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Poti on the penalties

The Washington Capitals allowed a one-goal lead in the third period to slip away largely because of a pair of penalties that led to goals for Ottawa in its 5-4 victory at Verizon Center.

The first penalty was interference against recent callup Mathieu Perreault, who earlier had scored to give the Capitals a 4-3 lead 24 seconds into the third period. Jason Spezza then tied it for the Senators at 5 minutes 13 seconds of the final period.

Then with 19 seconds left in overtime, Alex Kovalev won it after Nicklas Backstrom was called for tripping.

Here's what Tom Poti had to say following the game about the Capitals' taking too many penalties:

By Gene Wang  |  March 31, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
 
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Comments

Which team has the best PK?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 31, 2010 7:06 AM | Report abuse

According to espn.com stats:

PK Percentage

1. St. Louis - 86.4
2. Boston - 86.0
3. Buffalo - 85.8
4. San Jose - 85.0
5. Chicago - 84.6

25. Washington - 78.2

Posted by: eorr53 | March 31, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps it's time for BB to start sitting players who take DUMB penalties in the offensive zone - especially at critical points in the game (read: 3rd period and OT) - maybe that will get the message across - and they need to get the message before playoff time arrives (read: SOON).

Posted by: hersheybearfan | March 31, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

I think it shows how good this team is that we are concerned about our play even thought we got 13 of our last 20 points.

Pittsburgh - 11 of 20
N.J - 11
Buffalo - 13
Flyers - 8
San Jose - 9
Hawks - 8

This team will be fine..stay healthy..these games are nothing more then practice.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 31, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

There are worse times to hit a bump in the road, like late next week. Time for some locker room discussions to get back on track re: the penalties, the kill, and the D.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 31, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I can't help but think that Matty P is the 2nd best Center on this Club. It's not only because he has scored a goal in each of his two games back, it's because every time he is on the ice he makes things happen. The play prior to him scoring was set up because of his effort. He beat the defenseman to the puck on a dump in that lead to a scoring chance and the offensive zone face-off. His goal was a beautiful backhander.

He did take a penalty in the offensive zone but hit was a hard working play trying to get to the puck, not a lazy hook or trip to keep from having to backcheck.

I was surprised when he was sent back down earlier this season and happy that he is able to prove his worth right now. I assume the Caps will send him back down once BMo is ready to return rather than have him be a healthy scratch. If the Bears were in the basement of the AHL they probably would but why hamstring the Bears when you can call him up if need be via an emergency call-up. He doesn't make all that much so the Caps could probably keep him on the roster if they wanted to without exceeding the salary cap. Remember they can have as many players up as they want as long as they remain under the cap, no limit on bodies this time of year.

He may be small, but the kid can play the game.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 31, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock

He did the same thing earlier in the season and then leveled off...he has a heart of gold out there, but if you look at his body of work last time, he hit a bit of a wall.

We have too much depth at center IF the guys we have play to potential. He could be a 3rd line guy next year though.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 31, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

He began to level off when his wingers changed on daily basis. He was contributing regularly when he had Fehr on his wing, as he does now. The Caps as a whole were effective on their winning streak when the lines did not change. Of course to not suffer any injuries during that time was key. I just wonder how a player like Matty P would do on a line with Laich and Semin as his wingers. Not just for one game either. BMo has proven to be ineffective, even during the streak. Belanger just doesn't look hungry out there. He does have flashes of brilliance but then flat as heck. Belanger hobbled off the ice on two occasions yesteray but finished the game.

Anyone else wonder why maybe Flash didn't sit when BB appeared to go the 3 lines in the last 10 mins of the game rather than Fehr?

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 31, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

MP is making a great case for himself as a top 3 center...for next year. just dont see him staying up here for the playoffs (barring injury). love to see him play. got great hands and not afraid to go to the net at his size. need to see more of him taking faceoffs and playing defense.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | March 31, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the above comments about Perrault. This guy makes things happen and is constantly moving and gravitating towards the puck. He reminds me of St. Louis.

