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Leafs 2, Caps 1

For the first time under Bruce Boudreau the Capitals have now lost three straight games at home, but the coach was more pleased with his team's effort tonight than the first two games during this streak.

Despite being without Alex Ovechkin and Tom Poti the Capitals created many scoring chances and, for the first 40 minutes, did a good job in their own end. When asked whether the line and combination juggling had a significant effect, Sergei Fedorov, who played defense to make up for Poti's absence, was blunt.

"Don't you think it's too late in the season to think that way?" Fedorov said. "We had some injuries and we did have some guys out of the lineup, but I think we had so many chances, simply as that. If we score at least three or four it'd be a different story. ...We've played 60 some games. Everybody's pretty used to each other, should be anyway. I think we missing a very powerful forward with a powerful shot, but like I said we generate enough offense and scoring chances to score and puck did not go in for us."

To be fair, Martin Gerber played well in his debut for Toronto -- his first game since he allowed five goals in the Senators 6-4 loss to the Bruins on Jan. 8 -- and made saves when the Maple Leafs needed him to. But Washington also failed to finish on numerous opportunities. It was just the sixth time this season that Toronto has held an opponent to a single goal. They have not recorded a shut out this year.

"We didn't finish," Boudreau said. "Yet (Gerber) made some great saves. We had enough chances to win two or three games, I think. We're in that situation right now where guys are holding their sticks really tight and not doing things that are natural for them and consequently we're not scoring."

*Pittsburgh dealt Florida a 4-1 loss tonight which means the Panthers still trail Washington by 11 points, rather than nine. No one should need to be reminded what happened with about three weeks left in the season for the Capitals when they were in the Panthers position last year. Here are the Eastern Conference standings.

*Boudreau said he expects Ovechkin to play on Sunday against the Penguins. It wasn't until after warm up that Poti realized he couldn't play. He was on the ice for seven seconds off the opening faceoff and the Capitals will call up a defensemen from Hershey if Poti is unavailable this weekend.

*You may have wondered why Boudreau pulled Jose Theodore, who declined to comment after the game, with about two minutes remaining in regulation. It's because Michal Neuvirth is a very fast skater, while Theodore is not, and the rookie can get to the bench much quicker when they're trying to pull the goaltender.

*Alexander Semin extended his goal-scoring streak to five games to tie a career record. He has 12 points in the past seven games (6G, 6A).

*With an assist on Semin's goal, Nicklas Backstrom tied his point total from last season at 69 (17G, 52A).

*The Capitals have recorded at least 34 shots in each game of the current three-game losing streak.

*The team won't practice tomorrow but will return to the ice at KCI on Saturday.

By Katie Carrera  |  March 5, 2009; 11:04 PM ET
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Ugh, the Caps blow right now.

Posted by: cc415 | March 5, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Also, I really wasnt all that impressed with Gerber, alot of it was due to the Leafs defensive style, which is to trap like hell. Alot of those saves were on shots that were flat on the ice, any rec league goalie should be able to make those kind of saves. Flash and Steckel need to lift the puck.

Posted by: cc415 | March 5, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Why put Poti out there at all if he can't play? He hopped off right after the opening faceoff.

Posted by: jon_nfib | March 5, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Joe B. said on the broadcast tonight that Boudreau said that the recent defensive struggles could be attributed to a lack of practice time. So why don't they practice more often?

Posted by: spacecadetkid | March 5, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

I thought Bruce pulled Theodore because he was trying to steal an extra timeout at that point in the game.

Posted by: CapsNut | March 5, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse


your backstrom just allowed two softies *giggles*

Just teasing you :)

Posted by: mauree | March 5, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Our Cup depends on pothier. If he comes back and alzer is up along with a healthy poti. I think were fine

POTI, Alzer, Pothier, Green, Jurcina, collins etc.

That is a much better group that what we have currently. AKA Erskine & schultz should not be in the NHL.

Posted by: smartfan | March 5, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Capt_Kirk, *sigh* I've looked! I just can't find anything that matches. You find me a skirt and I'll put it on him. After Lent.
And my folks live an hour(ish) from Raleigh, so its not that much time. And its bonding time with my big bro. What better way to celebrate being siblings than to watch one Staal brother check another Staal brother into the boards--its like our childhood, played out on the ice!

mauree, you're so mean! :P

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | March 5, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Was at the game and I was talking to the fans next to me when we saw Jose out and Neuvirth in. The only thing we could think of was the Neuvirth is a faster skater. But we were really confused as to why Jose was put back in after Semin scored. The VC ice ice hit a new low in the second period when the Leafs'player got hurt and the crew couldn't clean up all of the blood as it appeared that the ice was too soft to freeze it. I guess having to then watch them have to play with the pretty large blood stain on the ice until the second intermission should have been a sign of things to come.

