Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: kcarrera and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS
Posted at 11:38 PM ET, 02/ 1/2011

Canadiens come back, beat Capitals 3-2 in shootout

By Katie Carrera

The first period had pretty much everything the Capitals have been looking for these days. They got off to a fast start, cycled the puck well and even got a power play goal to record their first two-goal lead in the first period since Dec. 28 against these same Montreal Canadiens.

Washington carried few of those traits into the second period though and the players said they grew lax in their adherence to the game plan and allowed the Canadiens to tie the game. Neither squad could break the deadlock though and Montreal went on to win 3-2 in a shootout off a goal by Brian Gionta as the Capitals lost in a contest that extended beyond regulation for an eighth consecutive time.

"We came out fine -- and we struggled this season at coming out strong," Mike Green said. "It seemed like it was going to be a different game but it seemed like once we got in the second half of the game we kind of sat back a bit and any time you do that in this league teams put the pressure on."

For the entire season the Capitals have struggled to find consistency and balance or at least limit the extremes to which their play can yo-yo back and forth even in a single game. While shootouts never tell the whole story of the game that preceded the tie-break event, the players' mounting frustration in the search for an even keel was evident Tuesday night.

"It's definitely disappointing," Scott Hannan said. "You think you come out in one and you do the things that you need to win. Then we took some penalties, got kind of behind and sat back and started to make plays that didn't get us there. It kind of turned the momentum a bit and they came at us. Give them credit they came back and they played the way they needed to but I think we gave them a lot of their chances.

"Montreal's a team that will sit back and pick passes off you," Hannan continued. "You've got to stay committed to getting the puck in deep, not getting too cute out there and it was a big goal at the end of the second."

That goal was Gionta's breakaway tally that resulted from an ill-advised drop pass by John Carlson just inside the Canadiens' blue line. Coach Bruce Boudreau said players on the ice called for Carlson to drop the puck back. Neither Jason Chimera nor Mathieu Perreault, who were closest, picked up possession and Tomas Plekanec was able to send an outlet pass the other way.

"I don't think it's a letdown as much as mistakes," Boudreau said of the second period. "You make two critical mistakes at bad times -- a defenseman goes down the boards when there's no need to go down and we don't get it deep. ... We made two bad mistakes and it was in our net."

-- On the bright side it was a good night for Semyon Varlamov, who finished with 36 saves and was a large reason, if not the main one, that the Capitals were able to ensure they earned a point tonight.

-- The Capitals killed off all six Montreal power play chances and have now thwarted 30 of 31 shorthanded situations since they gave up three power play goals against Florida on Jan. 11. That stretch also includes 24 consecutive penalty kills.

-- Washington has earned at least a point out of 16 of its last 20 games (9-4-7), but Tampa Bay continues to snatch two on a regular basis. The Lightning bested Philadelphia, 4-0, and now have 69 points to the Capitals' 64.

By Katie Carrera  | February 1, 2011; 11:38 PM ET
Categories:  Montreal Canadiens  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Open thread: Capitals vs. Canadiens
Next: Overtime continues to plague Capitals

Comments

And how about that hat-trick by Laich this evening... and where's the outrage??

I'm not the biggest supporter of Semin but if that had been 28, most people on here would be ready to hang him.

But somehow 21 gets a pass because he's so "nice".

Posted by: joek443 | February 2, 2011 12:33 AM | Report abuse

@JoeK

What's with Laich and all the penalties? Luckily, they weren't costly but agree with you that if it were Semin, he'd be hung here big time. Brooksie, should we start calling you Bad Sasha now?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 2, 2011 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, Carlson was beaten like a rented mule a couple of times tonight. Still, I think we'll keep him.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 2, 2011 12:35 AM | Report abuse

I'm angry with BL, not so much for the penalties (some of which may have been bogus) but for missing his opportunities.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 2, 2011 12:39 AM | Report abuse

Didn't even read the article. Same old quotes I'm sure. "The old college try." Excuse me while I gag.

"What we have...is a failure, to communicate. Now some men, they just don't get it. So we get what we got here today - a shootout lose in a game we should have won. Now, I don't like this anymore than you do..."

Strother Martin (the Captain) for Caps Coach...I can see improvement. And Morgan Woodward ("Boss") for asst coach.

Let's see if Ovi can swallow 50 eggs...or even 10...

