing works great when you have a forecheck. We don't have one. But I was glad to see Ovi dump the puck in last night instead of trying something risky.

Posted by: dfe1 | October 13, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Hasn't ANYONE on this blog noticed something?

JOHN ERSKINE WENT DOWN IN THE 2nd FRAME LAST NIGHT.

YOU try playing a top notch team with only 5 D running. Erskine's upper body injury - which he got saving a goal - left us short-handed on the blue line for the rest of the game. No wonder the guys were exhausted. And they still A) got a point, and B) took it to a shootout.

Go CAPS!

Posted by: irockthered | October 13, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

fanohock1:

I like to read your posts because they tend to be honest and tactful. Your complaints, however, about the crowd I just don't agree with at all. I'm in 431 and yes, we have a few people who really like to heckle some of the players, especially 55 and 3, but seriously, it's a professional sports team that is quickly developing/reigniting a passionate fan base. People critiqe because they care. They boo because they spend a lot of money on tickets, food, beer, parking/metro whatever and then have to watch as players like Brooks Laich and Chris Clark lose every single battle along the boards. I love the way those two "grind" in some games but I find myself getting mad as I count the number of times 21 and 17 lose a board battle or make a bad play on the puck.

Seriously on Thursday count how many times each of them loses the puck or a board battle.

I like this team as much as anyone, bleed red, blah blah blah seen them since I was a kid in the 80's blah blah but by now I expect more than poor defense and countless whiffs and missed shots from our highest paid players. HOW MANY TIMES DID SEMIN WHIFF! I cheer when they do well, I boo when they play way below their talent level. It's just they way it is. Pay me millions and then show up to my work and boo me all you want.

Posted by: skinzfan4 | October 13, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

i gotta say @bigbinmd i disagree with what you said about semin. half the team, including sasha, looked tentative and nervous. ovie included! the only one bulletproof at the moment is nicklas backstrom, but he's like a cucumber- we know how collected he is! tentative, timid players are what you get when you yell at people- they don't feel confident in themselves and they don't take risks because they don't want to get yelled at again. i'm not saying you have to coddle them- what i am saying is that screaming at people and threatening them is not the way to go.

it's not like the caps get up in the morning and say we're going to go out and disappoint 18,000 people this evening, because we like to make them miserable. so, don't pretend they are off their game because they are sulking. that's absurd.

i am all for fanhock1's suggestion of letting our players go heckle these booing spectators at their jobs, see how well they can work after that. great idea!! in fact, i'll help!

Posted by: spinner-33 | October 13, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

That's fine skinzfan4, you can disagree, I don't mind at all. Still doesn't take away the fact that it is taking the fun out of it for me. I spend a lot of money too, have 4 season tickets, pay for parking, so on and so on. For some fans a player missing a pass ruins their experience. For me, the fan that complains about everything ruins my experience. BTW way I hear the bonehead in 431 that just waits for Green to make a mistake. I am in 430.

Posted by: fanohock1 | October 13, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

I like this team as much as anyone, bleed red, blah blah blah seen them since I was a kid in the 80's blah blah but by now I expect more than poor defense and countless whiffs and missed shots from our highest paid players. HOW MANY TIMES DID SEMIN WHIFF! I cheer when they do well, I boo when they play way below their talent level. It's just they way it is. Pay me millions and then show up to my work and boo me all you want.

Posted by: skinzfan4 | October 13, 2009 7:51 AM |

I was there last night and I thought the crowd was very supportive...You're always going to get some boos when people, who pay A LOT of $$$$$, continue to see these millionare players underachieve. I too was very disappointed with another loss but I'm hoping that they can correct the problems. Let's Go Caps !

Posted by: JCB9 | October 13, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, but Green was still sub par last night. Nice goal, but he needs to step up on the back end (same old story). It was just more of the same last night. More of Green turning over the puck and making stupid plays. What the hell was he thinking when he dumped the puck on a 5 on 3??? Seriously. His biggest accomplishment last night was no penalties.

People need to stop knocking Theo for the last few losses. He's basically playing by himself out there. I was his biggest critic last here, but have found sympathy this year. He has stepped up his game (minus the two ranger goals), but has no support in front of him. We CANT let players just stand in front of the net (cough...Erskine...cough).