The best line this team can put together is Semin, Backs, and OV; although Knuble has done a great job, Semin and OV on the same line will neutralize the oppositions double teams on these two guys. These guys can play together with their eyes closed, it will be more team play and less individual.

Posted by: hock1 | March 31, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I disagree with the "depth" at center comment. Sure, we have bodies, but none of them are capable 2nd line centers. BMo is a 3rd line guy at best. I am dumbfounded by Belanger. I'm glad he's another face-off guy....but I am extremely disappointed with his performance. I think the team in general would have been better off calling up some Bears rather than acquiring Corvo and Belanger. I refuse to believe the awful play we've seen out of 77 is better than what Alzner could provide. As for 18...he does little more than win faceoffs and take up space.

Posted by: DisgustedinArlington | March 31, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Belanger is disappointing these days. Flash also did not respond to the wake up call.

Seems like Matty P made an appearance late season last year too, though no playoff time. I always love to see him in the lineup, though his stature is even smaller come the more rough and tumble playoffs. He does a nice job eluding hits, but there's only so much he can dish out.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 31, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

He began to level off when his wingers changed on daily basis. He was contributing regularly when he had Fehr on his wing, as he does now. The Caps as a whole were effective on their winning streak when the lines did not change. Of course to not suffer any injuries during that time was key. I just wonder how a player like Matty P would do on a line with Laich and Semin as his wingers. Not just for one game either. BMo has proven to be ineffective, even during the streak. Belanger just doesn't look hungry out there. He does have flashes of brilliance but then flat as heck. Belanger hobbled off the ice on two occasions yesteray but finished the game.

Anyone else wonder why maybe Flash didn't sit when BB appeared to go the 3 lines in the last 10 mins of the game rather than Fehr?

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 31, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse


I like Perreault, but he's overmatched as a center in the NHL, at least right now. Personally, I'd like to see him over on a wing instead of Flash. Flash needs to be benched. He looked absolutely terrible again last night and hasn't done much of anything for the last month aside from a lucky OT winner.

Posted by: cainoo7x | March 31, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

perhaps Poti should start playing like he did when Green was out earlier this year. Our defense is suspect at best right now, and it's showing. The trade for Korvo has been a bust, Morrisonn will be gone next year and Schultz may have to 2nd best plus minus, but he needs to either start a)kissing players in the corner or b) hitting people with his purse.

Posted by: erico31us | March 31, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

they will get substantially younger and faster next year...Morrison, Walker..gone...Belanger doesn't do much for me either...Corvo is struggling to contribute.

Perrault, Alzner, Sloan, and others will come in and replace the older guys.

Posted by: outrbnksm | March 31, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

the problem they got now is that teams have figured out a style to play to get after em...both Calgary and Ottawa played a physical, intimidating style of play and if the power play doesn't work so well, then the Caps get the crap beat out of em...look at all of the guys who have disappeared -

you see who isn't doing much, and they are getting pushed around. Really miss B. Laich..there is a big void with his absence.

Posted by: outrbnksm | March 31, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

BB is all hot air. he will sit no one. his nickname fits him to a T: Gabby. all he does is run his mouth. how about doing some coaching

Posted by: doughless | March 31, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, @doughless, Bruce has really "coached" them into the basement.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 31, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

And who's going to fill in for those who sit right now?

Posted by: Sonyask | March 31, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Perreault plays with a chip on his shoulder. I love watching him on the ice. The only guy to play 100% every minute he was out there.

Corvo looks horrid. I'd love for Jurcina to get healthy so we could sit Corvo. He does nothing. I agree that Alzner would have to be better though I haven't been too impressed with him.

We sorely need Laich back. If we could I'd love to see BB healthy scratch Flash too. Need to do something to kick him in gear.

