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The Washington Capitals Now Face Elimination

from Samantha Pell of the Washington Post,

The Washington Capitals simply could not keep up with the Boston Bruins on Friday night in Game 4 of this first-round playoff series. The visitors looked lifeless, at least a step behind the blur of black and yellow sweaters at TD Garden.

The result was a 4-1 loss that left them on the brink of elimination, trailing this best-of-seven affair 3-1 with Game 5 on Sunday at Capital One Arena.

“This one, we just weren’t good enough,” Capitals Coach Peter Laviolette said. “We weren’t fast enough. We didn’t execute well enough.”

Should the Capitals fail to climb out of this hole, it would be the third straight season in which they were ousted in the first round since they won the Stanley Cup in 2018.

“We have to want it,” center Nicklas Backstrom said. “It’s obviously a big game coming up, and we have to be mentally ready. I feel like the previous three games before this we were a lot better than tonight. So we’ve got to be mentally ready, and we’ve got to play for each other. That’s maybe something we didn’t do tonight.”

continued

Game highlights are below.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

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I’m an Anthony Mantha fan so I don’t want this taken the wrong way, but I am kind of pleased that he’s getting ice time and contributing for the Caps but not on some kind of monster tear that makes me think maybe trading him was bad.

Posted by captaineclectic on 05/22/21 at 07:28 AM ET

Paul's avatar

Some tweets on Mantha over the last 10 hours or so.  I am not going to point back to the person who tweeted, just highlighting some of the comments.

Anthony Mantha is the second biggest player on the Capitals roster but played outside the dots all night.  When he did wander in to dirty ice (by mistake, I’m sure) he was penalized twice.  What an embarrassment IMHO… Caps are toast.

Truth be told Anthony Mantha deserves every piece of criticism that is dished his way- he was brought here to help us win NOW & he’s done the opposite, hell he’s a reason we are losing (2 penalties last night resulted in 2 goals)

Anthony Mantha is horrible

tell me how the f… do you watch Anthony Mantha in this game

The @Capitals probably want to click the “undo” button on the Jakub Vrana for Anthony Mantha trade. Not looking too good right now

Bruins have scored 2 PP goals with Anthony Mantha sitting in the box - not exactly the stuff you want from your trade deadline acquisition in the playoffs if you’re the Capitals

anthony mantha is useless, looks lost. bring back vrana

Anthony Mantha was a nice experiment. It failed. Get rid of him along with 92, 9, 4, 2 and start the rebuild.

Anthony Mantha is the biggest waste of a 6’5” athletic freak

Anthony Mantha crashes Tuukka Rask and the Bruins will have a power play up 3-1 with 6:29 to go in the game. I can see now why Mantha had issues in Detroit despite the obvious talent. He’s not a very bright hockey player

Also Anthony Mantha has had an awful series what the *#$%@& is he doing steamrolling Rask in a 3-1 game? Guess with how he’s been playing he’s already decided to pack it up

Imagine trading a guy like Jakub Vrana for Anthony Mantha?!

Another brilliant penalty from best trade acquisition in the league Anthony Mantha who has done as much as my daughter in this series

I don’t know anything about him, but Anthony Mantha seems like the fakest tough guy ever in this series. Big body, but my god does he come across as a gigantic pussy.

Imagine trading what the Caps did for Anthony Mantha. Hilarious

Anthony Mantha has been a brutal pickup

Still waiting for an impact from top trade deadline acquisition Anthony Mantha

Anthony Mantha is a BUM

That should suffice.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/22/21 at 08:39 AM ET

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Wow!

Posted by exor54 on 05/22/21 at 09:23 AM ET

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Bout sums it up.  So much potential.  I noted Vranas hockey IQ vs manthas after the first game.

Posted by ThatGuy on 05/22/21 at 10:16 AM ET

The Meal's avatar

Say the Caps wanted to trade Mantha for Vrana.  What would they have to throw in to make this happen?

Posted by The Meal from Firestone, CO on 05/22/21 at 10:28 AM ET

Kaszycki and his Krew's avatar

Two tough teams, this series is worthy of a second or third round matchup.  As an Isles fan - WHEN we advance ( PLEASE GOD!)  I just hope this series goes 7 and into triple OT for the rest of the games.  Very heavy series.  Two teams who have the moxy to know what it takes to win. 

Mantha could be a good fit for DC, but he sure runs around a lot like Tom Wilson a bit smile

I read up on him after seeing that commercial when his grandpa saw his first NHL goal, but thought it was Moe Mantha, not one of the Pronovost family.  I was just curious why his last name is not Pronovost?  Why did the family choose that?  I understand his mother’s maiden name is Mantha.

