Another game against a playoff team, another overtime loss for the Washington Capitals as they fell 3-2 in overtime to the Montreal Canadiens at Verizon Center Tuesday.
The night started off well enough for the Caps thanks to an tissue-soft goal by Mathieu Perreault (who scored earlier in the first) and a beautiful power play setup by Mike Green to find an open Mike Knuble for a tap-in. Less than eight minutes in it was 2-0 Caps.
Then the rest of the game happened. The Caps were outshot 10-2 the rest of the first period. All told, the Habs ended up outshooting the Caps 38-27 and rightfully deserved two points in regulation. Semyon Varlamov was spectacular in net for the Caps, bailing out a defense that consistently blew assignments and lost puck battles.
That switch the Caps are supposed to flip when the playoffs start? It better start working sooner rather than later.
I get that the Caps are installing a playoff-oriented system in which they fall back into a conservative shell with the lead. But show me part of the Playoff Handbook which says it’s a good idea to drop back into a poorly-organized trap and stop forechecking with 40 minutes remaining while ahead 2-0. All it did was allow the Habs to possess the puck nearly non-stop which led to more chances and several penalties taken by the Caps. The result? Montreal tied the game 2-2 in the second and stole two points on the road.
Too much of the same from Alex Ovechkin, unfortunately, as he consistently tried to dangle the puck through three defensemen throughout the night. After all, it worked so well against Montreal last year. Three shots on goal from the team’s go-to goal scorer is simply not good enough. He did whine to the officials a lot, though.
Ovie has gone from Superman to the guy in the Snickers commercial who turns into a diva when he gets hungry. He did drop PK Subban at center ice with a stone cold hip check and draw a penalty out of it, so there’s that.
Three penalties taken by Brooks Laich. At least Alex Semin scores when he does that. Luckily the Caps have the second best penalty as the Habs were 0-for-6 with the man advantage. At this rate the Caps will be able to re-sign Laich for the league minimum.
Jay Beagle needs to start throwing his weight around if he wants to stay with the big club. The fourth liner who doesn’t hit role is already occupied by David Steckel.
Don’t Capitals fans appreciate a team that won the President’s Trophy, flamed out in the playoffs and may finish as the eighth seed this year? What could be more endearing to a hockey fanbase than a team full of talent that consistently gets outworked? The nerve.
The Caps have now beaten one playoff team since the new year. They have beaten two since the beginning of December.
Then again, Tuesday’s effort should hardly be surprising at this point. But that doesn’t make the Capitals any less disappointing.