Posted by: psujohn | March 31, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

One bright spot - can anyone really watch Green over the last few games and say he's a defensive liability? I've never believed that Greenie was as bad a defender as so many have claimed and he's really turned it on in his own zone lately.

Posted by: psujohn | March 31, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

ccording to espn.com stats:

PK Percentage

1. St. Louis - 86.4
2. Boston - 86.0
3. Buffalo - 85.8
4. San Jose - 85.0
5. Chicago - 84.6

25. Washington - 78.2

Posted by: eorr53 | March 31, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Either Bruce's penalty system is ineffective or the players are not buying into it. Something has got to change before the playoffs start.

Posted by: puckman | March 31, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Corvo looks horrid. I'd love for Jurcina to get healthy so we could sit Corvo. He does nothing. I agree that Alzner would have to be better though I haven't been too impressed with him.

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

"He was our top target. We identified him. And we got him."

Yeah Alzner is not an improvement over Corvo that I can see. I will say this. As limited as Corvo is defensively, his effort was better in periods 2 and 3 although he got stripped of the puck like taking candy from a baby midway thru the 3rd pd right behind his own net. When Corvo plays as hard as he can, he's serviceable at best defensively. When he doesn't play as hard as he can, he's a glaring liability.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 31, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Bruce as usual focuses on the wrong aspects. He talks about iffy goaltending. Well, how about talking about the fact your team was again not ready to start the game? Its officially a trend now. Thats on the coach's head, but he never accepts responsibility. He's always deflecting the blame. How about the saves our goalie made in the 3rd? He saved the game on at least 2 occasions in the 3rd.

Coach needs to also talk about his PK unit instead of dwelling on the penalties. What, does he think the Caps are the only team to take penalties? Penalties will always occur. Thats just life in the NHL. The bigger focus should be on the PK units. They suck.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 31, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

One bright spot - can anyone really watch Green over the last few games and say he's a defensive liability? I've never believed that Greenie was as bad a defender as so many have claimed and he's really turned it on in his own zone lately.

Posted by: psujohn | March 31, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

i mentioned this yesterday. Green HAS been a liability in the past, his play last year was putrid defensively. This year its been much better and his play over the last month or so has been very impressive defensively. If he played like this LAST yr, he may have won the Norris. I thought he played very well last night.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 31, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, @doughless, Bruce has really "coached" them into the basement.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 31, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

no, he's coached them into an amazing regular season record. But its highly debatable that an all-out offensive style with nothing more than lip svc paid to defensive hockey can have great success in the playoffs. If playoff hockey resembled reg season hockey, then I think there would be a lot less grumbling.

For Bruce to win in the playoffs, his team defense/PK units will suddenly have to improve (which means a couple of his pet players may have to ride the pine). And his goaltending will have to save us. All year long the two constants have been good goaltending and strong play from the forwards on the offensive end. With the addition of Corvo we're a slightly worse defensive team now and the forwards have not been helping lately.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 31, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Either Bruce's penalty system is ineffective or the players are not buying into it. Something has got to change before the playoffs start.

Posted by: puckman

Unfortunately, it is what it is. I recommend you go back to the live chat post and read some of tmac2yao's posts. He makes some great points about the defense and the PK, at this point we can't all of a sudden vastly improve on the PK.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 31, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Two good points cstanton:
- you don't need superman in goal if you have a team playing defense in front
- penalties will happen (or at least get called against us) and you should be able to kill more than 1 of 4

Don't know if it's BBs system or just guys not playing hard but last night at least there was zero pressure at the blueline on the PK. Buncha guys standing around saying "come on in and set yourselves up".

Posted by: psujohn | March 31, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

four minors is hardly a lot of penalties... the problem is their inept PK, not the number of penalties

Posted by: joek443 | March 31, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

My two biggest worries for the playoffs are

1) The PK (obvious)

2) The teams ability to almost always give up a glorious scoring chance after scoring a goal. The teams almost seems to stop playing defense during the first minute after scoring.