"Sometimes nothin' is a real cool hand."

"That's my boy! Cool Hand Ovi! Boy can he WHIFF and make it look like somethin'!"

"Shakin' it, Boss. Still shakin' it."

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 2, 2011 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Well, they are what they are, no good fretting about it. It won't do any good. Just sit back folks and see what happens. Maybe TL will do something if things don't work out but for now we have what we have.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 2, 2011 12:42 AM | Report abuse

But somehow 21 gets a pass because he's so "nice".

Posted by: joek443 | February 2, 2011 12:33 AM

joek443: He flew all the way out here to California to change my flat tire this morning, so I'm letting him off the hook.

Shakin' it, Boss. Still shakin' it.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 2, 2011 12:46 AM | Report abuse

Something is not adding up. Even if all the different reasons folks give for Caps' problems were true (inconsistency, laziness, Ovechkin's drought, opponents having figured us out etc.) it still does not make sense that our entire offense shut down. I mean not player but ALL the top players. The only thing I can come up with is coaching, and the possibility that, even thought I love BB, there is a next level he cannot take us to. Don't know why not. I agree with the post below.

The right coach could take Ovechkin's game to the next level and not just offensively. Bruce is keeping Ovechkin's and others' overall games at an AHL level.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 2, 2011 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: caraveli | February 2, 2011 12:46 AM | Report abuse

I don't know about all this coaching stuff. I just think the Caps players need to collectively say "we will NOT be denied" and go out and act accordingly.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 2, 2011 12:56 AM | Report abuse

I think before everyone starts blaming the coaching, that they should take a look at the Caps lineup.

Look at lines 2-4. Are those in anyway impressive? If you compared the talent level(overall talent, so that includes scoring, grit, forechecking, D, everything in totality) on those lines to the talent level of the lines 2-4 on every other team, where do you think it would rank?

My guess would be in the bottom 10 of the NHL. With no Semin, Fehr or Flash(when he was healthy) and now with an older, less effective Knuble and the goalie stomach targeting Marshmallow Man who used to be a good player last year, lines 2-4 have low end NHL talent level.

The guys they are playing against are better. The only guys who have been reasonably successful have been the top guys. Ovie and Backstrom lead the Caps in +/- so while they are way below their standards, they still perform better and produce better results than any other forward on the Caps. (Alex Semin is 3rd in +/- for Caps forwards)

Carlson and Alzner lead the Caps D in +/- with Green a close 3rd.

I know +/- doesn't mean everything, but it is an indicator of what guys are on the ice when favorable results are being produced.

While the Caps definitely need to get more out of Ovie and Backstrom as well as all others, it is clear that those guys mentioned are the only Caps playing well. the other guys look like and are playing like middle of the road to low end NHL talent.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 2, 2011 1:16 AM | Report abuse

Losing to the smurfs should be embarrassing, but ol' BB will find some way to keep King out of the lineup in favor of Dave Skeleton or some other non-contributing buoy.

Posted by: timKosecki | February 2, 2011 1:22 AM | Report abuse

sgm, you're completely right, as I've been saying the same thing for years. The Caps have Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom, and maybe Knuble, and beyond that, no one else cracks a good team's top 6. Perreault is too small and will never be consistent, not to mention he needs someone to get him the puck as he loses every board battle. Johansson is a sally that gets knocked over by the shower water. Laich is a 3rd liner, much in the same mold as Mike Fisher. Eric Fehry is not a power forward - he can't shoot from far away but he is by no means a power forward (somewhere, Neely is crying). Chimera is a career 3rd liner, playing for bad teams, and is expected, at 31, to suddenly be a game-breaker. Bradley, Beagle, Gordon, Hendricks, and Skeleton all occupy similar roles, especially Gordon and Skeleton, and there is no reason to play them all. Beagle, Bradley, and Hendricks all are physical to varying degrees, whereas Gordon and Skeleton are great at faceoffs. With so many guys who can play low line center, there is no reason to play both of the last two, so one should be scratched and traded, in favor of King, or maybe Stortini if the Caps decided that forechecking and hitting will help with winning playoff games.

This probably isn't coherent, but it's 1:30 am, so I get a pass.

Posted by: timKosecki | February 2, 2011 1:33 AM | Report abuse

Brooks is definitely struggling. But, 2 of those penalties called on him were absolutely horrible. Refs were atrocious tonight.

