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Posted at 11:49 PM ET, 01/12/2011

Capitals lose 3-0 to Lightning, miss out on chance to move up in Southeast

By Katie Carrera

For the second straight game the Capitals spotted their opponent a two-goal lead in the first period, but Wednesday night at the St. Pete Times Forum there would be no comeback like there was Tuesday against the Panthers. And this time it would cost Washington more than two points: Tampa Bay's 3-0 shutout of the Capitals allowed the Lightning to take over sole possession of first place in the Southeast Division.

After last night's slow start in South Florida, the Capitals wanted to get things rolling quickly against the Lightning but instead it was the other way around. Washington is now 12-12-3 when their opponent scores first.

"We couldn't get anything started," Scott Hannan said. "We pressed, I think we tried to do too much sometimes and it cost us. Those are two big games. We're going to have to rebound, we're going to have to come back and play better than that. We can't come out like that."

Slow start aside, it wasn't until Simon Gagne's goal late in the second period, which made it 3-0, that it seemed like any chance of a comeback was gone.

"I definitely think it was a backbreaker," Coach Bruce Boudreau said of Gagne's goal. "Any time you're within two you're within striking distance, 'cause you get one and they start to backpedal a little bit and you get emotionally into it. It did some damage."

Dwayne Roloson recorded his second shutout against the Capitals in as many games against them since he joined Tampa Bay on Jan. 1 from the New York Islanders. He has posted a combined 57 saves between the two games, but in this one it didn't seem like Washington was able to get as many quality or follow-up chances against the 41-year-old.

"When we had our chances we weren't making him make huge saves," John Carlson said. They went "just in his shoulders, in his stomach and he was able to at least knock the puck down right in front of him instead of it coming back out to someone's stick."

Tampa Bay moves up to 57 points, a two-point cushion on the Capitals, who with 55 are only seven ahead of Carolina, which occupies ninth place in the Eastern Conference. The largest bright spot for Washington out of this one was the play of goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who like Michal Neuvirth vs. Florida, kept the possibility of a comeback alive. But more on Varlamov's performance in the morning.

--Defenseman Tom Poti left the game with what Boudreau termed a lower-body injury after his first shift of the second period and did not return. Poti most recently returned to the lineup after missing three games with a concussion but has also suffered from a nagging groin injury this season.

--Boyd Gordon returned to the lineup and played 10:01 including 3:06 on the penalty kill, where he appeared to fit right back in to the Capitals' system. Washington got plenty of time to work out the short-handed kinks from the night before and thwarted all six Lightning chances, but giving one of the top-five power plays in the league that many tries isn't good for self-preservation in the long-term, either.

By Katie Carrera  | January 12, 2011; 11:49 PM ET
Categories:  Tampa Bay Lightning  
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Next: Boudreau says 'a lot of things not going right' for Capitals' slumping stars


The Hockey Gods have intervened AGAIN and granted Erskine a reprieve from his token-game-every-two-weeks sentence. It'll be good to have the only hardnosed dman back in the lineup consistently. Since Hannan's acquisition, and BB's subsequent comment about ice-time being based on merit, here are the stats for the backline:

Carlson (19gp) 1g 5a 6pts +4 13hits 29blocks 32shots 14giveaways 12takeaways 0fights

Alzner (19gp) 1g 2a 3pts +4 33hits 22blocks 26shots 9giveaways 7takeaways 0fights

Green (17gp) 3g 5a 8pts +2 49hits 38blocks 43shots 18giveaways 9takeaways 0fights

Erskine (14gp) 0g 3a 3pts +1 36hits 23blocks 13shots 7giveaways 0takeaways 1fight

Hannan (18gp) 0g 0a 0pts -5 22hits 26blocks 11shots 15giveaways 1takeaway 0fights

Shultz (10gp) 0g 0a 0pts -4 6hits 15blocks 4shots 6giveaways 2takeaway 0fights

Poti (13gp) 0g 5a 5pts -6 4hits 15blocks 12shots 8giveaways 0takeaways 0fights

Sloan (2gp) 0g 0a 0pts -2 1hit 1block 0giveaways 0takeaways 0fights

Fahey (2gp) 0g 0a 0pts even 1hit 1block 0giveaways 0takeaways 0fights

Three things come to mind. First, it's amazing that #4 is a plus-player having been paired with Poti/Shultz/Sloan/Fahey. Second, Shultz is just as awful as I've always said he is. Now that he's lost his meal-ticket Mike Green, he's being exposed like never before. Kinda makes Erskine's play w/the same partners seem more impressive. Third, I wonder if there's any resentment in the clubhouse over how Hannan just came in and took stole Greenie from Shultz.