I think MP will be a valuable addition to the Caps in the upcoming years but right now he is a defensive liability. I love his skills, his energy, and his offensive play but you can tell he needs to improve his strength so he can play along the boards in the defensive end.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 31, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

jesus joe, the rubber finally met the road.

final note on penalties -- even if the Caps do everything they can to avoid penalties, at some point the refs will invariably try to even them up to some extent. You're not gonna go thru a playoff series having to only kill one penalty a game. Nowhere this season in all the penalty talk have I ever seen the Caps have to kill off 7 or 8 minors in a game. Its usually in the 4 to 5 variety which really isn't a big deal.

The only dwelling on penalties should be to try and cut down on the bad ones. The lazy hooks.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 31, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

The teams ability to almost always give up a glorious scoring chance after scoring a goal. The teams almost seems to stop playing defense during the first minute after scoring.
-------------------------

this trend has existed for a while now. Not just this year. The Caps always play well from behind as they claw their way back into a game. The instant they score, they let up.

I know what Hanlon (despite his deficiencies) used to do really well. Right after a goal got scored by either team, the first line he would throw out there would be our best defensive checking line (at that time it was Brads-Sutherby-Clymer). He also started every period with that line. It set the tone for a certain work ethic.

Even though right now Steckel's been taking a bit of a beating defensively, his line has got to be on the ice for that first shift after a goal by either opposition. That line goes all out and plays responsible hockey at both ends. Its a good momentum line.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 31, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

there is no secret to great PK... you gotta be aggressive and put your best players on the unit...

the Caps do neither so it's no wonder they suck

Posted by: joek443 | March 31, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

btw, just to show you there is a precedent for seriously questioning a coach who has led his team to the league's best reg season record -- the Devils fired their coach before the playoffs started while they were leading the league, and the new coach Larry Robinson coached them to a Cup victory that same year.

I'm not saying to fire Boudreau. But it is perfectly ok to point out what seem to be serious flaws in his choice of personnel and system.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 31, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

thats why the Rangers and Bruins have good PK units. Their forwards challenge the point and disrupt any type of easy setup. And their D plays aggressively in the crease and along the boards. The Rangers don't have a big defense but players like Del Zotto and Staal clean up forwards along the boards. They just rub them out and clear the puck.

Matt Cooke really helped us on our PK when he got here. He played a simple game. Used his speed and aggressiveness to disrupt the point. He and Steckel were unbelievable together.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 31, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

as for Eric Belanger being a "gritty defensive center" I haven't seen that either. He's more of a finesse center with great speed and some decent defensive instincts. But he's not close to being a gritty defensive center. He rarely mucks it up along the boards the way Steckel does even when his wings are playing up high.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 31, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

No need to panic- they are just playing out the season. Tighten up the last few games here and figure out who will stop the puck in the playoffs.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | March 31, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

i dunno, you think Boudreau would be more accountable for the slow start. Check this out.

Boudreau scoffed when asked about the slide's significance.

"The difference between last year and this year, is last year we were playing teams that were out of the playoffs, so our level of play came down," he said. "I think the teams we're playing are fighting for something. That was a hard fought game. That wasn't a go-through-the-motions type game, let's get the season over with. You had two teams wanting it. So I don't think our level of play will be dropping like last year."

he acts like the Caps played a 60min game. And he pins the entire loss on the goals-against (i.e. our iffy goaltending as he puts it). That tells me he's a bit clueless or he's covering his own butt.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 31, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

sound post via tmac from game thread.

@cstanton

That was exactly what I was getting at earlier.

It's as if this team doesn't even know how to tighten it up and stop taking risks.

They are so heavily wired to go, go, go, run-and-gun that it's a total foreign concept to some of these guys to make simple plays and be in position and prepared to backcheck when we lose possession.

A coach can't just say, "OK, guys, plays smart and conservatively now" after drilling into them a certain style of play for 3 years.

