Caps fall on the road to Canucks
Sudden thoughts and second thoughts on the Capitals’ 3-2 loss to the Canucks in Vancouver Monday night:
How it happened: Despite getting outshot 41-19 the Caps owned a 2-1 lead early in the third period but saw the Canucks’ top line of Ryan Kesler and Daniel and Henrik Sedin rally for two goals less than 3 minutes apart for the win.
What it means: The Caps fell to fifth in the Metro Division with a 5-7-0 record and 10 points They are also fifth in the Eastern Conference wild card race, four points behind the Canadiens and Red Wings.
Fire with fire: Since arriving in Washington Caps coach Adam Oates has said he’s not a big believer in having a checking line to neutralize other teams’ top lines. He fought fire with fire in Vancouver when he kept Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson out against Kesler and the Sedin twins, and the Caps got burned both times. On the Canucks' game winner by Daniel Sedin, the Canucks penned the Caps in their own zone for 78 seconds.
What they said: Alex Ovechkin was upset with the play of the Caps’ top line. “Our line got minus-2 in third period," he told reporters. “We can't give them that kind of chances. It starts with me and [Johansson]. "When Kesler goal was scored, it was my guy. Third goal [by Daniel Sedin], he make great move and [Johansson] was kind of guessing. Again, two shifts cost us the game. … We get 2-1 lead and we have to play simple. We didn't."
0-for-2: After scoring 10 goals in his first 10 games, Ovechkin was held without a goal on three shots. On one of those shots was a penalty shot after defenseman Alexander Edler tripped him from behind after a strong outside-inside move by Ovechkin just 1:19 into the game. On the penalty shot the puck appeared to toll on Ovechkin just before he shot it. "I make a great move," Ovechkin said. "I beat him [Roberto Luongo], but I didn't finish it up. It's all my fault. If I make penalty shot, we have the lead and play much better."
Chimmer: Jason Chimera scored his third goal in as many games and now has more goals [four] this season than he had all of last season [3 in 47].
Tough break: Midway through the first period Caps defenseman Steve Oleksy had an embarrassing moment when the blade of his skate broke and he had to hop is way to the visiting bench. Oleksy had so much trouble getting to the bench the referee had to give him a shove and teammates had to reel him over the boards.
Neuvy: Michal Neuvirth had to be very strong in net to keep the Caps in the game. He stopped 38 of 41 shots but fell to 1-2-0. Neuvirth and Braden Holtby have identical GAAs of 3.07. Holtby has a .913 save percentage; Neuvirth is at .905.
What’s next: The Caps will return home from Vancouver today and have scheduled a 10:30 a.m. practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for Wednesday and Thursday. They return to game action Friday night in Philadelphia.