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Posted at 11:40 PM ET, 01/24/2011

Capitals continue to struggle beyond regulation, fall 2-1 to Rangers in shootout

By Katie Carrera

Washington lost its seventh straight overtime or shootout contest Monday night, falling 2-1 to the Rangers on a fourth-round shootout tally by Artem Anisimov. The Capitals are 1-9 in their last 10 games that have extended beyond regulation after winning their first five extra-time games this season.

Unlike some of the previous overtimes though, the Capitals held the edge in the 4-on-4 play, recording six of the seven shots in the five minute add-on session.

"We went for the goal," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We didn't get it. We haven't lost the overtime games because of a lack of offense, it's because of poor defense. We talked about how we have to play in the overtime and we talked about it again on the bench and I thought we did a real good job of it. There's no secret, when there's a turnover in overtime you go [up ice]. It's not rocket science. Marcus [Johansson] and [Matt] Hendricks did, I thought, pretty well in the overtime."

The inability to score hounded the Capitals throughout a game in which the Rangers blocked 18 shots and Washington passed up chances to score in search of better plays and ultimately were never able to add to their initial one-goal lead. You can read more about the Capitals' lack of offense Monday night in my game story for the paper.

--A week ago, rookie Johansson erred in overtime against the Philadelphia Flyers. That didn't stop Boudreau from putting the young centerman out in the extra session for 1 minute 32 seconds Monday night though.

"That's the only way young guys learn," Boudreau said. "You show them what they did wrong and you throw them back out there and say: 'Listen we'll give you another chance. Let's see if you learned from it.' And he did; I thought he did good."

After a rather uneven three games last week, Johansson, who was a minus-4 in that span, responded with a steady outing against the Rangers. He had a few nice passes, including a setup of Jay Beagle in the first period and then the primary assist on Hendricks's tally in the second. He took two shots and won 5 of 9 faceoffs.

--Another good night for Braden Holtby, who you'll be able to read more about in the morning. It was his first NHL overtime or shootout appearance and just seventh career start and he has stopped 87 of 90 shots in the past three games. With how much the puck bounced around on that tying goal, that was credited to Marian Gaborik but both teams said the puck went off Karl Alzner's stick, it's hard to blame it on Holtby.

--Alex Ovechkin joked about being "old Alex" after the contest but there were definitely shades of the Washington captain taking control of the game when he powered his way up the ice for his six shots on goal. He didn't record a point but having that jump in his stride is certainly a good sign.

--With the secondary assist on Hendricks's goal, Scott Hannan recorded his first point as a Capital.

--The defeat knocked Washington to 14-2-5 when scoring the game's first goal.

By Katie Carrera  | January 24, 2011; 11:40 PM ET
Categories:  New York Rangers  
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Next: Goalie Braden Holtby the victim of unlucky bounce

Comments

I'd say that our best shot at winning the cup is in two years. I base theese conclusions on contractlengths and the hopeful maturation of some of our young players.

Hopefully we've found someone to complete the 1st line with Ovie and Backy (Fehr maybe?), who both should become better players from their struggles this season (what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?).

Semin is hopefully turned into a 2-way D to play with Green.

Fehr, Laich and hopefully Kuznetsov can hopefully be the wingers on our top-2 lines if someone wasn't brought in.

Chimera is off the books.

MaJo will, with the gained experience, be atleast a good 3rd line center. Eakin would hopefully be the 4th.

Hendricks, Beagle, Bradley, maybe even Knuble at a lower cost would most certainly be adequate bottom-six wingers

We have prospects in MP, A.Gordon or one of our three goalies to go along with picks to get us a decent #2C.
If Steckel, Schultz and Poti's bad contracts could magically be worked in to spice any trade i'd be more than thrilled. Otherwise you could send them to Hershey.

Alzner-Carlson will be o rock solid #2 D-pair by then.

Orlov has hopefully come over and adjusted to the speed and size of the rink and would bolster our PP. He could play 3rd pair with Hannan (at a much lower cost) and Erskine taking turns on his side.

The goaile situation has probably played itself out to show who will be no. 1. 1 of the other 2 (counting Holtby) can be used to fetch a top-4 Winger or if it's clear earlier, top help get a #2C.

In my dreams it could look something like this.

