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Posted at 10:57 PM ET, 12/ 6/2010

Capitals fall 5-4 in shootout to Toronto, lose Jeff Schultz for 4-6 weeks

By Katie Carrera

The Capitals can't seem to catch much luck when it comes to the health of their defensemen. The latest blow is that Jeff Schultz will miss the next four-to-six weeks with a fractured thumb, suffered late in the second period on the penalty kill when a shot by Toronto's Luke Schenn hit his hand.

It added extra insult to an ugly 5-4 shootout loss for Washington, which marked the third time this season the Capitals have given up three goals in the third period.

Schultz averaged 21 minutes and 26 seconds of ice time per game along with a team-high average of 3:30 while shorthanded each outing and has not missed any of the Capitals' 29 contests up to this point. This injury makes the recent addition of Scott Hannan even more valuable as it's likely that Washington will turn to the veteran shutdown defenseman to help shoulder some of the load.

Hannan played 23:15 against Toronto as the Capitals juggled defensive combinations, but everything evened out in terms of time on the ice as each blue-liner other than Schultz played at least 20 minutes Monday night.

John Erskine said Monday morning that he was healthy and if that is the case he should round out the Capitals' group of six defensemen as they move forward without Schultz. Tyler Sloan was placed on injured reserve and won't be available to return to the lineup until Sunday's contest against the New York Rangers at the earliest.

Some other notes from this loss to the Leafs:

--Alex Ovechkin tallied his 12th goal of the season and second in as many games after snapping a nine-game scoring drought that tied his career longest skid. His marker against Jonas Gustavsson was a particularly trademark move as Ovechkin took advantage of an unusually large cushion left in front of him by the Toronto defense as he skated down the left wing.

Ovechkin released a blistering shot from the top of the faceoff circle that Gustavsson had little chance to react to.

--The Capitals found the chances that Bruce Boudreau believed were missing in the Atlanta game on Saturday in abundance against the Maple Leafs in the first two periods. Washington drove to the net, followed up with second-chance opportunities and tried for deflections and traffic in front of Gustavsson.

Mathieu Perreault scored his first goal by heading toward the crease and turning to tip Tom Poti's shot from the point into the net. And Mike Knuble stuck with a shot that was blocked by a Toronto player in front of the net to reclaim the puck and fire it past Gustavsson glove side.

Those successes meant little by the time the shootout ended at Verizon Center though.

"I thought we dominated all areas of the game [in the first two periods]," Matt Hendricks said. "The physical areas, the goaltending was better than theirs, our scorers were better than theirs except a giant hiccup there in the third period there. To lose three in a row is tough we have to fight our way out of it.

"I wasn't feeling [the game] slipping away," Hendricks said. "We've got a team that can beat anybody, we should have done it tonight."

--Poti came back to the Washington lineup after missing the past two contests with a groin strain and tallied three assists for the first time since April 5, 2007 when he was a member of the New York Islanders in a game against the Maple Leafs.

--In his fourth game with the Capitals this season, Perreault notched the first two-goal game of his career and made his presence known from his first shift on. I'll have more about Perreault's strong game in tomorrow's morning roundup.

By Katie Carrera  | December 6, 2010; 10:57 PM ET
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin, Injuries, Jeff Schultz, Tom Poti, Toronto Maple Leafs  
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Next: Mathieu Perreault shines in loss to Leafs

Comments

well, just finished watching the game, what piece of sh*t that was. I'm sick of this sh*t. we have NO KILLER INSTINCT. i'm sorry, i know there's lots of time until the playoffs but this does not bode well for our team again.

i'm just so peeved right now. i'm shocked at the fact that we quit when the games' not done. it's funny cause joe b. was saying "would like to get that insurance goal" and we had a 2 goal lead at that time.

for anyone that was at verizon, please clean up after your dog because there's a big pile of crap on the ice.

Posted by: natresgroup | December 7, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

well said.

Posted by: pkme | December 7, 2010 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Didn't get a chance to watch the 3rd and I am glad I didn't. Only thing that makes that loss worse is losing Schultz for at least a month. He takes a lot of heat because when he does what he does right it doesn't seem like a big play and when he does make any mistake it looks big but over the next month everyone will see exactally what he does for this team and how much we will miss him not being there.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 7, 2010 1:06 AM | Report abuse

This organization should be ashamed of themselves.

Maybe flaming me would make things better.