On that 2 on 1 though, you have to at least make the goalie save the shot, poor job by Brooks.

You guys can blame Brooks all you want, but the team played horrible.

Backy cant finish a shot to save his life.

Knuble failed to score a clutch goal with a glorious opportunity.

Ovie cant even get the puck on net.

Boyd Gordon cant finish he had a few chances to score.

Also, Johannson needs more ice time than what he played today. No way should Stecks-Gordon-Bradley get more time.

Posted by: digster1013 | February 2, 2011 2:04 AM | Report abuse

This team...is not very good.

Posted by: chrisclarksucks | February 2, 2011 2:25 AM | Report abuse

I sooo hope that the caps dont resign laich next season.now that i say that,they will give him a 4 yr ext deal like they did for the other good for nothin crapital jeff shultz.

Posted by: gratefuldid | February 2, 2011 3:02 AM | Report abuse

I really don't understand why we keep hearing "We have to learn to play a 60 minute game" every time they lose. Yes, they played great the first period. How hard is it for players to understand that they need to continue with that level of effort? This same refrain really puzzles me.

I hope Semin and Fehr come back strong soon---they are needed!

And I'm still convinced that Ovi has been playing through some type of injury. The whiffed shots and the falling down on the ice might mean two injuries. I believe the filming of 24/7 meant that our star player couldn't sit out any games, even if he was injured.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | February 2, 2011 6:17 AM | Report abuse

SOS. SOS. SOS.
And it's not save our ship we're talking about, although that would be appropriate.

Posted by: Almazar80 | February 2, 2011 7:11 AM | Report abuse

sgm3 hit it on the head. Other teams have more overall talent. A star or two (especially when they're not playing like stars) won't cut it. GMGM and BB have been less than stellar in putting a good team together.

Posted by: Almazar80 | February 2, 2011 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Please tell me that the majority of Caps fans are finally seeing that BB has absolutely lost this team!! The guy can't keep them motivated to save his life. AND........making a decision to make a SHUT DOWN line of Steckle/Gordon/Bradley to play against the Habs top line was just ignorant when he HAD a great shut down line working before the all star break of Hendricks/Steckle/Beagle. Please fire the tubby, foul mouthed, throw your players under the bus, it is never my fault "coach."

Posted by: PhilR | February 2, 2011 7:22 AM | Report abuse

@sgm3 -Please tell me, who on Montreal's 2-4 lines is better then the Caps 2-4 lines?

@everyone -Last night, it is glaringly apparent that the problem with this team is coaching.

The team is regurgitating whatever BB uses as excuses for the team not playing well and I'm frankly getting sick of it.

And if BB wasn't happy with the players on the roster, he could've gone to GMGM to get the players that were needed. Salary cap or not.

I'm tired of the excuses, it's time to shut up and play the damn game.

This team is starting to believe, if they don't already, what GMGM and BB have been saying.

How does the saying go? The rotten fish stinks from the head down?

Thank you for letting me vent, boy I need a drink.

Posted by: jwash4472 | February 2, 2011 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Ovie and Backstrom lead the Caps in +/- so while they are way below their standards, they still perform better and produce better results than any other forward on the Caps. (Alex Semin is 3rd in +/- for Caps forwards)......Carlson and Alzner lead the Caps D in +/- with Green a close 3rd.....While the Caps definitely need to get more out of Ovie and Backstrom as well as all others, it is clear that those guys mentioned are the only Caps playing well

Posted by: sgm3 | February 2, 2011 1:16 AM | Report abuse


Uh oh, we're back to relying on the +/- stat as the only measure to determine who on the team is "playing well." ****55 anyone? Ovi and Backstrom the only forwards playing well? Sgm3, you're starting to sound as lost on these threads as much as the Caps look lost on the ice. Forget Bryan Murray, are you really BB??

Of the five you've deemed to be playing well, I'd offer that only Alzner is cutting the mustard. Ovi-Backstrom-Green-Carlson are expected to be the point producers from the forwards and backline, and they're just not getting it done.

Yet another clean, gentlemanly game devoid of passion, intensity, or attitude by our guys. Win or lose, I'd rather see DJK out on the 4th line instead of BOTH Steckel and Gordon. At least my interest in the goings-on on the ice would pick up when they took their shift, as opposed to last night when it was apparent the Caps didn't want to mix things up or start some trouble on the ice to break the Habs momentum.

