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Posted at 12:00 AM ET, 01/ 5/2011

Capitals fall, 1-0, in overtime to Lightning

By Katie Carrera

After two meetings with offensive fireworks, one might not have expected the low-scoring, goaltending duel that the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning played on Tuesday night. But with an advantage in the Southeast Division standings at stake, intensity remained high until Martin St. Louis scored in overtime to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 victory.

The overtime victory gives the Lightning a 53-52 edge in points, with a game in hand over Washington, at the top of the division. The two teams will meet again in Tampa Bay on Jan. 12.

A 1-0 game is quite unusual for the Capitals, though. The last time Washington lost 1-0 was March 2, 2004 to the Florida Panthers and the last time the Capitals and opponent were scoreless through regulation was when they and the Ottawa Senators finished with a 0-0 tie in Apr. 5, 2002. The last time Washington was shut out at home, however, came much more recently: a 3-0 loss to the Florida Panthers on Dec. 9.

Historical references aside, this was a game for the goaltenders. Both Semyon Varlamov and Dwayne Roloson settled in and frustrated the opposing shooters, making 37 and 34 saves, respectively. But when Varlamov made a kick save on a shot by Vincent Lecavalier in overtime, the puck popped out to the slot where the speedy St. Louis fired it into the net.

"Varly played great today," Alex Ovechkin said. "We played great in the defensive zone. We made one mistake and they used that mistake. It's a tough loss but it is what it is."

With Varlamov doing his part in one net, Roloson made waves during his debut with the Lightning after being acquired from the New York Islanders on Jan. 1.

Ovechkin said the 41-year-old Roloson made "unbelievable saves a couple of times" and Matt Hendricks remarked about his ability to smother rebounds or simply limit second-chance opportunities. But although his team took 34 shots, Coach Bruce Boudreau emphasized the need to pressure for quality chances.

"I think we could have got more" scoring chances, Boudreau said. "If we had went to the net a little harder, we would have scored goals. I mean 34 shots, when you have the ability to get more chances than that -- I don't know. We're not scoring a lot of goals. Thank God we're getting good goaltending and playing solid defense because we're not scoring a lot of goals."

In nine games since losing 7-0 to New York on Dec. 12, the Capitals have given up just 14 goals, never allowing more than three in a contest, but they've scored only 22 goals themselves. Adding to the contrast is that in the same nine-game span, Washington is 30 for 32 on the penalty kill but has scored just three power-play goals in 35 tries.

As for the stark contrast in style of game from Tuesday night as compared to the Capitals' first two meetings with the Lightning this year -- 6-3 and 6-0 wins by Washington -- Tampa Bay Coach Guy Boucher said it was all part of the plan.

"We came in here and didn't try to run and gun it," Boucher said. "The last two times we came in here we were trying to have more skill than their skill guys and play their game....We wanted a 0-0 game. I didn't necessarily expect a 0-0 game but we want a 0-0 mentality game and that's what we got."

By Katie Carrera  | January 5, 2011; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Semyon Varlamov, Tampa Bay Lightning  
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Next: Capitals get another crack at Tampa Bay in short time


if you don't like the style they're playing now, are you saying they should open up even more and win 8-7??

It may be "boring" to some but in case you haven't noticed, it's working if you look at their record since that 7-0 beat-down in NY.

Posted by: joek443 | January 5, 2011 12:27 AM | Report abuse

This power play needs to figure it out.

Posted by: chrisclarksucks | January 5, 2011 12:31 AM | Report abuse

The problem with the Caps offense is that they are predictable. Guy carries the puck across the blue line, throws it on net. Every time. Throw, whack, and pray.

The best plays I've seen from Ovi this year is him carrying the puck done the left wing, then quickly dishing if off to his line mate once the goalie and D prepare for him to shoot. That kind of play leads to quality scoring chances because it pulls the goalie and D out of position. But in the BBverse passes are being "too cute". So it's throw, whack, and pray.

Posted by: ablake70 | January 5, 2011 12:44 AM | Report abuse

Everyone is in love with the grinders, but it's the skill guys that get the ball rolling. Buff had eight playoff goals last year, but it was the offensive talents of Kane and Toews that made it happen.

How are the Hawks doing this year without all those grinders they had to let go??

AGAIN it's not grinders vs. skill players... I'm saying you need BOTH!!!