I feel sorry for you Caps fans. This team hasn't changed much and can't seem to figure it out. It's only the regular season though right?

Posted by: BigGameSid | December 7, 2010 1:13 AM | Report abuse

Icehammer
Tell Vermon that. I agree with you.

Posted by: pkme | December 7, 2010 1:14 AM | Report abuse

BIggame sid

The Pens are on a roll right now. Crosby looks great. I am not a Crosby hater but you need to be more respectful on a Capitals board. The Caps are in a slump. The Pens were in a slump earlier in the season. Stop the hating and inciting.

Posted by: pkme | December 7, 2010 1:18 AM | Report abuse

@pkme

How am I not being respectful? I've never insulted any poster here when everyone else has insulted me, which is OK. Whatever makes them feel better.

I may bash and "hate" the Caps to you but everything I've said is more or less true about all their problems. The biggest problem is that the Caps org likes to paint a diff picture and hide the obvious deficiencies. Too many Caps fan are still believing that stuff and not enough are voicing out like I am.

Posted by: BigGameSid | December 7, 2010 1:24 AM | Report abuse

@biglamecindy

you really are a d-bag. you are saying nothing we haven't all talked about before. you're not "letting us in" on some type of secret about the flaws of our organization.

Now keep your russian hating buns off our board. you offer nothing to the discussion of OUR team. stay on your own board.

Posted by: natresgroup | December 7, 2010 1:46 AM | Report abuse

One final thought about DJK's beatdown, then off to bed. It's not about winning fights in the NHL, it's about showing up. The issue isn't that he lost and it deflated the team. On the contrary, Ovi busted-out shortly after and scored...4-1 game over, right? Wrong! Why? BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE ON THE TEAM FOLLOWED DJK'S LEAD. It's called heart (hear me, sgm3) and once again the chosen ones displayed none of it.

Posted by: vermontcaps | December 7, 2010 1:48 AM | Report abuse

The Caps were up 4-2 and I went to take the trash out. When I came back the game was tied. The Leafs have two key players out and are horrible. I guess that kind of sums up the Caps. Maybe I should have dumped the team with the trash. I guess all you Schultz haters will see how the Caps do without him. I guess they can't do any worse.

Posted by: chriscaps | December 7, 2010 1:55 AM | Report abuse

@icehammer97

The third period was horrible. I am so mad about it. I thought it would be a win for us but no. You picked a good period to miss (or is it all your fault we lost cause you missed third period. LOL)

Our top line had two goals against them in third period.

Our second line had one goal against.

I'm of the mind to bench our top forwards for the last 10 minutes of any game where we have a lead of any sort in third period and just cycle the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th lines to protect the lead. No more attempts to pad stats or make passes to teammates to pad stats.

I feel terrible about Schultz' injury. He'll be missed, contrary to what some people here think.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 7, 2010 2:03 AM | Report abuse

haha wow and these are Caps "fans" we go on a massive win streak last year and people are mad, we lose 3 in a row people are mad we win 2 games in a row but show no fight people are mad.

Well I love my Caps and I love that ovie, semin and yes even green have become more defensively aware. i love that ovie has more assits then goals. i love that semin is 3rd in the league in goals. i love that carlson is being a solid d man, i love that green is blocking shots and hitting bodies, i love that erskine and poti are scoring, i love that we got hannan, i love that a gritty guy like hendricks made the team, i love that neuvy and varly are splitting the #1 job....all in all. I love this team and everything it has changed from last season people say they haven't improved, they haven't changed....well i say to you...you will never be happy

C-A-P-S CAPS CAPS CAPS!!!!

Posted by: capsfan387 | December 7, 2010 2:26 AM | Report abuse

one more thing people keep questioning Ovie's captain abailities and saying he is not a leader, and that he needs to show up to morning skates (which btw anyone who actually goes to the skates would know just because they don't go on the ice doesnt mean they don't show up) and blah blah blah.

1) he has been setting up his teammates all season long, he's not trying to do it all by himself anymore.

2) he's been the first guy many times to defend his teammates when there is a minor scrum or a questionable hit (i.e. MarJo)

3)his stick tap to D.J king after he scored against toronto making sure his teammate knew his effort was well noted and appreciated.

Ovie is our Captain and he is doing great!

Posted by: capsfan387 | December 7, 2010 5:07 AM | Report abuse

@capsfan387, you make some really good points about some parts of the Caps' game that are great and/or improved this year.