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 13, 2011 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Katie: I have nothing but respect for you and the Post. Your paper has been a stalwart for democracy in this country. I therefore ask respectfully that you lead reporters undercover like in 1972 and uncover the truth on...


The following questions must be answered:

Why doesn't Ovechkin smile anymore?

Why can't he shoot or pass without whiffing?

Why is it when Ovechkin and another player collide Ovi goes down like suit when you put it in the laundry chute?

You might need to break into Kettler Ice Rink at night to find answers. Are there MRIs? Blood test results? Dear John letters from Russian models?

You will need:

A flashlight. A camera. And a strong sense for the truth.

Do it, Katie. A Pulitizer awaits.

Your fan

BTW, I hope the Ravens kill the Steelers.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | January 13, 2011 1:03 AM | Report abuse

I blame Ovi's slump purely on Gillette.

Posted by: gsockol | January 13, 2011 1:08 AM | Report abuse


The results are the results:

3.44 goals/gm over 25 games before Flash trade

2.11 goals/gm over 19 games after Flash trade

That isn't a 0.1 or 0.1 difference. That is a 1.3 goals/gm difference. That has been the only major change in the players over that time.

Does system have something to do with it, sure. But a 25 game sample size and a 18 game sample size are decent sizes. To just say that it happened purely because of coincidence is not a very convincing argument.

I do find it funny that you say that I drink Kool-Aid when all I posted were real statistics that show the Caps have tied for the 2nd best record in the NHL over the past 10 games. You can't deny that, it is fact. Take from it what you will, but that statement is fact.


"Of course all 300 of us don't know what we're talking about - if we did, we'd be in the game."


Can you take things out of context anymore. Are you not capable of realizing that GMGMs statement was directed towards writers and TV analysts(i.e. Mike Milbury or Barry Melrose) who had worked in the game but are out because they were poor at their jobs. It was not directed toward you or any other fan.

This is true for the networks in all sports, they end up hiring former coaches or GMs who are only available because they were fired for being horrible at their job.

Then those "expert" analysts are hired to start giving their opinions on how to GM or coach a team, like it is the absolute right way. Hence, the "if they were so smart they would still be in the game" (GMGM didn't use the word "still" but it has the same effect).

i.e. Matt Millen on ESPN
i.e. Steve Phillips on ESPN
i.e. Mike Milbury NBC and TSN
i.e. (I'm sure there is an NBA analyst)
i.e. Herm Edwards
i.e. Barry Melrose
etc., etc.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 13, 2011 1:08 AM | Report abuse

Well, that's it for me. This was one ugly game.

"How ugly was it, Johnny?"

"It was, ahh, it was ahh so ugly that even Nancy Pelosi's dog couldn't watch."


The crowd: "Boo! BOO! BOO!!!"

Johnny: (to crowd) "May the, ahh, may the ha-ha fleas from a Pittsburgh woman's armpits lay their eggs on your toothbrush."

Posted by: tominsocal1 | January 13, 2011 1:10 AM | Report abuse

So are we gonna see BB on Versus one day?

Posted by: pokerface1208 | January 13, 2011 1:16 AM | Report abuse

SGM - you pinning our goals per game avg decline to Flash not being here is about as legit as "soaringcaps" complaining about OV not skating in practice.

I mean we talkin bout practice man. What are we talkin bout? Practice! We not even tawlkin bout a game ma'. We talkin bout practice.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | January 13, 2011 1:21 AM | Report abuse

Oh and "soaringcaps", it's been reported that OV isn't out partying tonight. Rumor has it he had a plane to catch. More to come.........

Posted by: pokerface1208 | January 13, 2011 1:22 AM | Report abuse

Is the Redskins playoff game cancelled this weekend?

