F Street Faithful
by Matthew Tate on 10/10/13 at 10:31 PM ET
The Washington Capitals fell to 1-3-0 to start that season after a 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. It was the Capitals first loss at home this season and first loss in the new Metropolitan Division. The Capitals got out to an early lead behind a Jason Chimera goal, but were unable to keep the Hurricanes from tying it up and taking the lead in the third period. On to the ReCap.
Washington Goals: Chimera 1 (Fehr, Carlson); Ovechkin 5 (Oleksy, Backstrom)
Braden Holtby: LOSS (0-3-0) 3 Goals Allowed
Carolina Goals: Lindholm 1 (Skinner, Murphy); Semin 1 PP (Faulk); Gerbe 3 (Staal, Faulk)
Anton Khudobin: WIN (2-0-0) 2 Goals Allowed
The Capitals went in to the extended break struggling at even strength while dominating with the extra man. Tonight, the Caps scored both goals while 5-on-5, but went 0-5, including a power play in the last minute. That marks the third time this season that the Capitals have failed to score on a late power play. And it was the second time that they have effectively had a two man advantage late. They had a late 5-on-3 against Chicago to start the season and tonight were able to go 5-on-2 after pulling Holtby.
While two goals 5-on-5 should be seen as a good sign, I don't see it. I can't classify either goals as anything but fluky. Chimera's goal was a result of a dump-in on goal that Khudobin played poorly. Chimera fired a no look shot on net that somehow went 5-hole. I'm going to chalk it up to the new pad measurement. The second was an Oleksy shot that took a tip from Ovechkin and promptly bounced twice on the ice on the way to the net.
The Caps weren't the only ones to benefit from some good bounces tonight. Carolina's first goal (Lindholm's first career) took a deflection off Carlson's stick and bounced past Holtby. Rough bounces all around.
The other day, I wrote that the third line (Chimera-Fehr-Ward) was more productive than the stats showed. Tonight, they were clearly the best line and did manage to turn it into shots, seven in fact.
Seven shots is a great number for a third line, but still less than Alexander Ovechkin. Ovechkin put up 8 shots by himself, with another 2 blocked and 3 missed the net. That gives him 32 on net this year, scoring five. Those two stats aren't coincidences.
Unfortunately, the Caps were without their leader for the final minutes as he was sent to the box for a high hit on fellow countryman and former teammate Alexander Semin. Somehow, the referees decided Semin embellished, keeping it even late. My guess is it was a reputation call.
The biggest problem for the Caps tonight was again turnovers, specifically in their own zone. The third goal was a direct result of poor clearing by the Carlson-Erskine pairing, who have been rough all season. There's a lot of crying about Erskine on social media, but Carlson has had his fair share of problems and was dreadful on this goal. He first turned the puck over in the corner to Dvorak, which led to a good chance for Faulk. Holtby made that save, albeit leaving the puck in the slot for Carlson to clean up. Carlson was pressured by Jordan Staal driving the puck back towards the net where Gerbe gave Carolina a lead they would not give up.
I was extremely impressed with newcomer Alexander Urbom. The kid collected three shots on the night and them were absolute bombs (or UrBoms, sorry). A lot of us might be screaming for Orlov to get a shot, but Urbom isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
ERAT WATCH: The $4.5 million man saw a slight rise in his ice time, up to 9:15. His linemates, Latta and Wilson, still saw around eight minutes. This is solely due to the two minutes Erat saw on the penalty kill. I'm sure when he waived his NMC he knew he would be seeing his time on the fourth line and killing penalties.
This team still has a long way to go and Oates has to admit the current set-up might not be the best. Maybe he is too patient with this team. Regardless, they will try again on Saturday when Semyon Varlamov makes his return to D.C.
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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.