Thursday, October 28, 2010 11:55 p.m.
By Joe Beninati
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I don't know about you but this one felt like an uphill struggle from the opening draw. The Caps never showed much life in the first period, falling victim to Minnesota's methodical approach. By the time the guys showed some jump in the third period the deficit was too great to overcome.
It's not like the Capitals didn't have their chances. Alex Semin had a clear short handed breakaway but missed the net on his signature snap shot. It was Backstrom, the one who plays center for Washington, that had at least two high-quality scoring chances against his namesake in goal for the Wild. The Finnish goalie's glove was very good this evening when it had to be, although he was far from overworked.Michal Neuvirth had no chance on Chuck Kobasew's slam dunk in the first period. Getting the first goal is so critical against the Wild with the suffocating way they play the game. The Caps coaches will not allow the fact that Minnesota had not played since Monday, while Washington worked last night, to be an excuse.This team is struggling to find its true offensive self at the moment. Sure they're not going to sneak up on anyone and they receive everyone's best effort against them, but we've only seen glimpses of the team that lit up the league last winter.The power play continues to run cold. This was a game in particular where the man-up group needed to get on the board, because the Wild are pretty much automatic at home on the power play.Mikko Koivu netted a power play goal late in the second period that all but sealed Washington's fate.Alex Ovechkin ended his five game drought and Niklas Backstrom's shutout bid with just under two minutes to play. Up until then he and his mates were frustrated by smothering defense.
A much needed day of rest and practice comes Friday before Saturday's showdown in Calgary. No easy assignment and one in which a lackluster performance would meet the same fate.