King vs. Shelley: a portrait of pointlessness. (Photo credit: Len Redkoles)
The Washington Capitals quenched their wanderlust, beginning their 15-game voyage (only 5 stops at home!) with an evening hosted by the Philadelphia Flyers. The conference-leading home team sported their explosive offensive, keeping busy the Washington goalies all night. The Capitals, except for a 40-second spurt, had precious little presence in the offensive zone. We went to overtime, but we didn’t stay long.
91 seconds into the game, Michal Neuvirth failed to track Jeff Carter’s wraparound and allowed a goal on the night’s first shot. Claude Giroux doubled down against relief-goalie Semyon Varlamov by seizing on a second chance. In the third, Marcus Johansson and Mike Knuble stormed Sergei Bobrovsky’s crease for a goal. 40 seconds later, Alex Ovechkin fed at the trough to tie it up. But in overtime, Jason Chimera gave Andrej Meszaros more than enough room to fire one home. Game over. Flyers beat Caps 3-2 (OT).
The Capitals got worked over by a superior team: it’s hard to spin it any other way. They played 40 seconds of gritty hockey in an hourlong game. That they escaped with a single standings point (for the 6th time in the last 6 OT games) is evidence that the Caps are capable of Great Things, but man they are really stingy about sharing them with the class.
Is anyone else sick of complaining about the Capitals? The last thing we wanted was to be dour and sober and pedantic, kvetching about fundamentals and motivation in recaps. That’s why– when the Caps are up– we exalt them beyond absurdity. Not even just when they win. A loss met with purpose and fortitude is worth cheering too. But we’ve got nothing to cheer about right now.
Neil points out to me that the Capitals’ projected probability of winning the cup has been updated: 2.8%. That might be generous. Last year it was 20%.
Please. Please, give us something to cheer about.
Additional reporting by Neil Greenberg.
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