Posted by: NovaCath | March 5, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

I was at the game and I had several questions, but Tarik answered them all in this post ... thanks, Tarik!! Now if the Caps could just be as accommodating. I canNOT believe that they tossed another one. What the heck?!? And they really did not look much better than the past two games. SOG were great (especially considering that Ovie was out), but there were not a lot of quality shots. Gerber may have been busy, but he was not working very hard (although he still deserved that #1 star). I just don't get it. What gives and when do they get back on track?

BTW ShariLeigh131, mauree, Kirk and JMU (OK, and Dave, too) - I'm feelin' the love now ... thanks so much and right backatchallovya!! :-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 5, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

that sounds like it could be fun - just don't start pinching and kicking him - or you'll have to be sent to your room.

crysby: "Mario - where are my milk and cookies, the basement is cold, my diaper is wet ... whhhhaaaaaaaaaa!"
Mario: "shut up you spoiled little brat or i'll have to ship you off to uncle don cherry's and he'll make you wear those stupid looking suits"

there - no you don't have too do it yourself

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 5, 2009 11:31 PM

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 5, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

what on earth is on NHLN?

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 5, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

is that chara hiking and talking about the effects of high altitude? i figured he would be used to that (arh*arh).

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 5, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

I thought the Caps looked lost without OV out there. Let's beat the Penguins, I'll feel better when that happens...

Posted by: isaacc7 | March 5, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Who was it that broke their stick on a wrist shot into a wide open net? Was that Flash? Man if that wasn't a sign of things to come the rest of the night.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | March 5, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

have no idea what this is. but i might watch patrik elias in belize - 9 days before my kickass week of vacation there.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 5, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

i think it was bradley

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 5, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Boo, lol! You would think of all players accustomed to high altitudes, it would be the entire Avs squad & Chara. He climbed Kilimanjaro over the summer, I think. And did some stuff for 'Right to Play' while he was there.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | March 5, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

one thing BB can try and build on - only 4 minors and they didn't give up a PP. hmmm - only gave up 2 goals - most nights that's plenty of D to win. i hope they have no mercy with the pens

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 5, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

glad someone got my joke! ;-) (i wonder why dave and lee always tell me that i should not try to be funny?!? :-P)

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 5, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

@Boo! - altitude...Charra...I like it!

Posted by: SombreroGuy | March 5, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Yeah! :-D Ha ha!!

What the heck - now it's Elias in Belize? Where is NHL on the Fly?

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 6, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

It shows how much ov is worth to this team. The PP was awful, no movement. I'm just so mad of the lack of desperation from the players not named Semin and Federov. After GMGM showed his vote of confidence of them by not pulling a trade, they go out and played flat. I'm not saying they were terrible, but it would have been nice to put extra effort. They shouldv'e gone out there and proved to everyone that yes, this team can go all the way with what they have, that they don't eed outside help.

Posted by: Andoy | March 6, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

They played that way with Ovie on the ice in the last two games, so this loss can't be blamed on that (also, it's FedORov ... :-)).

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 6, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Barf. At least it wasn't as bad as the last two but still... every up has a downstroke. Let's hope this one ends soon and with the Caps still holding a comfortable lead in the SE.

Unfortunately the next chance to wake up comes against a Pittsburgh team playing it's best hockey of the season followed by 2 road games against Nashville and Philly. This could get ugly quickly.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | March 6, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

rest tomorrow - crisp practice on sat and club the pens like they're baby seals.
that doesn't look as good written out as it sounded in my head when i thought it

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 6, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Tonight we had tons of scoring chances, no finish. Lots of that can be credited to Gerber stepping up huge after being in the doghouse.I don't think we necessarily played a bad game.

Can't wait til Sunday.Should be a good one.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 6, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

and our PP did look pretty bad, but so did it the past 2 losses too with ovie. I dont know what happened to our awesome PP.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 6, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of the standings, the Bruins lost again. If we had won the last three (as our home record and our opponents' standings would have led us to believe), then we would only be TWO points out of first in the east!! How sad is that?

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 6, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

I just watched the game - DVR'd it because we had company over. I think Schultz and Erskine were on the ice for both goals. More than that, I think both goals were direct caused by them. The first goal was a pure inability to clear the puck and the second one was a giveaway in the defensive end.