It’s just a curiousity question….

Posted by Kaszycki and his Krew on 05/22/21 at 11:09 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

The @Capitals probably want to click the “undo” button on the Jakub Vrana for Anthony Mantha trade. Not looking too good right now

If it was just Mantha for Vrana, the Caps got hosed in that deal. But they also gave up a useful third-line guy in Panik as well as this year’s first-rounder and next year’s second-rounder. Not that I’m complaining, but what the hell was MacLellan thinking?

So if the Caps are eliminated in the first round, their first-rounder will be in the #17 to #24 range, depending on which others teams are eliminated in the first round. And that should put them in the general vicinity of where the second-best goalie prospect, Sebastian Cossa, is projected to go. Make it happen, Stevie. We need a goalie who’ll be ready in three or four years.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/22/21 at 11:28 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Mantha could be a good fit for DC, but he sure runs around a lot like Tom Wilson a bit

Posted by Kaszycki and his Krew on 05/22/21

There’s a big difference between Wilson and Mantha, Kas. Wilson runs around looking to cause trouble. Mantha runs around looking to avoid trouble (especially scrums).

The anonymous Twitter poster was right when he said: “Mantha seems like the fakest tough guy ever in this series. Big body, but my god does he come across as a gigantic pussy.” And that opinion is bolstered by that stupid grin he always has on his face when there’s any sort of confrontation.

I can only imagine how fruatrating it must be for Ovie to play with a floater like Mantha.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/22/21 at 11:37 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

You never know what’s in a guys gut, or what he can be when its go time.  He’s got his contract and was playing for a team that had no chance to sniff the post season. I always wondered, what his combination of size skill and shooting ability would be like when the real season started, and now we know, and I’m loving the Mantha trade more and more with each second I see Mantha play or well be on the ice for playoff hockey. 

To be fair, while Mantha has not done much, the Caps play is not completely on him. First of all, they’re on the downside from being cup competitive, their backend is weak and their forwards are aging.  But moreso, Laviolette is getting absolutely out coached. They have very little tape tape breakouts, everything they earn is skill and adrenaline, dump and crash, but the B’s have good enough defenseman to counter, and their lineup is too deep for the physical play to wear them down.  Backstrom has been casper the ghost himself, that guy used to very much be an elite dangerous forward, you kind of don’t even notice him out there.

To be fair on the trade, the Capitals shed 50% of the salary in this trade to make sure they could retain Ovie and that factored into the compensation.  Mantha costs $4.2mln,  Panik is WAY overpaid @ 2.75mln and Vrana likely gets $5mln as an RFA though you could argue Washington was driving his value down. Vrana might end up breaking under a better coach in Jeff Blashill and we could look back at this as one of those trades that changed our trajectory.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Window Seat on the Captain's Ship on 05/22/21 at 12:11 PM ET

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

“Laviolette is getting absolutely out coached. “

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0’s pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 05/22/21 at 01:11 PM ET

I swear I was going to post the same exact thing. Cassady is playing it right so far. The Bruins are hitting Ovie every chance they can and same with goes for all Washington’s big name players. Boston’s forecheck has been like a swarm of mosquitoes that just got off a long fast.

 

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 05/22/21 at 12:41 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I don’t know anything about him, but Anthony Mantha seems like the fakest tough guy ever in this series. Big body, but my god does he come across as a gigantic pussy.

THIS.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 05/22/21 at 01:00 PM ET

calquake's avatar

What is it going to take to motivate Mantha? He’s on a much better team but his bad habits have followed him. He’ll never be a leader with his current style of play. It’s a pity because he’s obviously talented. Looks like the Caps got hosed on this trade.

Posted by calquake from Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst on 05/22/21 at 04:32 PM ET

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Pull for every team that finished above the Caps in the final standings.  The way things are shaking out the Wings may get #20 overall if things keep going the way they are.  #20 was I believe where the Wings drafted said Mantha.

Posted by MABO on 05/22/21 at 04:51 PM ET

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One last thing on Mantha.  He was prolific in Junior.  However even with scoring a plethora of goals and points in the Q, the knock on him was that he didn’t compete.  We have seen him take the puck to the net and score, just not very often.  I think he has lost a lot of confidence.  You could see him hesitate to shoot a bit. He said that the trade to the Caps had really motivated him.  Motivation comes from inside.  You either have it or you better wake up and find it.  Don’t expect Jack Eichel to find his way to the Wings because of this.