Semin + Schultz + 2nd pick for M.Staal + Callahan.
MP + Neuvirth + 1st + 3rd pick for Zajac/Fischer + prospect

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Fehr
Kuznetsov-Zajac-Callahan
Hendricks-Johansson-Laich
Bradley-Eakin-Beagle
Steckel-A.Gordon

Staal-Green
Alzner-Carlson
Hannan-Orlov
Erskine

Varlamov-Holtby

You'd have plenty of PK'ers, and our PP could look something like this.

PP1
Ovi-Callahan-Backstrom
Green-Orlov

PP2
Zajac/Fehr-Laich-Kuznetsov/MaJo
Carlson-Staal

Now THAT'S a contender!

Posted by: Walle | January 25, 2011 1:59 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else see that NYR goal the way I did? I don't think it hit anywhere on dude's right arm; the view from the center ice camera showed it going off of Alzners stick and going up and over everything before landing in the net...

Posted by: ChuckinMtP | January 25, 2011 2:22 AM | Report abuse

I realize that it's a lot of "hopefully's" and "if's", but i don't think it's too far out there to hope for this to occur.

2 former 1st round picks in Semin (has a point per game his last 5 seasons, 3-time 33+goal player) + Schultz (last year +50 +/-, easily logs 22-23 min/game) + a 2nd pick for Marc Staal, clearly more all-round than Schultz, but with 1,3 mil higher caphit + Ryan Callahan,
has reached 20 g/40 pts once in his career.

Both Ottawa and NJ are in need of a goalie, a 1st and a 3rd would suit them well, since they might want to go into to
rebuild-mode, and MP is a cheap, skilled prospect that might fit better in Ott than NJ, but could still fill the whole for the reminder of this year.

Callahan and Laich would need to be resigned for next year, both presumably at around $3 mil/yr. Alzner too, but would most likely not get more than what he already has (1,675 mil/yr).
Hannan might want to try the FA-market, but would never get anything close to what he already has (4,5 mil/yr). I Would take him for 2 yrs at maximum 3,5 mil/yr.

Johansson, Kuznetsov, Eakin and Orlov would all still be on their EL-contracts.
Green, Carlson, Fehr and Beagle would all be resigned as RFA's but only Carlson would get a big raise.

I have Varlamov in my calculations at around 1,8 mil/yr, comparable with Jon Quick.

Posted by: Walle | January 25, 2011 3:04 AM | Report abuse

@icehammer

I've been watching playoff hockey since before the Caps existed. You can't be that soft and win the big banana bowl. The Caps are softest team in the league. Why have so many fans made Hendricks their favorite player ? He's tough and skilled (Playoff tough). Serious fans know what we're missing in our lineup.


Hunter did not have the O weapons around him that this team has. Abe was cheap.
I'm certain that a Dale Hunter in that locker room last year would not have permitted that train wreck. Players would have been moved off season. These Habs were not "Mario and the boys". (Players should have been moved: Laich, Fehr, Stecks, Semin, Poti)

Hunter still got to the finals. The above 5 guys will NEVER get there !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | January 25, 2011 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Hunter: I realize you have been here as long as a lot of us which is what makes your statement so strange. Hunter captained most of the playoff failures that fans point to. What makes you think his presence would have made a difference last year when he was the leader of the locker room for all the other face plants? The Hunter lead Capitals weren't loaded with offensive talent, that's for sure, but they should have had the mental toughness to win one more game when leading a series 3-1.

Enough with these Hunter era comparisons. Hunter was one of the guys that took untimely penalties.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 25, 2011 6:40 AM | Report abuse

The BB coached Caps figure out another way to lose to a playoff level team late in the game. I am so shocked! I wonder if this will have an impact on how they might play in the playoffs? Hmm...

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | January 25, 2011 6:49 AM | Report abuse

@chuckin

Thank You! I thought I was taking crazy pills last night when Jaffe was describing the play. It CLEARLY bounced off gaborik's body, then off Alzner's stick, and didn't touch anything else before going into the net.

I couldn't believe that after 8 viewings, neither he nor Joe B. could see that. Thought it was pretty cut and dry. If the ref says it went off Gaborik's elbow -- then Toronto got it wrong too.

