F Street Faithful
by Matthew Tate on 01/02/14 at 10:50 PM ET
The Washington Capitals dropped their third straight home game against the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 4-3. In what has become the norm for these games, Jeff Skinner was the best player on the ice, finishing off his hat trick with the game winner in overtime. On to the reCap:
Washington Goals: Ovechkin 31 (Johansson, Alzner); Brouwer (Backstrom, Johansson); Oleksy (Beagle)
Philipp Grubauer: OT LOSS; 29 Saves; 4 Goals Allowed
Carolina Goals: Skinner 17 PP (Semin, Staal); Malhotra 3 (Bowman, Ruutu); Skinner 18 (Murphy, Staal); Skinner 19 (Murphy, Malhotra)
Anton Khudobin: WIN; 38 Saves; 3 Goals Allowed
An ever rare line juggle prior to this game, notably taking Ovechkin away from Backstom and Johansson. Brouwer filled in with them while Ovi skated with Fehr and Grabovski. It's tough for me to ever support separating Ovechkin and Backstrom, but, then again, the Caps typically don't have somebody like Grabovski as a second choice.
Another change appeared to be on the power play, where they finally appeared to start screening the goaltender. When opposing PKs force Backstrom up high on the boards, Johansson moves to screen the goaltender. Now, if only we can get a regular-sized person.
This was an ending you could see coming. The Capitals tried something way too fancy in the offensive zone, giving Carolina a 3-on-1 the other way where Skinner (SKINNER!) finished off his hat trick. They can't be looking for those crazy passes in situations like that. Grabovski obviously had no idea where Ovechkin was and Ovechkin should have taken it down low. That being said, Green broke the biggest rule by not taking away the pass on an odd-man rush.
Just brutal luck for the Caps on the Canes' first goal. Already down two skaters, Nicklas Backstrom had a golden chance to clear, only to see his stick snap and his clearing attempt fail. The Hurricanes would score only seconds later.
There is some debate as to how many times they have done it, but the Capitals continue giving up goals right after they score one. They did it twice tonight. That's not the way to build momentum to win games. Joe Beninnati has it as nine times they have allowed goals within 60 seconds of scoring. Ouch
John Carlson, fresh off his invitation to Team USA for Sochi, easily made the save of the game as he picked Ryan Murphy open-net, wraparound attempt off the goal line.
Erat, who started the game on the third line, finished on the fourth after being replaced by Laich. I didn't see anything in either of their play that necessitated that, but I'm assuming it's just because Oates doesn't like Erat. Those fourth liners would take two shifts in the third period.
I still can't get a feel on why Grubauer continues to start. He's certainly been better than expected, but I don't think gives them something either Holtby or Neuvirth couldn't provide.
The Capitals have put at least 30 shots on net for four consecutive games for only the second time this season. The last time was a four game stretch that saw them go 2-1-1 and get outshot in three of the four games. This time around they outshot their opponents in two of the games and went 1-1-2.
That Capitals are back at it Saturday in Minnesota
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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.