Game summary — Had Washington played in the 1st and 2nd periods like they played the 3rd, they would have won 5-2 instead of losing by that score tonight at the Verizon Center. The Caps got a late goal from Sergei Federov to close the scoring but Washington had tons of 3rd period chances and, as I wrote at the mid-way point of the final stanza, the Caps could have easily scraped their way back into the game by capitalizing on their scoring chances. All the talk in the press now is: Will the Caps make a move or moves tonight to bolster their team at the trading deadline? They certainly look like they could use some help over the last half dozen games or so.
11:16 left in the game — As weird as it sounds – or reads…if the Caps would have converted on several routine scoring chances in this 3rd period, they’d be right back in the game. Seriously. Dave Steckel had a shorthanded sitter 15-feet out and couldn’t beat Cam Ward. Ovechkin had two good chances. Viktor Kozlov would score if he’d actually shoot the puck. It’s still 5-1 and this one’s over…but Washington has carried the play throughout the period and could have wittled away at the lead — but they haven’t.
2nd period summary — So much for that 3-0 lead to stare at during intermission. Washington trails Carolina, 5-1, but Alexander Semin has just electrified the crowd with a power play goal at 19:58, scoring from his knees on a last ditch effort. Carolina led 5-0 after two straight goals late in the period. To say Caps goaltender Michal Neuvirth has had a bad night would be an understatement. Barring a 3rd period miracle, Washington’s facing another home blowout after falling 6-2 to Florida on Sunday.
5:24 remaining/2nd period — Washington looks like they’re just holding on now, hoping to get to the locker room with no more than a 3-0 deficit to stare at during the intermission. Cam Ward has made some nice stops for the ‘Canes in this 2nd period, but those two shorthanded goals just zapped the Caps of all their energy. The NHL trading deadline is tonight. I wonder if George McPhee’s cell phone needs recharging right about now?
12:14 remaining/2nd period — This power play thing isn’t working out so well for the Caps. They’ve had two of them in the 2nd period and the Hurricanes have scored on both of them. Moments ago, Patrick Eaves danced around a disinterested Nicklas Backstrom and roofed one over Michal Neuvirth’s left shoulder to stake Carolina to a 3-0 lead. Speaking of shorthanded, that’s where Washington is right now as they’ve just been penalized. It’s getting ugly here. And the boo birds have arrived at the Verizon Center.
16:08 remaining, 2nd period — #8 just scored a GREAT goal!! Unfortunately, it was the wrong #8, as Carolina’s Matt Cullen just scooted past Alex Ovechkin at center ice and scored a shorthanded goal for the Hurricanes to extend their lead to 2-0.
Carolina 1 – Caps 0 (End of 1st) — Washington’s inability to score on numerous chances has come back to haunt them as Carolina’s Eric Staal scored on a penalty shot with 34.6 left in the first period. Washington outshot the ‘Canes, 11-6, but Cam Ward was up to the task throughout the first stanza. Caps goaltender Michal Neuvirth – making his 3rd start of the year – turned aside several close-range shots but was bested easily by Staal.
When I was playing hockey in “the old days” at Benfield Ice Rink in Severna Park, my dad would remember the two or three good scoring chances I squandered and afterwards he’d always say, “stop pussyfooting around with the puck and shoot it.”
If my dad were here tonight to address the Capitals after the first period, he’d throw the “pussyfooting” line at them.
It’s 0-0 after 13:30 of the first period as the Caps and Carolina Hurricanes square off in a Southeast Division battle. Washington has had several scoring chances, including a virtual empty-netter from 10-feet away that Alexander Semin chunked above the bar after a terrific one-time pass from The Great 8 before a minute expired in the game. The Caps and Carolina both enjoyed a power play thus far, with the Caps having a handful of potential scoring chances – only to “pussyfoot” around with the puck instead of shooting it at ‘Canes goaltender Cam Ward.
5:30 to go in the 1st period — We’re still scoreless.