Posted by: pokerface1208 | January 13, 2011 1:24 AM | Report abuse

sgm: Flash was part of the problem. Really. The offensive slump since he left is a coincidence. Meanwhile since he left - you can check the stats - I'll bet our goals against has improved. Also, even though Flash hardly played PK, our PK has improved (also then coincidence).

Really, sgm, anyone who thinks the Caps are losing due to trading Flash needs to stop taking acid.

The Caps are losing because Ovi $uck$ over the last six weeks. $9.5M and he can't even carry the puck. His play recently is pathetic. And Backie has joined him now on the "Caravan of Apathy."

Some low-grade acid might be good for listening to "The Allman Brothers Band at Fillmore East" but not for evaluating what ails the Caps.

Someone please cue "Whipping Post." It's about how it is to be a fan these days.

"Good Lord I feel like I'm dyin'."

Posted by: tominsocal1 | January 13, 2011 1:25 AM | Report abuse

Maybe chicken little is right

Posted by: pokerface1208 | January 13, 2011 1:35 AM | Report abuse

Hey Slurpeesarecool, maybe you can help with the goat's blood stains. What do you use clean off the cherry slurpee stains when you are working third shift at the 7-11? Oh, by the way, how did your Habs do tonight?


You guys can have A. Kostitsyn, Spacek, and Cammalleri to join your soft ass team. They'd be perfect fits.

And at I least I fit the billing of an "intelligent" DMVer.

Posted by: slurpeesarecool | January 13, 2011 1:38 AM | Report abuse

I don't know why people have such a difficult time analyzing why a hockey team succeeds or fails? Is it because we are blinded as Americans by baseball?

You watch baseball. Your team, the Orioles, wins 19 of 20 as Brooks and Frank Robinson, your favorites, hit .400 over that stretch and knock in, together, 45 runs. Then they lose the World Series 4-1 to the Mets as Brooks and Frank fail to hit.

Koosman shuts down the O's in game 2; Swoboda makes a great catch in RF; the Mets get some timely hits; and the O's fail in the clutch.

Good goaltending; strong D; tough play; score when you get the chance.

You win when you play well and lose when you stink.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | January 13, 2011 1:40 AM | Report abuse

Whoops, AADCDERMatologist, I meant.

Enjoy your "Boudreau is the shining light for the NEW NHL" line of thought. You know you will suffer. Habs won't make it far this year, but we'll be better next year, and Subban will break poor Chimera's pride so much he'll be crying to mommy.

Posted by: slurpeesarecool | January 13, 2011 1:42 AM | Report abuse

Actually, Spacek lays the wood too often for the Craps McPhail to like. AADCDERMatologist, you can have "sniper" Travis Moen instead.

Posted by: slurpeesarecool | January 13, 2011 1:46 AM | Report abuse


I'll take Cammalleri.

In return you get:

Poti, Sloan, Poti's groin, Perreault, a second round pick in the 2020 draft, the remainder of Nylander's contract, DJ King (we don't use him), Alexander Giroux (Oops, he's already gone), Sean Collins, Aucoin, the hex on Ovechkin, Hadeed, Boudreau's bird call skills, the Caps' poor work ethic and a future contract extension mistake by McPhee to be named later.


Posted by: tominsocal1 | January 13, 2011 1:55 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of acid, we must really ask (Katie, that would be you) how much McPhee took before he inked Poti to that extension.

That was $5.75M he committed.

Any of you ever spend that much? Let's say for a second you HAD $5.75M.

You come home (like Kobe Bryant did after his "incident") with this giant diamond ring the size of Boyd Gordon's split and swollen toe. What does the wife say? And what does she do in response? He-he.

You spend the $5.75M and buy a house larger than Milbury's ego. Again, the wife expresses her joy...

You spend the $5.75M and tell the wife when you get home you gave it to Tom Poti for two more years of damaged groin play. You say it was a good deal.

She drops a still-frozen Swanson dinner in front of you and says, "Do it yourself." Ouch.

WWGT. "What Was George Thinking?"