Posted by: joek443 | January 5, 2011 12:47 AM | Report abuse

I can't find what our team rank is by shooting pct, but it can't be good. Here are some interesting facts. We have 4 players ranked in the top 100 and 3 of them have played more games in Hershey than in DC (yes, I understand that it's skewed because they have very few shots, but still interesting). If I knew what the problem was, I'd be coaching. Perhaps it's patience with the puck, or just be willing to pay the price and get the garbage goals. Anyway, here are CAPS in the top 100 in shooting pct:

#13 - Jay Beagle
#20 - Mathiew Perreault
#24 - Andrew Gordon
#90 - Alexander Semin

Oh yeah, Ovie is ranked #384.

Halfway through the season and we have been shutout 5 times already. We didn't get knocked out of the playoffs because of our defense. We got knocked out because our PP was terrible and we couldn't score. Hmmmm....

Posted by: justthefacts22 | January 5, 2011 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Actually, the last Caps game I remember then losing 1-0 was in the 2009 playoffs -- in Game 2 against the New York Rangers which is much more recent than 2004. (Or is this article only counting regular season?)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 5, 2011 1:35 AM | Report abuse

@ablake70 (from previous thread)

Our "skill" guys haven't exactly been productive as of late. Which is why people have probably proposed jettisoning them.

I understand your point, in that we need skill guys in order to win against the "elite" teams.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 5, 2011 1:40 AM | Report abuse

I blame the loss on Poti's poor decision-making, in choosing to attempt a pass d-to-d, across center ice, to his partner who was being pressured.

I'm sure some of you have already pointed it out.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 5, 2011 2:13 AM | Report abuse

a 5 - 8 record while changing style doesn't make for confidence inspiring.
Who's to say they even have the players to play your old skool Caps 80's-90's style j443?

You can't change a swan into an geese over night.
& ost of the time, it's a crash dive into the pond...icy one at that.

Posted by: Rocc00 | January 5, 2011 4:07 AM | Report abuse

That was simply an awful pass by Schultz.

Speaking of passing, Hannan really needs to bear down, he misfires on way too many outlet passes for a #1 pairing guy.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | January 5, 2011 4:48 AM | Report abuse

richmondphil2 said:
I blame the loss on Poti's poor decision-making, in choosing to attempt a pass d-to-d, across center ice, to his partner who was being pressured.
when I saw that play I thought that it definitely is not a good one and moments later there was goal...

Posted by: Bastinda | January 5, 2011 5:31 AM | Report abuse

@ablake70: well, when the Caps were all run and gun, they got predictable too. I see them doing a combination of styles (run and gun, dump the puck deep and get it on net) and a more defensive type of play, which is something people on this blog have been screaming for. The "throw, whack and pray" that you're talking about does provide for rebounds sometimes. I don't see the guys going to the net enough. I thought there were some missed opportunities last night with the rebounds, but Roloson deserves a lot of credit for his goal tending.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | January 5, 2011 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Great give away by Mrs Poti costing the Caps at least a shot at the win last night in a shoot out. And people were giving me crap on here yesterday when I was complaining that he was getting a sweater over Erskine, hell I would almost rather see Sloan/Fahey over Mrs Poti at this point. The guy has always been a mediocore dman at best and now is just old and washed up IMHO, please keep his butt in the pressbox with the nachos and franks.

Posted by: PhilR | January 5, 2011 7:08 AM | Report abuse

I was holding my breath every time I saw Poti and 55 out there together. What a disaster waiting to happen, oh that's right it did!

Poti is washed up and 55 is as slow a decision maker and passer as there is. Why is BB so in love with that guy? He doesn't hit, he can barely clear a puck, and he doesn't clean anyone out of the crease. Great d-man!
Eskine should have played!
PK is aggressive and working, PP is boring and predictable.

Posted by: nwdodson | January 5, 2011 7:33 AM | Report abuse

The Caps need a new coach

Posted by: coachgranny | January 5, 2011 7:58 AM | Report abuse


I also blame Poti for that goal, and he did not have a very good game...he couldn't keep the puck in play to save his life, but it was his first game back in how long? Is it surprising he was rusty?

To infer that he is barely better than Sloan is ludicrous! If he gets back to where he was before injury, he is just as good as Erskine (less physical, more in position). It was a frustrating loss, and neither team played well (besides the goalies)

He may or may not get back to his old self, but if you didn't already hate the guy (and calling a player on your own team Mrs. is kinda rude) you would have given him a little lattitude for a first game back.