I ask GMGM one question - there were NO upgrades available for these guys?!? They are a huge liability!

Awful. Plain awful!

Posted by: patrone | March 6, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

the caps did a fantastic job tonight- they just didn't win. can we give them a break? a rest? the benefit of the doubt? and someone put some more ice on ovie's footsie, please.

Posted by: spinner-33 | March 6, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

I can do all of those things once or twice, but not three times IN A ROW on home ice, no less ... and not against these teams. Call me a pill if you must.

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 6, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

If what Ov said is true, that he'd not had an MRI, or even an Xray taken of his foot, then somebody should be fired. Immediately! When the best player in the world, and one who hardly EVER MISSES A GAME, is injured so badly that he can't play, then having Xrays of the injury should be AUTOMATIC. I don't have to be a card - carying "Physician" to know THAT. Come on, guys. Life's not that complicated. Often, common sense is all that's needed. But, as I like to say, "Common sense, often times ISN'T THAT COMMON."

Posted by: Puckguru | March 6, 2009 12:39 AM | Report abuse

pill :)

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 6, 2009 12:44 AM | Report abuse

Just flipping through my new, great big fat and glossy THN. This is how they rank the Caps prospects:

Varly (12 overall)
Carlson (27 overall)
Della Rovere

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 6, 2009 12:46 AM | Report abuse

The game was disappointing. Sure Ovie being out is significant but he is not the whole team. The boys need to be able to step it up w/o Ovie and play 100% regardless.

It seems that the team thinks we've made the playoffs so they are just cruising until April. I hope that is not the case because if we don't get out of this funk now, we really will be in trouble. I think the Pens game will be more significant then just two points on the line.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | March 6, 2009 12:47 AM | Report abuse

I've been called worse! ;-) You going to Belize, lucky bum?

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 6, 2009 12:47 AM | Report abuse

So that's why Jose leaves have the next open on rebounds, he's a slow skater.

Posted by: pdo3 | March 6, 2009 12:54 AM | Report abuse

make that..half the net open on rebounds

Posted by: pdo3 | March 6, 2009 12:55 AM | Report abuse

so i guess by omission that alzner is not a prospect - maybe he should be up with the big club

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 6, 2009 12:56 AM | Report abuse

sounds like it ... guess gmgm needs to read the article.

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 6, 2009 12:58 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: nwilson2 | March 6, 2009 2:12 AM | Report abuse

If we lost this game with Ovi and Poti I'd be very concerned.

I think we're positioned that if we even lose another 1 or 2 we can have our confidence back pretty quick. We have a mental get out of jail free card.

I'd just as soon we win next game and save the card for somewhere in the late 2nd round.

Posted by: austinsteve | March 6, 2009 2:55 AM | Report abuse

We've definitely hit a rough patch, but there's no reason to panic. The NHL regular season is just about 30, 40 games too long.

Boston has lost 3 in a row.

San Jose has lost 3 out of the last 4, including tonight's game which they were winning 3-0 against the Wild. Who would have ever bet on the Wild of all teams coming back from 3-0 down vs. the Sharks?!

Detroit lost 8-0 to Nashville a few games ago.

It's that time of the year, I guess.

Posted by: ranndino | March 6, 2009 3:38 AM | Report abuse

BTW, both goals that Theo allowed today were awful. This shows once again that if we're involved in a close game we're screwed. He just can't go through a whole game without letting in a stinker or 2.

On the 2nd goal I knew it was going in before the shot was even taken because Theo was bumbling around like a handicapped grandpa in the crease again and was in absolutely no position to stop even a beach ball. Do our goalie coaches even work with him on lateral movement? He manages to trip himself just about every time. Watch that in slow motion. It's comical. It's like Charlie Chaplin playing in goal for us.

Yet we have to all be PC and pretend like he gives us NHL caliber goaltending. Once again he got outplayed by the other team's goalie. One that almost played himself out of the NHL this season.

Posted by: ranndino | March 6, 2009 3:46 AM | Report abuse

As for the first goal I'm tired of hearing excuses about bad breaks. This is like the 10th goal Theo has allowed this year on a shot from behind the goal line. It's simply lack of concentration and not having your feet set. Other teams know that if they just throw it in the crease from anywhere Theo might find a way to knock it into his own net.

I've had it with this guy.

I know we only scored 1 late, but it's because Gerber played great for the Leafs. Theo didn't have crap to do for most of the game and yet let in 2 horrible goals. Enough for us to lose.

I have completely lost confidence in him. I shiver every time there's a shot on our net from anywhere when he's in there.