Posted by: JD09 | October 13, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Y'all are going way crazy.

Erskine went down.

The team went down because they were short a defenseman.

FATIGUE will do that to a team.

They played very well, I thought, otherwise.

Posted by: irockthered | October 13, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Oh No!! The Caps have lost four one goal games (two in OT/SO) to playoff teams from last year!!! OH NO!! The Caps have 1 less point than they had after 6 games last year and they only had 108 points last year!!! OH NO!! Boudreau SUCKS!! GM SUCKS!!! OH NO!! They will never win again even when they have all 6 dmen playing.......OH NO!!! Varly=Carrey 2.0 OH NOO!! Its October OH NOOOOOO.....

Posted by: ChickenLittleCapsFan | October 13, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

@ChickenLittleCapsFan

A win in October is just as important as a win in February. Any team would tell you that they would rather rack up points now, rather than play catch up right before the playoffs.

Plus, a team with our talent should not be giving up four losses in a row. That's scary at any point in the season. Our team isn't that different from last year, so we shouldn't need that much time to build.

This is ridiculous. BB has shown the same frustration.

Posted by: JD09 | October 13, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

@ChickenLittleCapsFan...I love it!! That was aswesome!! :) Let's Go CAPS!!!

Posted by: maryjane2 | October 13, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

The post of the day goes to...ChickenLittleCapsFan!!! Let's Go Caps!!!

Posted by: fanohock1 | October 13, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Semin is now pouting? Couldn't find any other thing to blame him? Maybe Knuble's untimely penalty in OT? or one of the goals? I think it is Semin's fault we lost the game.

And did anyone catch how much improved the offense was with the switch of Semin and Knuble? Great move. Destroy the most potent line in the league, one that can last for years, with a 37 year old at the end of his career. LOL.

Posted by: hock1 | October 13, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

It's funny how everyone has been poking fun a Varly for all the high glove side goals he's been giving up so far this year. I don't know about you guys(and girls) but I'd rather see that then the softys Theo has been giving up between his legs. That's what the stick is for, keep it on the ice!

Posted by: ludeman95 | October 13, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Hey "Chicken Little" while youre checking Caps history, how about going back a few years to 01, 02, see how with all that talent(Jagr,Lang etc) the Caps were getting off to a bad start and KEPT stinking up the joint both seasons. And i recall smart aleck guys like you saying the same stuff (dont panic, sky isnt falling, nyuk nyuK nyuk) back then too. If the caps cant do simple stuff like score on 5on3s or actually play a decent FORECHECK when exactly should we be concerned- December? February?
On the booing- this seems to be a never-ending topic on the caps message boards. My two cents- you should never boo when a player is hustling, doing his best, but as a previous letter pointed out, we pay often hundreds of dollars to go to these games, to watch players who make millions- is it really too much to ask that on power plays, they actually SKATE? Or when the other team gets an odd mabn rush that some of the forwards go back and help?
Finally- heres a lil antecdote- back in the bad old days, the caps were playing a wretchedly lazy game, no effort, at one point I counted the caps players to see if we were on the PK- nope! They basically wanted to just stand around. At THAT point the announcer roars. "Hey Caps fans! MAKE SOME NOISE!" the place, all 12K of us responded as one! "BOOOOOOOOOO!"

Posted by: peabody2 | October 13, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

We look pretty average.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 13, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

dfe1: They were dumping the puck on a 5 on 3. That is uncalled for. The Caps have been a puck controlling team not a blue chipping dump and chase team.

I know Ovi got his shots off but in the last 4 games he seems to want to pass it more than shoot it when I wish he would just shoot it. I wonder if he is being affected by what people incorrectly say about him being a puck hog.

The Caps power play has very little movement lately. Not enough people moving to get into an open lane for a pass.

Posted by: cirrus_nine | October 13, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Peabody2.
Lighten up.

Chicken Little, you're my new best friend.

Posted by: MNMNT | October 13, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

OH NO!! The Caps are going to be just like the Jagr, Lang Caps of 8 years ago!! Oh NO they are going to trade OVIE to the Rangers for nobody!! OH NO!!! The past (especially 8 years ago before the lockout and salary cap and rules changes) are ALWAYS predictors of the future! OH NOOOOO...OH NO...Only Six months until the playoffs....No TIme to FIX THIS MESSSS....Abandon Ship.....