If we improve defensively, aside from personnel changes which will only go so far no matter who the players are, you need to teach them how to play good individual and team defense over time. so they develop those innate habits.

We are a high risk team for the remainder of this season at a minimum. We may get some stellar goaltending, strong effort and good fortune but we will have more defensive lapses than most every other team in the playoffs. That's a virtual guarantee. The quesiton is whether our offense, goaltending and good luck can make up for it.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 30, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

agreed, its a virtual guarantee that we will give up more quality scoring chances than other teams in the playoffs and thats when McPhee's vision for this team will be put to the test. To see if his overloaded offensive team/style can make up for deficiencies in other areas.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 31, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I think Belanger has been playing fine. His problem is he is unable to finish scoring opportunities. But if he was able to do so he wouldn't have been available.

Belanger isn't gritty but that speed and the threat of speed is very useful on both ends. I just hope he can finish off a few of his chances in the playoffs.

I am a big fan of Steckel but he has seemed very slow the past few games. He has never had much speed but he looks extremely slow lately and his lack of speed has been a liability.

If everyone gets healthy and Steckel continues to look the same I think sitting him out in the playoffs is a possibility that would have to be looked at.

To BB's credit, even though the defense was poor, Theo was pretty bad in the 1st period. But Theo played very well after that. The defense was poor throughout the game and did leave Theo out to dry.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 31, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I'll tell ya, prior to the trade for Belanger I was at least happy because I thought at worst he was an upgrade over BMo.

I don't think that anymore, mainly due to BMo's resurgence. His play recently was that of a sparkplug. Using his speed to forecheck, playing really hard at both ends of the ice, crashing the net, finishing checks. All things Belanger can also do but chooses not to. If he played harder, he'd open himself up to more scoring opportunties as well.

Frankly, all of the McPhee deadline moves are proving to be of minimal benefit. I don't think Walker will get any real ice time. Corvo stinks. Belanger is decent, but nothing that puts us over the top.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 31, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

which gets back to the trade deadline discussion: what pieces did the Caps need to add? At the time, I though defenseman and top line power forward. we got neither.

Posted by: doughless | March 31, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Knuble is a good power forward to pair with Ovechkin and Backstrom.

That was not a need.

What was a need as indicated was a physical defenseman who could clear people out in front of the net and be the veteran presence to stabilize things and prevent the team from going into and out of these funks where the players are listless for a period here and there which prevents the team from finishing off a 4-1 lead with a 6-1 final score. Instead teams battle back and the Caps end up in OT.

Playing at home against Ottawa the Caps should have been able to nail down the game with a 4-3 lead in the third period.

Past Caps' playoff teams in the 1980's that were far less talented but more disciplined routinely brought home wins when up by a single goal after the second period.

There is no Rod Langway or Scott Stevens here now. Mike Green is an offensive player but he doesn't scare anyone on the backline.

The only Caps' defender forwards are intimidated by is Erskine but he is limited in terms of skating and puck moving.

Posted by: leopard09 | March 31, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Could someone please suggest politely to Poti that he stop winding up for a slap shot to clear the puck when he is killing a penalty--a wrister works just as well and releases the puck much faster. It drives me crazy to see blown clears because an opposing player has time to disrupt Poti's windup or block the puck when he had plenty of time to wrist the puck out of the zone. (The same applies in the offensive zone for his slapshots from the point, by the way--his huge, slow windup gives goalies and d-men plenty of time to set up and block/save the shot--but that's less costly than blown clears during the ailing PK.)

Posted by: jhershb | March 31, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I just want us to win two or three more games in regulation for the rest of the season rather then playing overtime games all the time

Posted by: kickass10101 | March 31, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Theo can stop letting goals go in off his back. Its not the PK or the refs. Take away those weak @$$ goals last night and the Caps win 5-1 or 5-2.

Posted by: Shiba-fussa | March 31, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

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