Holtby challenges effort, Green sits

Holtby challenges effort, Green sits
October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
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Caps win despite sloppy game

Sudden thoughts and second thoughts as the Caps [4-5-0] try to move on after their sloppy 5-4 shootout win over the Jets Tuesday night in Winnipeg:

How it happened: The Caps built three one-goal leads and saw each of them evaporate. Alex Ovechkin scored two goals and added an assist and Braden Holtby stopped a season-high 43 shots for his third win of the season.

Holtbeast: After a scoreless first period Holtby faced a season-high 20 shots in the second period, including a 3-on-1 opportunity. In all, the Jets had 82 attempts at the net, 13 of them getting blocked and 22 missing the mark. “Lots of opportunities,” Ovechkin said. “2-on-1s, 3-on-2s. We can’t give a team chances like that.”

Not enough effort: After the game Holtby challenged his teammates to play better. “It wasn't our best effort, but we won,” he said. “I think everyone here loves to win. I didn't think we were putting enough effort to win the game after the second, and I thought we did a much better job in the third. The guys bailed me out [in the shootout]; it goes both ways. It's not a pretty win, but you need those along the way to give you confidence that you can win even though you don't have your 'A' game."

Benching Green: Defenseman Mike Green played a season-low 18:13, including 4:50 on the power play, and did not take a shift in the final 10:35 of regulation. In 19 shifts he was credited with three shots, one giveaway and was a minus-2. Through nine games this season Green has no goals and five assists, all of them on the man-advantage, and is a minus-6.

False confidence: Holtby wondered if the Caps thought they were out of the woods following their 4-1 win over Columbus on Saturday in D.C. "I think we got a little too high after the last game. I thought everyone's energy was good, and I thought that probably everyone thought we were going to turn the page. But you just can't do that after one game. You have to consistently do that every game. But we got a win on the start of our road trip, and there is nowhere to go but [up]."

What, no Hendy?: Adam Oates has plenty of shootout weapons in his arsenal and on Tuesday night this is the order he chose to use them against Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec: Mikhail Grabovski [stopped], Alex Ovechkin [stopped], Nicklas Backstrom [goals], Brooks Laich [goal], Troy Brouwer [goal], Marty Erat [goal].

Ovi catching up: Ovechkin’s two goals and one assist vaulted him into first place in goals [9] and third place in points [12].  He’s now one point behind Henrik Sedin and five behind Sidney Crosby. Among the NHL’s top 10 scorers, Ovechkin is the only minus-player and minus-5.

Erskine returns: Defenseman John Erskine returned to the lineup after missing four games with an upper body injury. Paired with Steve Oleksy he took 19 shifts for 14:17 of ice time, recorded one assist and was a plus-1.

Rookie watch: Rookie right wing Tom Wilson took 12 shifts and saw 8:30 of ice time, including 27 seconds on the power play. Rookie defenseman Nate Schmidt took 19 shifts fro 15:55 of ice time, including 54 seconds shorthanded.

Lose-a-peg: The Caps are now 6-4-0 against the Jets since they left Atlanta for Winnipeg for the start of the 2011-12 season.

What's next: The Caps' four-game tour of Canada continues Thursday night in Edmonton when they face the Oilers, who are 13th in the Western Conference at 3-6-1.