The Swedish War Machine. (Photo credit: Joel Auerbach)
The Washington Capitals better get used to playing on the road. With 22 of their remaining games away from Verizon Center, the boys have to play with the discipline that was lacking tonight in tonight’s date with the Florida Panthers. The second consecutive meeting between the southeast rivals was decorated with twelve minor penalties, six apiece. But it was the Caps and their uncanny ability to place those penalties at the worst possible times that cost them the game.
The Panthers could have taken the Caps out entirely with three early goals by Santorelli, Reasoner, and Booth– two of those tallies thanks to two-man advantages. But the Caps rallied back with a pretty give-and-go and by Marcus Johansson via Laich and a Mike Knuble wrister off an Alex Ovechkin pass. MoJo struck again in the third with the tying goal, a crash-the-net maneuver that compelled Tomas Vokoun to bobble and release the puck into the net. In overtime, Mike Green’s hook put the Caps once more at a disadvantage, which Dennis Wideman exploited. Narf. Panthers beat Caps 4-3 (OT).
The Caps probably didn’t deserve the point they took away from this game. They were way too awful for way too long to consider this a point well earned. A bad power play and a half dozen many penalties should sink any team on the road. So while we’re glad that Knuble and MJ90 were strong enough to drag everyone to overtime, the overt loss might have been a clearer message to the team’s “passengers”.
If the Caps bring tonight’s play with them to face either Tampa Bay tomorrow or the Canucks on Friday, it’ll be a disaster. I don’t know. Maybe I’m being overly harsh on a team that has gotten a standings point in all of the last nine games, but they’ll still a shadow of their former selves on offense. And in the end, it really comes down to those two or three guys who are sleepwalking through the season.
Wake up, comrades. It’s a brand new year. Time to scoar.
Additional reporting by Neil Greenberg.
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