Photo credit: Greg Fiume
The Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins have a storied history– especially on Superb Owl Sunday. Snowmageddon, anyone? This Sunday’s game belongs in history as well. But, like, next to the bombing of Guernica or childbirth before Ignaz Semmelweis.
Right after a faceoff, Chris Kunitz (may have) deflected a shot by Paul Martin into the Washington net. Mike Green responded by finishing off a great sequence and scoring a pretty one-timer goal– more on that one later. Deryk Engelland re-established the Penguins’ lead with a thoroughly screened blueline slapper, redirected by Matt Cooke. John Carlson tied it up with the Weirdest Goal of the Year: a center-ice dump-in off the boards that tricked Vokoun into leaving the net before the puck bounced in.
Then it got weird. Kris Letang took the lead back with a golden opportunity up close on Holtby. Chris Kunitz made it 4-2 shortly after that. A phantom trip call on Wojtek Wolski and Karl Alzner’s broken stick afforded Chris Kunitz either his second or third goal.
Mike Ribeiro gave life to the Caps with a powerplay goal made possible by some great hustle by Ovechkin, but despite some late-game heroics, that’s all they could muster. Chris Kunitz got either his hat-trick goal or his FOURTH of the day on a last minute power play goal. Yikes.
Penguins beat Caps 6-3.
I don’t like how John Carlson is playing. I don’t like how Marcus Johansson is playing. I don’t have an abundance of faith in this roster. I’m still not panicking (whatever that means), but I’m definitely worrying.
I still believe the Caps have suffered from bad luck and they’re due to bounce back, but the same fundamentals I was so enthused by have eroded this week. Puck possession is in the toilet. And not even a nice toilet.
A few years ago, the Capitals were the best team in the league. Because of offense. When the Caps’ shooting luck went belly-up in Montreal, the press turned on them. Their coach was kicked out of town, and their identity was warped into something meeker. Now, they’re neither an offensive juggernaut or a gritty, grind-em-out team. That amorphousness is laid at the feet of George McPhee, but we’ve gotta admit our own complicity as well.
We demanded that the Caps change (actually, we didn’t), and now we don’t like what they’ve become.
So what now? Blow it up? Make a drastic systems change? Wait for luck to turn and work on the basics in the meantime?
I got no idea. You tell me.
Ovechkin needs to crosby the crosby into the crosby
— Neil Greenberg (@ngreenberg) February 3, 2013
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