It was disheartening, though, to watch them let a 4 to 1 lead evaporate in the 3rd period. I couldn't believe my eyes during the 3rd because they looked so solid in the 1st and 2nd.

@biglamecindy: I don't usually respond to trolls such as yourself, but don't act all innocent when you come on the board to taunt Caps fans after a disappointing game like last night. We can see right through your little charade.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | December 7, 2010 6:28 AM | Report abuse

The Caps might hold onto the President's Trophy. And they'll make the playoffs again. But I've seen nothing in the way they're playing that would suggest a different playoff result from last season.

Posted by: kbash33 | December 7, 2010 6:52 AM | Report abuse

I understand that the Caps have canceled practice for today. My question is -- why? If anything, they need more practice not less. Or is Bruce just so mad he doesn't want to see the guys? Would not surprise me.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 7, 2010 7:00 AM | Report abuse

@Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

Yes, it is so. I feel no hope for the Caps this season after last night's game. Blowing a commanding lead to Toronto in half of a period indeed! Toronto is a lousy team. And our first line was on the ice for two of those goals against.

Maybe they'll turn it around and wake up but then again, it's the Caps we're talking about.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 7, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

@dccitizen1

I couldn't believe my eyes that they blew such a big lead to Toronto and am more than a bit dishearted at this point.

Great reply to our "resident" troll. (We certainly seem to attract them.) Two years ago it was StanleyCup1907.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 7, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

For people who are always angry, I think they should take a step back and see why they continue to watch and follow millionaire athletes push vulcanized rubber up and down ice if watching these athletes do this only leaves them miserable.
--------------------------

Seriously, are you friggin' Dr. Phil???

Posted by: joek443 | December 7, 2010 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Hey Washington Hockey Fans - you have been tainted by the lackluster recent history of the Redskins. We all know that people in Washington hate losing...but you have become so used to it that when a team gets hot you set your bar higher and higher each week, and then ANY loss is magnified and blown out of such proportion. And yes...I blame the Redskins and the fact that Washington is much more a football town. Folks, the NHL season is 82 games long. If you expect to walk away every night with a W, and anything less is unacceptable, then I guess we'll just have to listen to your rants and whining on here. This sad "what have you done for me lately" mentality is always accompanied by the reminiscing of the past playoff failures - like one game is indicative of how a team will perform five months from now, let alone 2 nights from now. It so freaking negative and pathetic. And it's all because Washington sports fans are so used to disappointment. You do not get this kind of thing in a town that knows and understands hockey. You don't get people in the stands yelling "shoot shoot shoot!!" every time a player enters the zone. You don't get a parade every time the team wins and a call for the coach to be lynched after every loss. Washington - you just don't get hockey.

Oh, and by the way...the Caps are 18-8-3 with 39 points, first place in the SE. Second in the Eastern Conference. They have lost twice at home in regulation. Some towns would call that pretty awesome.

Posted by: Rainier1 | December 7, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

haha wow and these are Caps "fans" we go on a massive win streak last year and people are mad, we lose 3 in a row people are mad we win 2 games in a row but show no fight people are mad.

Well I love my Caps and I love that ovie, semin and yes even green have become more defensively aware. i love that ovie has more assits then goals. i love that semin is 3rd in the league in goals. i love that carlson is being a solid d man, i love that green is blocking shots and hitting bodies, i love that erskine and poti are scoring, i love that we got hannan, i love that a gritty guy like hendricks made the team, i love that neuvy and varly are splitting the #1 job....all in all. I love this team and everything it has changed from last season people say they haven't improved, they haven't changed....well i say to you...you will never be happy

C-A-P-S CAPS CAPS CAPS!!!!

Posted by: capsfan38

Well said.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 7, 2010 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Interesting that Jeff Schultz's major injury hasn't been discussed.

I read that part and thought for sure I was gonna see some Schultz bashing. Indeed! Hmmm! You don't say!

Posted by: FrankM73 | December 7, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Changes need to be made. I think the coach needs to remove the C on Ovechkin's sweater. I like Ovie, but the fact that this keeps happening reflects poorly on his leadership as Capitan. If changing capitans doesn't fix it the next option is the coach.

Posted by: akmzrazor | December 7, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Caps still need to make another move before the playoffs ... They've got to get MEANER! If they don't? Another early playoff exit. This game doesn't say much about the composition of the D, even after the latest trade!

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | December 7, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I don't think either will happen, but you will see a coaching change before you see a captain change.