Posted by: capscoach | January 5, 2011 7:59 AM | Report abuse

The Caps need a new coach

Posted by: coachgranny | January 5, 2011 7:59 AM | Report abuse

I thougth Ovie looked a little better and Backie was at least noticeable in that game, but the power play just looks pathetic.

I watched a Detroit PP last week, and the difference I noticed was that they were CONSTANTLY moving...not just the guy with the puck, but every player. We are so stagnant on the PP...we have learned to be agressive on the PK, and not that needs to carry over to the PP.

Semin looks pretty bad lately...I mean we talk about Ovie changing his game, and I have noticed more of an effort lately, but Semin is same old same old. I didn't even notice Laich was playing until the end of the 2nd! MoJo looked a litte more inspired after getting bumped to the 2nd line, but Semin seems less than coachable lately.

When I was at practice on Monday, I could not help but notice that Semin seemed slow and uninterested. Maybe it was just that day, or I misintepreted, but everyone else was working there tails off...esp. Laich, Chimera, Hendricks, and Beagle.

Posted by: capscoach | January 5, 2011 8:07 AM | Report abuse

LISTEN UP CAPS FANS .... Im not a troll I have been a Caps fan since 1983 I mostly read with posting much .I am a retired high school football coach ( O-LINE )& Head Coach from the METRO *MD* AREA . I have not miss a game going back to 2007 . My thoughts on the Caps issues start with Alexander Ovechkin . Every night he does the same ole junk just like 1-2 of our defensemen . He does not have GAME any more and as far as being a super star I will laugh at the lable . Its one thing to have a off night here & there but this KAT has NO smarts on adjusting to what other teams are doing defense wise to him .
He has no dribble skills , he has no passing skills has does not see the ice in front or to his right . He chokes every darn time he comes up the left side of the zones . He skates around on the ice watching his team mates fighting for the puck along the boards he seems to be waiting for something he is no different then the other 1-2 guys who should not be out there playing . This team needs to bring up a player name CODY EKAN from Canada . I have been watching him play in the Jr nationals this guy has it all passing , dribbling shooting on the net . This guy can see the ice from every point on the ice . alex has no burning fire it seems like any more . Just think about it the quote *** whatca done for me lately*** should be on everyones mind. I HATE SIDNEY CROSBY I HATE SIDNEY CROSBY , BUT he has passed Alex in every aspect of the game I HATE SIDNEY CROSBY I HATE SIDNEY CROSBY .

alexander Ovechkin right now STINKS and that super star tag needs to go in the trash ! And take useless semen with you .

Posted by: doggydodo | January 5, 2011 8:17 AM | Report abuse


as a HS coach, you should know the dangers of taking an extremely talented KID and rushing his development to play with men! He is small, young, and has no experience playing in the pro-leagues...lets give him some time in Hershey before we rush him in to the NHL.

I think we did a diservice to MoJo by not giving him time in Hershey.

As for Ovie...he looked decent last night. Crosby is playing 100X better than ovie THIS SEASON, but the ACTUAL PLAYERS have voted him MVP three years in a row over Crosby...I trust their judgement more than your opinion.

I think Ovie is going to have to do some soul searching. I doubt he recovers this season, but maybe a REALLY abysmal season will force him to check his ego.

So many blame BB for Ovie's can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink...I can GUARANTEE that no coach can fix Ovie...he has to make the decision to do it himself...and those who say just get tougher on him or what have you, no nothing about how to get the most out of your pupils. This is Ovie's issue and he has to be the one to figure it out.

Posted by: capscoach | January 5, 2011 8:30 AM | Report abuse

A game like last night's underscores why the shootout is insidious. Under NHL rules, shootout goals do not count towards a goaltender's goals allowed or GAA stats. So had last night's game gone to a shootout, both goalies would have been credited with shutouts....yet one of them also would have been credited with an OTL (not a "loss," true; an "overtime loss," which is not the same thing). The idea that you can have a shutout yet lose makes no sense.

Posted by: 1995hoo | January 5, 2011 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Let me guess, another hot goaltender?

Posted by: SirPelleas | January 5, 2011 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Eakin's not ready. In fact I am willing to bet we see two Caps prospects playing tonight who are well ahead of Eakin at this stage in their development:

Orlov, who has impressed everyone with his D, put up a ton of pts and looks to be a lock to make the all-tournament team, &
Kuznetzov, who almost single-handedly revived Russia from a lackluster death vs. Finland, put the team on his back and put them into the gold medal game. Kuz is nasty!

Posted by: Timbo_1 | January 5, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

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