Neuvy has allowed 1 bad goal in all of his time with the Caps so far and so many people already started to write him off.

Theo's allowed like 50 bad goals this season and people still say that he's been good since Dec.

It was telling seeing head to head season stats going into this game. Gerber's save % was exactly the same and his GAA was actually quite a bit better. And this is a goalie that was basically dumped by Ottawa and no one even wanted.

Posted by: ranndino | March 6, 2009 3:58 AM | Report abuse

"It's because Michal Neuvirth is a very fast skater, while Theodore is not, and the rookie can get to the bench much quicker when they're trying to pull the goaltender".

That actually cracked me up. Judging from how well Theo goes post to post he can't skate at all.

Posted by: ranndino | March 6, 2009 4:04 AM | Report abuse

From a previous thread:

@ cstanton1

The ignorant tool is you and it's become abundantly clear to everyone by now. Where are your so called logical arguments? I absolutely destroyed your argument about Boudreau's system being crap and not working on any level with cold, hard facts and your comeback is to call me an ignorant tool. Thanks for proving my point. You got nothing and are dumber than a jackass.

Posted by: ranndino | March 6, 2009 4:27 AM | Report abuse

A couple of quick facts to back up what I said above and have been saying about Kaiser Jose.

Current rank in save % is 33.

Current rank in GAA is 31.

Posted by: ranndino | March 6, 2009 4:36 AM | Report abuse

"On the 2nd goal I knew it was going in before the shot was even taken because Theo was bumbling around like a handicapped grandpa in the crease again and was in absolutely no position to stop even a beach ball."

@ranndino: I laughed SO hard when I read this...thank you for making my morning!

3 points and a comment then I am done...

1) What the hell is going on?
2) Why is Shultz not in Hershey?
3) Why are we paying so much for Jose?

TERRIBLE...the only way to describe the Caps play of late. Is there a conspiracy I don't know about...if they win a game is someone going to kill it Cherry?

Posted by: NatyBG | March 6, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

come on guys lets get out this funk, we need more physical play thats just eastern conf hockey, Schultz doest fit the bill, if he would get in their and get dirty it would sway my opinion of him,he can play but not physical enough! to mush seperation is giving the other teams 2 many shooting and passing lanes. the shots on goal reminded me of my sons hockey games, dont shoot the puck @ the goalie! Gerber played well, but when he got hit in the chest that many times how hard is it 2 stop those! wondering if the whole team gets 2 where the pink hard-hat? just had 2 vent a little! C A P S caps,caps,caps!...

Posted by: TracyMD1 | March 6, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

From Ranndino

"On the 2nd goal I knew it was going in before the shot was even taken because Theo was bumbling around like a handicapped grandpa in the crease again and was in absolutely no position to stop even a beach ball."

@ranndino: I laughed SO hard when I read this...thank you for making my morning!

3 points and a comment then I am done...

1) What the hell is going on?
2) Why is Shultz not in Hershey?
3) Why are we paying so much for Jose?

TERRIBLE...the only way to describe the Caps play of late. Is there a conspiracy I don't know about...if they win a game is someone going to kill it Cherry?

Here is what is going on. We paid too much for Theodore because we had no choice. So now we have a second tier goaltender with a young, non-physical defense. That is a disaster in itself.

We failed to address the true needs of this team in the summertiime of defense, defense and defense. We also have no legitimate captain at this time as the one we had is injured for the season.

We failed to address the need to add an inexpensive, gritty veteran at the deadline and we refuse to sit the young premadonnas that are not showing up to the matches.


Posted by: diner99 | March 6, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Here's some more info for you

Ty Conklin has all better numbers than JT60 while he's getting paid 1/3 of what Theo is making on a one year deal. Think about that one.

Posted by: diner99 | March 6, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

that's my biggest gripe with the caps - they need to punish people. these teams (TOR, CAR, EDM, COL, FLA) just plain outwork us. we need to smash some dudes. the one penalty erskine got, i was yelling at the tv "hit the right person! the person with the puck!" he gave someone a shot, but took an interference penalty. we're one-and-done unless we get some fire. i'm hoping to lord stanley that the caps are just conserving their energy till playoffs... please.

plus, one other thing - is anyone in agreement with me that green is WAY too casual in his play. he needs to start coming across with some step-ups, and stop lolly gagging with the puck.

Posted by: changestate | March 6, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Green can be lackadaisical at times but I don't think it has been anymore so then usual. It just seems like it because of our poor performance of late. I hear exactly what you are saying, and he does need to tighten it up when he has possession.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | March 7, 2009 12:42 AM | Report abuse

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