Posted by: bchockey041 | January 25, 2011 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Good lord GMGM please trade for a valid 2C already, watching that fricking Perrault line last night was just absolutely brutal! The guy is too fricking small to play in the NHL and gets bounced around like a ragdoll. That experiment is a failure already, get the piece this team needs please!

Posted by: PhilR | January 25, 2011 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Good lord GMGM please trade for a valid 2C already, watching that fricking Perrault line last night was just absolutely brutal! The guy is too fricking small to play in the NHL and gets bounced around like a ragdoll. That experiment is a failure already, get the piece this team needs please!

Posted by: PhilR

You do know that for salary cap purposes it is better for GMGM to wait until February to make a trade for a #2C. He may not even to be able to make the trade he wants to right now due to salary cap restraints

Posted by: sgm3 | January 25, 2011 7:49 AM | Report abuse

This coming from the guy who said Holtby didn't play well last night, go get some hockey IQ and then maybe we can discuss hockey on an adult basis sgm3.

Posted by: PhilR | January 25, 2011 7:55 AM | Report abuse

I am so disappointed about last night's game.

The only way we (the fans) will know if all this "bruceism" works, is what they do in the playoffs (if they get there).

Who in the HECK sits on a 1 goal lead in a regular season game? TWO SHOTS in the first 10+ minutes of the third period.

The Rangers had 7 ROOKIES and their 2nd string goalie in net. AND THE CAPS WERE AT HOME!

I, for one, am glad I didn't trek down to Verizon on a monday night spending all that money on TIX, FOOD, ECT...to watch that boring lifeless effort.

We (the fans) are now resign to the fact to be happy when "WE GET A POINT"...

Great.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 25, 2011 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Look how well New Jersey is playing since they hired their new coach.

Posted by: alling | January 25, 2011 8:00 AM | Report abuse

One thing that I love to see is how the person whining the most about the Caps move to a defense first system is BigBaby. He calls the system he put in place boring. Now, if the coach is not interested in a system he initiates, how enthused can the players be? Yep, NJD got Jasques Lamaire to coach again and look at the results to date. Before the change, what team did not look forward to 2 points? Now, they know the Devils will battle for possession and every lose puck. An aspect of this defensive system that puzzles me is why do the Caps tend to allow other teams to cycle in their zone so much? Does not seem like a good defensive system to me. With BB at the helm, the Caps will limp into the playoffs and be out in the first round.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | January 25, 2011 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Last nights game was so boring to watch, I almost changed it for reruns of Johny Socko and His Giant Robot.

The margin of error on the defense is so small when you generate so little offense. I do not like this new trap system, I do not like green eggs and ham.

This system does not suite the Caps personnel. You are taking skilled players and asking them to dumb down there game to a dump and chase. Our top line looks like a grinding line.

Posted by: cirrus_nine | January 25, 2011 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I know we lost the game in the first 60, but lets talk shootout. Why do we still put Ovie out there. I love what he brings to the game/team, wouldn't trade him heads up for anyone in the league... but he's flat out bad at penalty shots. I thought he was just a little tight his first couple seasons (no stats, just general feeling as casual viewer), but he's still awful. 16 for 50+???? please find someone else that has a move or two specifically for this.

Posted by: stromi | January 25, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

@ JIM...Hmm, if they use the shootout in the playoffs, maybe we will see the same result

Posted by: boomer44 | January 25, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I don't think anyone being "too small" is a good argument to get rid of them. With all the giant lunkheads distracted by their barreling into each other, you need the compact quickness that someone like Perreault brings to zip through the surrounding less-than-gorgeous skating. Maybe he's not the big bruiser the Caps need at second-line center, but it's not for lack of trying. Also, we need better passing accuracy across all lines. in the world of coulda-woulda-shoulda, I mean, if Beagle had made that first shot he had, we wouldn't even be talking like this right now. Also, keep in mind that Holtby was out there with the distinct disadvantage of not knowing the nuances of the players he was facing. I still think he played a great game and got burned by a random bounce.

Posted by: spacehog | January 25, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Being too small is an argument for knuckle dragging neanderthals. Just look at St. Louis and Briere for instance.

17 shots in 3 periods? The offense is suffering greatly in this trap boring system.

Posted by: theAnswerIs42 | January 25, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

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