F Street Faithful
by Matthew Tate on 11/10/13 at 12:15 AM ET
The Washington Capitals squandered a third period two-goal lead en route to a 4-3 shootout loss to the Phoenix Coyotes. The loss snapped the Capitals four-game winning streak and was the first shootout loss under Adam Oates. The Caps also failed to move within two points of division-leadin Pittsburgh, who fell to St. Louis earlier in the night. On to the reCap:
Washington Goals: Brouwer 5 PP (Green, Neuvirth); Carlson 3 PP (Johansson, Ovechkin); Ward 7 (Latta, Chimera)
Michal Neuvirth: SO LOSS 32 Saves; 3 Goals Allowed
Shootout: Grabovski - No Shot; Ovechkin - Miss
Phoenix Goals: Doan 7 PP (Hanzal, Yandle); Korpikoski 2 (Vermette, Schlemko); Doan 8 PP (Unassisted)
Mike Smith: WIN 29 Saves; 3 Goals Allowed
Shootout: Vermette - Goal; Boedker - Goal;
Per Ben Raby, the Caps have scored more goals in the second period (29) than they have in the first and third periods combined.
Coming into this game, Phoenix had yet to lost in regulation. With less than 5:00 to go, it looked like the Caps would change that. Then a bad clear allows them to bring it within one and a Nate Schmidt Delay of Game penalty allowed them to tie it up. Just because you have a great penalty kill doesn't mean you can take those chances late in the game. It also doesn't help that the Caps were outshot 14-6 in the third period.
I remarked in the Minnesota reCap my amazement when teams choose not to cover Ovechkin on the power play. Phoenix was not taking that chance as Jeff Halpern was essentially in Ovechkin's jock every time Washington got the extra man. No surprise then that Ovechkin really never had a quality shot on the power play. It appeared that Ovechkin realized this early on and seemed to continually draw Halpern further and further away to create space for others.
John Carlson made the most of the space he was afforded to cash in on his first power play goal and third goal in the last four games. It's basically becoming a pick your poison for opposing penalty kills.
As phenomenal as the Caps are when 5-on-4, they continue to struggle on the 5-on-3. They are 0-4 this season with the two-man advantage. They aren't much better with 4-on-3s as evidenced by their woeful display in overtime.
Speaking of penalties, there was a solid eight minute stretch in the second period where one or both of the teams were down a man. During that period, the Caps killed off two 5-on-3s and a four-minute penalty to Brouwer. The weirdest penalty during that stretch, though, was Phoenix's Mike Smith getting called for delay of game. With the Caps already down one man, the refs spotted the Caps for Too Many Men. As Mike Smith rushed to the bench, he attempted to play the puck across the center line. That's illegal and cost the Coyotes a chance at a two-minute 5-on-3.
John Carlson has really turned his play around this season. A large part of that is probably him and Alzner being reassembled, but he looks a lot better than he did when he was with John Erskine. Mike Green does tend to see more ice time than Carlson, but that is in large part due to his power play time.
The Caps allowed a power play goal in four of the first five games of the season. They then went eight straight games without allowing one. Now, they have allowed one in three of four games. I don't really know what to do with that stat, but it's something.
Dmitry Orlov was recalled shortly after John Erskine went down with an injury. Since then, he has watched every game from the box. I understand Oates likes to have some emergency depth, but not at the expense of a young player's development. That spot should be reserved more for a veteran defenseman.
Martin Erat may be getting more ice time than he was at the start of the season, but it hasn't translated into many goals. In fact, Erat and Filip Forsberg have both scored a single goal since the trade last spring. At some point, he has to start proving he was worth what the Caps gave up (and what they are paying him).
This one was incredibly disappointing to say the least, but the Caps don't have time to dwell as they travel to Colorado for an 8:00 start tomorrow.
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Welcome to the home of the F Street Faithful, run by Matthew Tate. This is a go-to blog for all things related to the Washington Capitals. The F Street Faithful is 5% news and 95% breaking down the news.
In the past I have written for several other sports blogs as well as the college newspaper while at York College of Pennsylvania. I am a graduate of York College of Pennsylvania but am based out of Southern Maryland.
You can follow me on twitter @FStreetTate but I must warn that I do tweet about more than hockey. You can also e-mail me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.