There are so many inappropriate similes I could use to explain just how much the Caps blew this game. But the question of the day is….. how do you say bull**** in Canadian?
The Capitals got robbed in the final minutes of tonight’s game, as a follow-through from a shot by Joel Ward with under four minutes to play resulted in a high-sticking penalty. The penalty ultimately turned into the game-winning goal for Ottawa with time ticking down.
But let’s not be bitter, because that’s not the sole reason the Caps capsized in this game.
They broke away from what worked. Crashing the net, creating traffic in front of goalie Craig Anderson and staying aggressive worked. After the first period, they didn’t do that, and it cost them.
In the final two periods, the Capitals shelled up and took a more defensive approach. Perhaps a rookie mistake by new head coach Adam Oates, or perhaps just horrid execution by the players, but regardless, the mentality in a situation where you’re up two and there’s plenty of time left is not to try and play defense no matter where you are on the ice. Playing possession is all well and good, but as you see, no lead is safe until the horn sounds. The Capitals had to stay on the attack and wear out the Senators, so that they’d be the tired ones in the third period, and they’d collapse as the clock ticked down, instead of the opposite.
A tough pill to swallow after such a promising and successful first period, but there’s also a lot to be taken from this game. Of the five painful losses the Capitals have endured this season, this one will give them the most to learn from. They have to learn to be disciplined (no stupid penalties), stay aggressive, and put in 100% for 60 minutes.
The Caps will go from Ottawa to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs on Thursday night. When the Leafs have a better record than the Capitals (or anyone for that matter), something is horribly, horribly wrong.