Posted by: tominsocal1 | January 13, 2011 2:19 AM | Report abuse

I was watching NHL on the fly and Weeks made a very good point. He stated (paraphrase) that the Caps confused. Their not sure if they should play offense or defense. They can't decide it they should dump & chase, stick handle or pass.
Just a split second of delay in the NHL allows the defense to react. IMO this is the Caps overall problem.
Ovie may want to consider a new batch of sticks.
Poti really sucked tonight before he got hurt (shocking that he got hurt). I have to agree, Schultz looked like crap.

Posted by: chriscaps | January 13, 2011 2:50 AM | Report abuse

What is wrong with our top line? It looks like they just don't give a crap out there - night after night.

Poti? When he's been in he's been pretty bad overall this year, and he's nearly perpetually injured.

Why the heck is Erskine fighting for playing time with ANY of our d-men?

Look at a guy like St. Louis busting his butt even at 35, compared to our kids who skip skates, show up and play a half-assed game, and expect something magical to happen. It's really worrisome at this point in the season.

Posted by: TurbineBlade1 | January 13, 2011 5:16 AM | Report abuse

BB has lost this team and OV isn't willing to change and be a team player, the way a captain should play.

I've never seen a team play so "nervous" all the time.

from here on out, focus on hard work and stop the celebrations until you raise the cup, the only thing this franchise hasn't done yet

Posted by: hessone | January 13, 2011 7:05 AM | Report abuse

This team is not even gonna make the playoffs unless they fire the coach and/or make a major trade to shake things up. No, it''s not all BB's fault but as it always happens in sports, coaches take the blame when the players don't perform for whatever reason.

Also if you watched the late night wrap-up show on VS all three analysts - Jonesy, Olcyk and another guy whose name escapes me at the moment all said they all watched the game very carefully and didn't see any sign of this "new system" everyone's been talking about.

Posted by: joek443 | January 13, 2011 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Agree on wanting to trade Hadeed - the worst local ad ever.

Maybe trading Lisa Hillery started the fall...

Posted by: Bartolo1 | January 13, 2011 7:17 AM | Report abuse

1. The fact that this team can not "get up" for a game for 1st place against a division rival is simply pathetic.

2. Five minutes of ice time and a -2 plus/minus----Tom Poti sucks and should be released today, he is done.

Posted by: PhilR | January 13, 2011 7:23 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR (from an earlier post)

>>sorry, but Semin hasn't proven he can stay healthy and be a consistent [player]

And Fehr has?? I'm thinking right now, the NHL is a tough place for Russians. As long as things stay that way, Semin will have a hard time. Do we trade him, then, because of what is essentially a questionable moral climate in the league? (Xenophobia - while human - should be challenged, imho.)

If the league is serious about being world class, if it aspires to be the best league in the world, then it should do a better job of creating welcoming conditions for top talent around the world. I'd like to know what Russians playing in North America make of how they are treated here.

Posted by: RedLitYogi

Eric Fehr played through two torn labrums in the playoffs a couple years ago, played just about the full season last year after having both shoulders surgically repaired at the same time (I had one done and it was the most painful experience I have ever been through) and has played the full season this year.

Look, I like Semin but for 6 mil a year you need a guy that will stay healthy and be consistant, and yeah I know that Ovie and Backs are off this year but that certainly is not the norm.

Posted by: PhilR | January 13, 2011 7:35 AM | Report abuse

I'm not going to say that BB needs to go, but players need to be held responsible for the poor play, no matter who it is.

The results for the last four games is ludicrous. 1 point out of 8 total and all four games vs. SE teams. That's not acceptable in my book. Maybe I'm holding them to a higher standard than most people, but it's just not what I'm used to from this team.

Can anyone please expalin to me what to do to get the this team back on track? I'm at a loss right now.

Please don't tell me that the reason for the poor showing was either a hot goalie (Roloson is a career backup who is older than I am) or that they just played an overtime game the night before. They're proffessionals. They should play like it.

Posted by: jwash4472 | January 13, 2011 7:41 AM | Report abuse

"you pinning our goals per game avg decline to Flash not being here is about as legit as "soaringcaps" complaining about OV not skating in practice."


I'm not saying that the trade of Flash was the only cause of the reduction of scoring. There are always many causes for why things occur.

