Caps Miss Early Opportunities, Fall to ‘Canes

It may have been the best period of the year. It may have been our best start of the year. It was our best thirty minutes of the year.  - Coach Adam Oates

Wow.

Doesn’t quite sound like the way to describe a first period in which the Hurricanes led 1 to 0. A period in which the Capitals were out hit 13 to 7. A period in which the Capitals won only 43% of the faceoffs. A period in which the Capitals took a strong 12 shots, but certainly not a dominating number.

After the game, the players seemed content with the 4 to 1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Mike Green described the Capitals attitude best when he said, “It’s just one game out of 82.”

What happened?

The Capitals did start strong. Four shots in the first four and one half minutes (Hurricanes had three). But the Capitals had the best opportunity. With three and one half into the game, Jay Beagle passed to Joel Ward who set up Jason Chimera in the crease to the goalie’s right side. Open net. Chimera fanned on his first attempt. Goalie Justin Peters stopped his second attempt.

But that was it. The Capitals were not outplayed the first thirty minutes per se. But they certainly did not play their “best thirty minutes of the year.”

Most of the Capitals were more realistic with the start. The first period was “alright” according to Nicklas Backstrom. We started out “OK” said Joel Ward.

What happened?

Jeff Skinner scored two soft goals for the Hurricanes. Halfway thru the first period, Skinner went glove side below the arm. Sharp angle. Goalie Braden Holtby did not cover the post. A goal that Oates said Holtby would probably like back. Halfway through the second period, Skinner went stick side below the arm. Across the body. Again, Holtby did not cover post. Both looked like harmless shots.

Three minutes later in the second, Andrej Sekera pretty much ended the game on a power play goal. The energy in the building deflated. Green said after the game that maybe someone getting in a fight or throwing a big check could have turned the momentum around, but nothing like that happened. The Capitals were outhit in the second period 9 to 8.

NOTES:

Philipp Grubauer played his first minutes of the year when he came in for Holtby in the third. He made 9 saves.

Alex Ovechkin was a minus 2, dropping him to minus 11 for the year. This makes him tied for 13th worst in the NHL.

Mike Green scored his first goal of the year. He also lead the team with 4 blocked shots.

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