Posted by: kjohnskipc | December 7, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

All I have to say is thank goodness for Rainier1, capsfan38 and sgm3 - and anyone else in here not on the hate/anger fueled mind trip that others seem to be on.

Having to read through this constant negativity is exhausting just so you can get to a somewhat objective and informational/knowledgeable post. The Caps lost and it wasn't pretty - none of the past three have been. But, please, can we, as fans, try and keep our heads about us and support our team??

GO CAPS!!

Posted by: nena1 | December 7, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Now we have a problem. Jeff Schultz is our most valuable player. Without him we are going to get a lot of goals scored on us.

And those of you who think the Caps should move this or that player in trades, look at the history. Every time the Caps break up a winning combination they are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN to lose the next three games, and remain shaky afterwards until the new guy gets to know his way around. It happened last year with Jurcina and Clark for Chimera. It's happened again this year with Fleischmann for Hannan.

But losing Schultz, well, that changes our whole season. He means more to us than Ovechkin and Semin combined.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | December 7, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

some notes:

Ovechkin looks tentative on his hits these days. Injured?

Hannan, strong game, I liked what I saw...

Like MP but not sure he works with Semin. Semin was a key contributor on MP's 2nd goal and took a fairly big hit to make a play. Semin isn't a big hitter, but he is definitely willing to take hits, he doesn't shy away from it.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | December 7, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

well, just finished watching the game, what piece of sh*t that was. I'm sick of this sh*t. we have NO KILLER INSTINCT. i'm sorry, i know there's lots of time until the playoffs but this does not bode well for our team again.

------------

why are you surprised? How is this team different from last year's? Subtracting Mo on D diminished their overall character a bit. Adding Hendricks helped. Subtracting Flash and adding Hannan helped. But its nowhere near enough to overcome the team's personality that exists via coach and GM.

The actual loss or the minor losing streak is of no consequence. This team will still make the playoffs. I think its actually a good thing they're facing adversity at this point in the season because it forces them to be more aware of their work ethic now. This team can only benefit from multiple wakeup calls. And it will force McPhee to keep considering making deals instead of thinking he can sit pat and not mess with anything that in his esteemed opinion, isn't "broken".

This season this team hasn't looked significantly better than it did last year outside of maybe 3 or 4 games. And a lot of that has depended on the specific roster dressed for a game and the specific opponent (NJ, Ottawa).

But if you look at the consistency of intensity displayed by the Pens, Rangers, and other teams like Dallas, the Caps don't measure up one bit. They're not in the same stratosphere. They look like boys playing a men's game. And they won't get to that level no matter what trades they're likely to pull off. So they'll go into the playoffs again trying to use their talent to overcome their lack of consistent work ethic and intensity. That's the truth. And it doesn't bring me any joy to say that. The minor optimist in me thinks they will enter this playoff season finally realizing they have to work harder in each game and not slack off. But I can see them maybe sustaining that thru round 1. No further. If they get thru round 1, I see them relaxing again. That's their personality and it doesn't change with 2 or 3 player acquisitions.

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 7, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and by the way...the Caps are 18-8-3 with 39 points, first place in the SE. Second in the Eastern Conference. They have lost twice at home in regulation. Some towns would call that pretty awesome.
Posted by: Rainier1 | December 7, 2010 7:23 AM
------------

Exactly.

Posted by: Dalliquippa | December 7, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Interesting that Jeff Schultz's major injury hasn't been discussed.

I read that part and thought for sure I was gonna see some Schultz bashing. Indeed! Hmmm! You don't say!

Posted by: FrankM73

If the new lineup excluded Poti on D, imo having Sarge out of the lineup may make us a better team overall. When Gonchar got hurt and we lost another regular around the same time and were forced to bring up some raw youthful energy in kids like Yonkman and Green back in '05, we started playing better fundamental hockey. Everyone thought this team was going to crumble and yet they played better team hockey because at the time Gonchar was playing lackluster hockey and it was negatively affecting the rest of our D.

With Sarge out, I think you'll see more carryover effort on defense from shift to shift. And I'm not deathly afraid of having Tyler in the lineup either. I think he's been unfairly and overly bashed at times and it doesn't kill me to see a lineup of Green, Hannan, Erskine, Sloan and the 2 young kids. I haven't watched the Caps as closely this yr as in yrs past so I'm unsure of Carlson and Alzner's development so far. But from what I've watched, I thought Carlson's game really fell off the table for quite a while, then I saw him regain it later. And Alzner found his game about 10-12 games into the season and started giving a more honest effort along the boards as well which has been his primary weakness. To see him actually separating players from the puck without relying on a poke check was gratifying.