The good news about last night was my 2 young sons booed and ridiculed BB everytime one of his stupid commercials came on. If they can sense how rotten BB is, why can't upper management or ownership see it?

Posted by: vermontcaps | February 2, 2011 7:46 AM | Report abuse

timkosecki and sgm,

I do agree that the Caps and many fans vastly overrate the franchise's talent but that doesn't explain why BB can't get anything even approaching 60 minutes out of his team this year, or why the guys who DO have undeniable talent aren't producing and -- for the most part -- don't even look interested.

If this were a team/franchise with good leadership from the top down, the injuries and things they've gone through this year would've made them band together even more closely and work harder on and off the ice for success. Instead, we get 15 to 20 minutes of actual hockey each night and a litany of lame excuses and false threats to do something about it -- from the players and the coaches.

And now the rest of the league is starting to catch on to the fact the Capitals are a fraud; which means one of the last edges the team did have is disappearing (if it isn't already gone. they're something like 4-10 in their last 14 at home).

At this point, I think the Caps are real longshot to make the postseason, and honestly, missing the playoffs may be the best thing for this franchise. It's hard to imagine anything else that could force Leonsis and GMGM to make some real changes -- and that's clearly what needs to happen.

Posted by: fanzee71 | February 2, 2011 7:52 AM | Report abuse

I'm in.

New coach please.

One that will motivate the best players to be better.

One that will motivate players to not nurse injuries, but will FIGHT to get into the lineup.

I am not one that usually blames the coach, but for 2 months, the team has looked lifeless and like they have no interest in playing for Boudreau.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 2, 2011 7:57 AM | Report abuse

BigBaby: "I don't think it's a letdown as much as mistakes,"

This guy is absolutely clueless. Earlier this season he said that other teams are not effectively trapping the Caps in the neutral zone - please get some glasses Big Baby, the Caps rarely make it through the neutral zone and even more rarely get their cycle going. Other teams cycle at will on the Caps. This time has given up on Big Baby. He is the walking dead, a corpulent corpse. If only gmgm and Ted would take the necessary action to fire his fat, clueless a$$ and find a real coach...

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | February 2, 2011 8:05 AM | Report abuse

MP only 13:53 of ice time with 2 points.

Same size of Plekaneks, gionta, gomez, cammelleri, Desharnais, weber...

Stop the hate on the rookie please.

This team have just no system. So easy to see.

Nuff' said!

Posted by: Presbyter | February 2, 2011 8:12 AM | Report abuse

MP only 13:53 of ice time with 2 points.

Same size of Plekaneks, gionta, gomez, cammelleri, Desharnais, weber...

Stop the hate on the rookie please.

This team have just no system. So easy to see.

Nuff' said!

Posted by: Presbyter | February 2, 2011 8:12 AM | Report abuse

While I'm not sure what's up with BB, but maybe if the team's captain was more of a leader rather than a stick-throwing clown, the Caps would be floundering so much.

Posted by: patrick24 | February 2, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Well, at least they got a PP goal last night.

Didn't like the Steckel/Bradley line. Defense didn't play as well either. Not sure what else to say, but if they lose to TB on Friday then I think we're in a bit of trouble. The symptoms have been there all season (and since the playoffs last year).

Posted by: SirPelleas | February 2, 2011 8:51 AM | Report abuse

JIMALLCAPS,

Here! Here! I just tried to watch BB's presser. I got about halfway through and couldn't take anymore. He really is clueless. This is a sub-.500 team over its last 30 games -- that' more than a 3rd of the season -- and his explanation for it is, gosh darnit we just can't get a break. He says the media are getting it wrong by "focusing on negatives". He says they're trying too hard, so the puck just won't go in. Same thing every night during the game and after. Pathetic.

The Caps need a new coach. I hope they miss the playoffs at this point because at this point the Cup is a total pipe dream. Heck, getting out of the first round looks like a pipe dream. It's a lost cause anyway, so might as well have the collapse be so complete that ownership is compelled to act.