Posted by: ChickenLittleCapsFan | October 13, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

@ChickenLittleCapsFan

now you're just annoying.

Posted by: JD09 | October 13, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Oh No I'm annoying....I'll go hang with my friend ChickenLittleSkinsFan over at RI. He's got REAL problems...

Posted by: ChickenLittleCapsFan | October 13, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

JD09
You should have found sympathy for Theo last year instead of this just this year. I counted at least eight or nine home games last season where the team left him out to dry.

It's pretty entertaining to read these posts and even more so on the Facebook Caps fan page of all the people crying and freaking out, especially when they say Theo sucks and is calling for his head.

Posted by: MNMNT | October 13, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I know I was complaining about OV's D presence, now it looks like he has gone the other way. There were several reversals b the Devil's D that OV normally would come like a guided missle done the boards,out of position, and crush the D. It looks like they are all thinking too much and not just playing hockey.

You have good games and slide away from the team system and take it too far. You go back and work to get everyone on the same page and it swings the other way.

6 games in they will figure it out before the end of the season. Remember Semin played the 2nd line with either Nyls or FEds at center. Both European puck posession type of centers. Morrison is more of the North American dish to the wing and drive the backside post type of center. It may be a greater learning curve then last year for Sasha switching up the first 2 lines.

As for the team with Lang, Jags,etc., they did not want to play for Cassidy. Jags would not go back into a game because Cassidy took him off the power play in the 2nd period. Certain long time caps hated Jags and were stunned by the trade. That team was completely disfunctional. This group of caps is not disfunctional but still most of the talent is under 25. They need to learn how to win together and finish out games.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | October 13, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if Chicken Little was doing the same clucking back in April and May when the Nats got off to their horrific start ("Oh Nooo Cluck cluck this MEANS Nats will finish last! Sky is falling!")
Yo Chicky- news flash. Different sport, but ya, the sky WAS falling, Nats DID finish last something like 50 games out of first, and i guess we DID have reason to be concerned back in May.

Posted by: peabody2 | October 13, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

@MNMNT

I'm by no means saying it was his fault last year. The defense was just as bad then. I'm just saying that I've noticed he has stepped up his game.

I also read those threads on facebook last night and couldn't believe the ignorance and all the "Theo needs to go comments." It's not that simple. We have much more to work on. If our D can step up and protect Theo in front of the net, he will gain the confidence he needs. Right now, I'm sure he feels alone out there.

Posted by: JD09 | October 13, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Peabody2,
lighten up. have a sense of humor. you

JD09,
Yeah i also think he's settled in, when he came in, it was Johnson's team since he was here for a while and the team seemed to play more in front of him. and at 4.5M they were expecting him to be a miracle worker so maybe that's why they were more lax in front of him.. or just that the defense isn't mature enough. Who knows. That's just my speculation. I think people would give him less of a hard time if he was getting paid $2.5m instead for $4.5M

Made me wonder if the same thing happened to Kolzig with the on and off defense, but when him and Huet were swapping turns; that one game against Boston really showed how slow he had gotten.

Posted by: MNMNT | October 13, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I don't get the Theo needs to go comments. The man has done nothing but stand on his head every game this season and people are going to blame him for poor defensive and offensive plays?

Switch your viewpoint on the Gaborik goals and have OV score them on an opposing keeper. These boards would be alive with folks talking about how sick OV is.

Truth be told I have seen a much more disturbing trend in the offensive end, what is up with all of the no look backhands on the first line?

Posted by: rovingbandit | October 13, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Chris Pronger would look really good in a Caps uniform right now...so close yet so far - sigh.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 13, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

yeah. i was super surprised we didn't get a veteran defenseman and promote some wingers/centers from hershey.

Posted by: MNMNT | October 13, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

@Chris Pronger would look really good in a Caps uniform right now...so close yet so far - sigh.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 13, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Pronger has done nothing for Philly as far as helping keep the puck out of the net. He has been a big pylon so far, with a hugh hugh HUGH contract...Philly can have Pronger and his contract.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | October 13, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock1: AMEN!

@Chickenlittlecaps fan: LOL!

Posted by: dccitizen1 | October 13, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

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