However, for the Caps goals/gm to go from 3.44(over 25 games) to 2.11(over 19 games) right when Flash is dealt is too much of a sharp decrease to be purely coincidental.

I don't buy that Ovie, Backstrom and every other player just happened to start playing bad offensively at the exact time Flash was traded, but yet that had nothing to do with Flash being traded.

Is it the only reason? Absolutely not. But I think we are seeing that Flash had a much bigger effect on the Caps offense than we originally thought.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 13, 2011 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I almost forgot.

The picture on the Caps page pretty much sums it up. Two Lightning players in front of Varly and no Caps d-men anywhere to be found.

GREAT job guys!!!

Posted by: jwash4472 | January 13, 2011 7:49 AM | Report abuse

I don't buy that Ovie, Backstrom and every other player just happened to start playing bad offensively at the exact time Flash was traded, but yet that had nothing to do with Flash being traded.

flash didn't skate on ovie or backstroms line, and they both have played poorly this year.

Posted by: hessone | January 13, 2011 7:51 AM | Report abuse


The Caps are tied with the 2nd best record in the NHL with the Bruins over their past 10 games(6-1-3, 15 points).

Only Vancouver has a better record. So over the past 10 games, 27 NHL teams have done worse than the Caps, 1 has done equal and 1 has done better.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 13, 2011 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Backstrom needs to sit.

Optional needs to start practicing more.

Better yet, next game...sit Backstrom and sit Optional.

We need to have players who want to work hard every second they are around NHL ice.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 13, 2011 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Ah yes, I'm sure Flash's former teammates are pining for a guy who was scratched in the playoffs more than a few times.

Posted by: GFisher1 | January 13, 2011 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Hate to be the bearer of bad news but:

1) This has nothing to do with Fleishman.

2) Boudreau is here for this season and is not going to get fired. (though I find it weird at ALL his star players are in "slumps")

3) George is not going anywhere for this year or next. If we don't get to the cup, he'll be gone next year.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 13, 2011 8:18 AM | Report abuse

i feel a trade of substance is gonna happen real soon, this team needs a wake-up call!!!! no excuse for the way they have been performing. they look like the keystone cops,whiffing on shots and passes, lousy passing,running into each other and total lack of physicality by 90% of the team, time to put up or shut up boys!!!

Posted by: bigBinMd | January 13, 2011 8:22 AM | Report abuse

The only comment that really makes sense here is the one about Lisa Hillary. At least this would be much more tolerable if we could watch and listen to her every night. My heart has been broken all year.

That said, everyone take a pill and see what happens the rest of the way into the playoffs. GMGM will do something if this keeps up (and I don't mean fire BB).

Posted by: truke | January 13, 2011 8:23 AM | Report abuse

The only thing that will cheer me up today will be if fricking Tom Poti gets put on waivers.

Posted by: PhilR | January 13, 2011 8:23 AM | Report abuse


I agree 100%.

Nylander him to the AHL...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 13, 2011 8:32 AM | Report abuse

"GMGM will do something if this keeps up (and I don't mean fire BB)."


Well, it's comforting that GMGM will do something besides solve the problem.

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 13, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Clearly, Ovie needs to forget the Gillete contract and grow his beard back. He played better when he was more scruffy looking. All clean-cut he doesn't scare anybody.

Posted by: bethesdaguy | January 13, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I turned the game off at about the eight minute mark of the third period. Haven't done that in years, but I couldn't watch anymore groping around the ice by the Caps. I saw where a previous poster cited a Kevin Weeks' comment on NHL on the Fly. Although I didn't watch NHLotF, I remember thinking to myself early in the game that these guys (the Caps) still don't know who the are as a team.

I said it back in November and I believe it now. The Caps are a team in transition. They may have a puncher's chance at a Cup this year, but a lot of things would have to mystically fall into place for that to happen.

I see a lot of defensive improvement over the past couple of years. A welcome development. However, it appears to me that they are still searching for their offensive identity within a newly established defensive mentality.

There is a lot o' hockey yet to play and you never know. Just when everyone is ready to write your obit, you have an opportunity to rise up and prove them wrong. That's what I love about sports.

Posted by: prestoj | January 13, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

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