Slow start kills Capitals in Calgary

Slow start kills Capitals in Calgary
October 27, 2013, 8:30 am
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Oates: 'Mistakes by everybody'

Sudden thoughts and second thoughts as the Capitals reflect on their 5-2 loss in Calgary Saturday night before preparing for Monday night’s visit to Vancouver against John Tortorella’s Canucks:

Another bad start: The Caps allowed 17 shots and three goals in the first period in Calgary. They’ve now been outscored 12-6 in opening periods. Only five other NHL teams have scored fewer goals in the first period. Why? “I don’t think anybody ever has a magic answer to that,” Capitals coach Adam Oates told reporters after Saturday night’s game. “Were taking too long to get into games, that’s a fact. It started with the very first whistle tonight. [Braden Holtby] makes an uncharacteristic play by him and they hem us in right off the hop.”

Yanking Holtby: The Caps had penciled in Saturday night’s game as Michal Neuvirth’s second start of the season, but because Holtby was playing so well in three straight victories Oates gave him his 10th start in 11 games. Holtby allowed three goals on 14 shots and was pulled 12:48 into the game. "Looking for a spark," Oates said. "Three goals. We started lousy. We got one to make it 2-1 and then the third one. We were just looking for something." Holtby, who was pulled after allowing three goals on 11 shots against the Flames on Oct. 3, looked angry when he returned to the bench. “That's Adam's call, it's what I respect," Holtby told reporters. "I'd like to finish every game that I play but at the same time, we haven't been addressing our starts as a group because we've been masking them with winning a few games."

Taming Ovi: Alex Ovechkin was held without a goal for just the third time this season, but not because of a lack of trying. Ovechkin had 15 attempts at the net. Goaltender Kari Ramo stopped five of them, six were blocked and four missed the net. "We had good chances to score goals but it wasn't good enough for our line and the capability of what we can do," Ovechkin said.

O-for: The Caps’ power play went 0-for-4 against the Flames, dropping them to 1-for-11 in the first three games of their road trip. As a result, the Caps have slipped to third in the NHL with a 26.8 percent success rate. The Caps’ penalty kill was a perfect 3-for-3, improving their season mark to 89.2, second in the NHL behind Colorado.

Chimmer-erfic: Jason Chimera scored a sweet backhand goal for his third of the season, on a nice feed from Mikhail Grabovski, who earned his fifth assist of the season. The Caps’ third line of Grabvoski, Chimeras and Joel Ward has three goals in its last two games.

Freebie: Despite their slow start the Caps were fighting their way back into the game and were trailing 3-2 when Mike Cammalleri slipped a shortside shot through the pads of Michal Neuvirth, who stopped 17 of 19 shots. After the game Oates called it a “freebie” that “took the wind out of our sails.” Oates also said the Caps surrendered two goals by “bad tracking,” which is a polite way of saying the Caps’ forwards did not skate hard enough back on the play.

What’s next: The Caps will practice in Vancouver today and face the Canucks in Vancouver at 10 p.m. on Monday [CSN].