Av's quick response after Caps' goal hard to recover from
Sudden thoughts and second thoughts as the Capitals adjust back to the Eastern time zone following Sunday night’s 4-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche in Denver’s PepsiCenter to complete an 0-1-1 weekend road trip:
How it happened: Former Capitals netminder Semyon Varlamov improved to 2-0 against his old team, turning aside 33 shots and allowing just one goal against the Caps for the second time this season. The Avs outscored the Caps 9-2 in their two victories this season.
What it means: The Caps [9-8-1] remain in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 19 points, three behind the first-place Penguins [11-6-0] and one ahead of the third-place Rangers [9-8-0].
Decline a penalty: In their back-to-back losses to the Coyotes and Avalanche, the Capitals had a pair of 5-on-3 advantages but failed on each. In their 4-3 shootout loss in Phoenix, they had a chance to go up 4-1 with a two-man advantage but failed to convert and on Sunday they had a chance to tie the score on a 5-on-3 that lasted 56 seconds and failed. According to the Caps’ website, the team has failed to score on 11 straight 5-on-3s, dating back to Jan. 25 of last season. "It's all about five guys out there," said Alex Ovechkin, who recorded a team-high seven shots in Denver, along with Mike Green. "We had our chances to score, but we didn't. Again, I think frustration moment. But again, this happens. We have to fight through it." Overall, the Caps were 0-for-4 on the power play, just the seventh time in 17 games they’ve gone without a power –play goal in a game.
Wardo: With his eighth goal of the season Sunday night, Caps right wing Joel Ward has matched his total from last season, when he scored eight in 39 games. The burly right wing is on pace for 36 goals, well above his previous career high of 17 back in 2008-09 when he was with Nashville.
Scary moment for Ovi: With 2:26 remaining in the second period Alex Ovechkin crashed hard into the boards when he appeared to be tripped by Colorado defenseman Jan Hejda, who fell on top of him after the collision. “I think it was a trip," Ovechkin said. "Hit my head on the board. It was a clear two minutes and a dangerous play." Replays suggested Ovechkin stepped on Hejda’s stick and that’s the story Hejda was sticking to. “He goes to the corner and I think the puck was under his legs," Hejda said. "I'm 100 percent sure I had my stick on the ice and he steps on my stick. He fell and then I fell over him. There wasn't any intent on this situation."
Varlastic: Varlamov was voted the first star of the game and in his first two games against the Capitals he has stopped 73 of 75 shots. "It was great, especially against my old team," he said after improving to 9-2-0. "It's always tough to play against Washington. They have so many good players, the best power play in the league, but I think we did a great job, and that's why we got a positive result.”
What’s next: After three games in four nights, plus travel, the Caps were given the day off on Monday and will report to Kettler for a 10 a.m. skate on Tuesday, ahead of their 7 p.m. game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. They follow with a game in Detroit on Friday, then return home for games against St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Montreal.