Beninati: Swamped In Jersey

Beninati: Swamped In Jersey
November 23, 2010, 3:56 am

Monday, November 22, 2010 10:46 p.m.

By Joe Beninati
Capitals Play-by-Play

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OK, where should we begin with this mess. The Capitals barely resembled themselves tonight. They slept walked through the first period and weren't awakened by any of the Devils first three goals. Just like so many of you, I am guilty of expecting this team to hit the ice every night and dominate their way to victory.

Given the fact that New Jersey has had so little success this season, I fully anticipated the Capitals would take control from the outset. Boy was I wrong. Patrick Elias tipped the scales in favor of the Devils early on. Head coach John MacLean was pleased with the way his team played in defeat in St. Louis two nights ago, so he had to be thrilled at the way his boys took control in the first frame tonight.

Jason Arnott would cash in twice before the game was over. His first goal was a demonstration of his long reach and of Washington's humbling play in the d-zone. Tyler Sloan was tangled up with Braden Holtby on that sequence which gave Arnott an easy wrap around and a 2-0 lead. Mattias Tedenby converted on a penalty-shot two minutes later and this one was all but settled.

Holtby started and finished this game in goal with Semyon Varlamov as his backup. Michal Neuvirth was injured at the morning skate. Coach Bruce Boudreau did not think it's anything major. All three goalies are on the bus to the airport as I write this.

Tyler Sloan was injured during the first period this evening, and with Tom Poti still questionable on Wednesday in Raleigh, the Caps may need to make a personnel move on the blue line before that game.

Two things worry me about the Caps right now. One is their lack of intensity in the first period and two is the diminished production of their best offensive threats. Alex Semin has been very strong for a long time, but Nick Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin have been too easily defended of late. And I would expect them to break out very soon.