Posted by MABO on 05/22/21 at 05:01 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Agreed MABO, with some players things come too easy for them in juniors.  Drouin is another example.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/22/21 at 05:05 PM ET

d ca's avatar

So if the Caps are eliminated in the first round, their first-rounder will be in the #17 to #24 range, depending on which others teams are eliminated in the first round. And that should put them in the general vicinity of where the second-best goalie prospect, Sebastian Cossa, is projected to go. Make it happen, Stevie. We need a goalie who’ll be ready in three or four years.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/22/21 at 12:28 PM ET

No, and it gets somewhat complicated depending on how far the best teams advance.

Lottery teams gets picks 1–15 (Arizona losses it’s pick because of Draft combine testing)
Picks 16-27 are determine by the first two rounds of playoff elimination (cumulative not after each round). It is done in inverse order of regular-season points percentage.
Picks 24-27 go to division winners that didn’t play in Conference Finals (Leafs, Pens, Canes, & Avs unless those teams make it farther in the playoffs)
Conference Finals losers get pick 28 & 29
The Stanley Cup loser gets pick 30
Stanley Cup winner gets pick 31
Again pick 32 is forfeited.

Washington is 7th highest in point percentage (so unless the Avs, Knights, Canes, Panthers, Pens, or Leafs lose): Detroit becomes slotted at the 25th pick for now. If any of those teams in the previous sentence lose—that moves the Wings pick down by one.  As it stands the Panthers are in trouble so figure 24th pick for the Wings. Now they could go higher….but not to 17. If all 6 above them lose they only get down to 21—but that seems unlikely.

Sebastian Cossa is a goalie prospect that has potential to go in this range—but he could be gone by then too. I’d rather see the Wings use other draft capital on a trade for a goalie (such as Connor Ingram—who just turned 24) from the Preds (who will protect Juuse Saros in the expansion draft) than use a 1st rounder on a goalie as the bust rate is considerable for the position vs a skater.

 

Posted by d ca on 05/23/21 at 02:40 AM ET

Avatar

I told Caps fans what to expect.  I have now watched Mantha since he was a kid in the AHL with Grand Rapids.  For those of you old enough to remember this guy, he to me is Eric Daze 2.0
Daze had the size and was talented but the potential was never realized.  Mantha is not sharp mentally out there.  He might even get a hat trick next game with the winner in OT and it won’t make a difference in my opinion.  Now I noticed something when Vrana came to Detroit:
1. Mantha will never have his skating ability or hockey smarts
2. Vrana has scored some goals that Mantha could not (check out backhand vs Carolina)

I am a big Wings fan, I follow every feeder league and all of their prospects and if we had to do this trade over again, I would be ecstatic with a one-for-one but somehow Stevie Y also managed to get a 1st, 2nd and Panic who I actually don’t mind.  I still don’t understand this trade.  Someone mentioned in another comment how Mantha is such a big guy but he plays so much on the “outside” and that is so true.  He also floats a lot.  I heard the same about Vrana but have yet to see that and Jeff Blashill said that he is really receptive to learning to shore the defensive side up.  Mantha decided long ago that he is only concerned with the offensive side and I don’t see him doing whatever it takes to win.  I like Mantha, he is a great guy who has a wicked shot (just like Vrana) but he will be invisible out there more often than not. We can’t fault the Caps though because you need to appreciate the fact that they are trying their best to have another run at this knowing the window of time is shrinking with this group and that is all that you can ask for as a fan, do your best to get us a cup. Also I think Vrana is just going to get better and better and he would have priced himself out of the Caps eventually.
It looks like the Caps are in trouble now in this series but for their sake, I hope Mantha wakes up and realizes what it takes because he has all of the tools to be a difference maker.  Caps fans, I get your frustration because it drove me nuts for years!

Posted by Noodles22 on 05/23/21 at 10:16 AM ET

Paul's avatar

Good stuff Noodles22 and welcome to KK.

The email address you used is getting kicked back to me so you may want to make sure it is correct.

Thanks.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/23/21 at 10:20 AM ET

SYF's avatar

Agreed MABO, with some players things come too easy for them in juniors.  Drouin is another example.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/22/21 at 06:05 PM ET

The same goes for Martin Frk:  having a linemate like Nathan MacKinnon helps, too.  That trio was so fun to watch in juniors playing for Halifax Mooseheads.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 05/23/21 at 03:06 PM ET

IwoCPO's avatar

You never know what’s in a guys gut, or what he can be when its go time.

Yzerman does, MC.

This never fails to make me chuckle.

Comments (19)

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 05/24/21 at 10:53 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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