So I'd feel better if Poti was the odd man out on this rotation with Sarge out, instead of Sloan.

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 7, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and by the way...the Caps are 18-8-3 with 39 points, first place in the SE. Second in the Eastern Conference. They have lost twice at home in regulation. Some towns would call that pretty awesome.
Posted by: Rainier1 | December 7, 2010 7:23 AM

probably towns who haven't experienced a team that repeatedly underachieves in the playoffs despite a strong reg season record.

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 7, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

King didn't get beatdown... Orr controlled the fight no doubt, but the ONLY solid blow was landed by King. Once again Orr jumped King, he should have gone .01 seconds after the puck dropped. Orr has lost what respect I had for him with his new 'style' of fighting. I guess after being KTFO by an AHL player he is not going to risk allowing a guy like King to square off.

Over the last two seasons Orr has had 30 fights to Kings 7 (ony 3 this year for King, Orr has 7). Once King finds his groove again you will see a beast on the ice.

Posted by: FLDave | December 7, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

@FLDave

I'm admittedly not a fighting fan, but DJK seems to get hammered each time out. I wonder if they're not scratching him just to spare him the pounding. It's the same thing every time - opponent grabs his right arm with his left and DJK cannot get it free. Meanwhile the opponent then has right hand free and it gets ugly. (DJK would not have to fear Semin however, as #28 requires both hands free to execute his fighting technique...)

Posted by: RedLitYogi | December 7, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

RedLitYogi

I used to spray silicone on the elbows of my jerseys, King should something similar. When your elbow is tied up it is much harder to escape compared to your upper arm or shoulder area. King has only had 3 fights all against the leagues elite. I have no doubt he will find his groove again and start pounding people unlike anyone we've had since John Kordic. That is if he's given the proper chance by BB.

Posted by: FLDave | December 7, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: capsfan387 | December 7, 2010 5:07 AM | Report abuse

Did you drink too much koolaid this morning instead of coffee?

Posted by: beforeitstoolate | December 7, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

To "BigLameCrap" and other Penguin fans on this blog, it took Pittsburgh almost 19 games before they finally started playing well with their new defensemen and slumping star goaltender. In fact, Marc-Andre Fleury was in such a big slump early in the season there was even talk of a goalie controversy (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101102/ap_on_sp_ho_ne/hkn_penguins_goalie_dilemma). It is good to see your team finally play well but just remember that the Capitals has 39 points despite Ovechkin not playing well and lack of a 10 game winning streak. The Capitals just traded for a new defenseman and it will take them a while to get in sync, just like it took the Penguin's first 19 games to get in sync with their new pieces. However, just be aware there are signs that Ovechkin is starting to get healthy again and going on one of his own scoring streak. As we all know, streaks come and go, so who ever is hot will eventually become cold, just as who ever is cold will eventually get hot. Just hope the Penguins are not having a "Premature" moment too early in the season. After all, Tampa Bay was the flavor of the month in October and look where they are now. We will give you November, but I will take a team that wins consistently over a team that depends on a hot streak just to get back to respectability because you never know when that cold streak will come again. By the way, before all the Penguin fans pull out their "Stanley Cup" trump card, I remember distinctly that Pittsburgh was also eliminated and got "Halak"ed by Montreal last playoffs. Anyway, congratulations to the Penguins on being on top of the current standings and to their 10 game winning streak, but as you stated "It's only the regular season though right?"

Posted by: JohnWWW | December 7, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

you know what really sucks for schultz?

he won't get to play in the WC

Posted by: j762 | December 7, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

And I'm not deathly afraid of having Tyler in the lineup either. I think he's been unfairly and overly bashed at times
Posted by: cstanton1 | December 7, 2010 11:55 AM

While I'm usually in agreement with most of your posts, I have to disagree here. I think Sloan is a liability when playing D. He gets s himself out of position too often. I like his attitude but don't think he has the IQ to play D at the NHL level. That being said, I don't mind him as a depth forward, he gets in on the forcheck well and his positioning as a winger isn't as critical. I love the idea of a depth guy that can play forward or defense, but Sloan ain't Ken Klee.

Posted by: FunkyGloveFacewash | December 8, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

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