Posted by: fanzee71 | February 2, 2011 9:31 AM | Report abuse

JIMALLCAPS,

Here! Here! I just tried to watch BB's presser. I got about halfway through and couldn't take anymore. He really is clueless. This is a sub-.500 team over its last 30 games -- that' more than a 3rd of the season -- and his explanation for it is, gosh darnit we just can't get a break. He says the media are getting it wrong by "focusing on negatives". He says they're trying too hard, so the puck just won't go in. Same thing every night during the game and after. Pathetic.

The Caps need a new coach. I hope they miss the playoffs at this point because at this point the Cup is a total pipe dream. Heck, getting out of the first round looks like a pipe dream. It's a lost cause anyway, so might as well have the collapse be so complete that ownership is compelled to act.

Posted by: fanzee71 | February 2, 2011 9:31 AM | Report abuse

JIMALLCAPS,

Here! Here! I just tried to watch BB's presser. I got about halfway through and couldn't take anymore. He really is clueless. This is a sub-.500 team over its last 30 games -- that' more than a 3rd of the season -- and his explanation for it is, gosh darnit we just can't get a break. He says the media are getting it wrong by "focusing on negatives". He says they're trying too hard, so the puck just won't go in. Same thing every night during the game and after. Pathetic.

The Caps need a new coach. I hope they miss the playoffs at this point because at this point the Cup is a total pipe dream. Heck, getting out of the first round looks like a pipe dream. It's a lost cause anyway, so might as well have the collapse be so complete that ownership is compelled to act.

Posted by: fanzee71 | February 2, 2011 9:31 AM | Report abuse

sorry for double posts. Wish I could remove them.

Posted by: fanzee71 | February 2, 2011 9:35 AM | Report abuse

BB is a bottomless pit of reasons why the Caps lose, damn broken record. I don't even bother watching his post game interviews anymore. No insight from: "We didn't move our legs." "We didn't play the whole 60 mins." "Our best players weren't our best players."

Holy sh** Bruce, are you the head coach or what? Make them skate the whole 60 minutes or grind their d***s into the ice at practice the next day. Remind them that they are North American hockey players!

Posted by: seth_malaguerra | February 2, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

No longer does this team need a second line center! A first line center will do.

Posted by: festus75 | February 2, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

The playoffs right now are irrelevant since this team just doesn't have it. Period.


1. The team needs to miss the playoffs so that changes will occur.

2. The team needs afront-office overhaul. The coaching staff, despite glowing overall win-loss records over the past four years, has difficulty adjusting, and doesn't do so until it's flat out pointed out there's a problem. See BB getting completely outcoached in Pens series and MTL series.

GMGM is the same way: he doesn't react until the painfully obvious is put in front of him, beat over his head, and then, and only then, after his "expereiments" don't work, does he make a minor adjustment. The Caps biggest problem, even more than D over the past few years, has been the absence of a second-line center. The team is suffereing because of the absence of a second line, and MP and MJ are not there yet - and won't be for a year or two.

3. Hopefully things will change, but 8 and 17 look like really bad contracts right now. I really hope 8 doesn't become our Vincent LeCavalier, because his play is poor. He looks slow - something's wrong with either his physche, or his body.

Personally, I don't but this #%$@ about people knowing how to shut him down all of a sudden. If that were the case, then why are teams waiting until year 6 to start doing it? Also, Backstrom's a shell of the player he was the past few years.

4. According to that recent "players poll," BB needs to be the hardest coach to play for as opposed to the easiest. Maybe then will he get a response.

God I hate this team. I'm wasting my life following this madness year after year.

Posted by: Dave28 | February 2, 2011 10:04 AM | Report abuse

The thing that gets me about the "we only played the first period, then we sat back...we need to pay a full sixty minutes..."
Suppose Varly had done the same thing? My conclusion...just not a very good team. They coasted last two years on their brilliant, highly entertaining SOB offensive line, but with their more defense-minded game, the strong improvement in other teams, especially their own division, they're just average.

Just dreading what Tampa Bay and Pens will do to them w/without Semin.

Also agree that a really good coach would improve Ovi's game...

Posted by: ophelia2 | February 2, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Can you imagine Mike Babcock behind the Caps bench?

Posted by: dfort2004 | February 2, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Helen Keller could recognize the Caps problem: they get outworked for 60 minutes. Somehow/way, this is being allowed to happen. Teams do not roll over and play dead this season. Les Habitants showed the league how to beat the Caps in the playoffs last year and the evidence is there: Hustle and the Caps can be beaten.

Posted by: dirtball | February 2, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company