F Street Faithful
by Matthew Tate on 01/15/14 at 11:40 PM ET
The Capitals continue to struggle late in games as they fell to the Pittsburgh Penguin 4-3 on Wednesday night. The Capitals led three different times, but allowed the Penguins to tie it up every time before giving up the game winner inside of two minutes. On to the reCap:
Washington Goals: Laich 5 SH (Alzner); Chimera 9 (Johansson, Orlov); Ovechkin 34 (Johansson, Green);
Michal Neuvirth: LOSS; 33 Saves; 4 Goals Allowed
Pittsburgh Goals: Letang 9 (Crosby, Glass); Pyatt 1 (Maatta, Jokinen); Jokinen 13 (Sutter, Niskanen); Maatta 4 (Malkin, Niskanen)
Marc-Andre Fleury: WIN; 24 Saves; 3 Goals Allowed
I've just about given up on figuring our how Oates is managing this goaltending situation. Let's see how long before Braden Holtby requests a trade.
Let's hope tonight's shorthanded goal is enough to help Brooks Laich get back to his old form. If Mike Green can return from his time in mediocrity, Laich is more than capable.
New strategy for defending Caps power play shown by the Pens tonight. They basically decided to let Backstrom try to beat them. It's well known Backstrom is a pass-first guy. That'll become the norm until Backstrom pots a couple.
The past couple of games, the Capitals have seen good success when establishing cycle. The problem is they get away from it too easily and end up with a lot of one and dones. This is most notable with the Ovechkin-Grabovski-Laich line.
It might have come a period late, but the Capitals yet again gave up a goal against the run of play. After controlling most of play to start the second period, a tough bounce in the offensive zone led to a 4-on-2 for Pittsburgh the other way. The Caps defended it well, but a Letang pass took a deflection off of Backstrom and past Neuvirth.
That was some pretty passing on the Chimera goal. Those are the type of plays that show Orlov's potential.
John Erskine just isn't cutting it, and I don't see that changing. Unfortunately, Oates won't be changing anything until he has a lefty to replace him.
Bad night for Caps in front of net. Three Pittsburgh goals came within four feet of the net, and all resulted from poor coverage. If you're going to collapse the defense, you have to take that part of the ice away. By the way, the fourth goal might have had something to do with Pyatt being allowed to set up shop in front on Neuvirth
Remember last night when Green/Orlov saw the most ice time? Yeah, that was definitely to keep Alzner/Carlson fresh for tonight. They were far and away the ice time leaders tonight.
On the Caps first goal, Backstrom's stick was one of the ones to direct the puck past Neuvirth. On the third goal, his puck was off the ice, allowing the pass to get to Jokinen. I'm not saying they are definitely related, but it happened.
As is always the case in Pittsburgh games, it's frustrating. To lose that late, it's doubly frustrating.
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About F Street Faithful
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.