Righteous photo (Photo: Doug Pensinger)
The Washington Capitals are bad with the lead. They demonstrated as much on Thursday night when their conservative play caused two blown one-goal leads. The Colorado Avalanche, who are really bad, genuinely outplayed the Capitals as soon as the Caps took the lead– a continuation of a pattern we’ve seen since week two of the season.
But when the Caps are scrappin’, they’re one of the best in the league. Blowing two leads just made Alex Ovechkin more dangerous on Thursday night. Here’s how it went down.
Ovechkin made some nasty moves in the second period to find Nick Backstrom, which was a weird reversal of roles for the Caps’ first goal. The Avs tied it up promptly after as Nate MacKinnon beat Nate Schmidt and Evgeny Kuznetsov failed to mark the trailing Danny Briere– freaking Danny Briere— who tied it up. No worries though, as Jason Chimera restored the Washington lead with a dart to the top corner.
The Caps played bad hockey in the third period until Tyson Barrie beat a fumbling Capitals defense to tie it. That woke the Caps up. Alex Ovechkin went Rambo style into the Colorado zone, scoring solo on his own rebound during 4-on-4 hockey. The Caps withstood a late attack and took the win in rego.
Caps beat Avs 3-2!
The Caps are gonna lose this lead playing like this.
— RMNB (@russianmachine) November 21, 2014
Joe B suit of the night
The Caps are now third in the Metro.
This pattern has been obvious since week three: The Capitals stink with the lead. They play timid, but without caution. They play conservative, but without competence. Instead of doing the stuff that gave them the lead in the first place, they abandon almost all aggression past the blue line– which makes blown leads an inevitability. Braden Holtby’s suspicious save percentage when his team is up isn’t helping. (If Holts has got any gambling debts we need to know about, would someone please float him some cash?)
But once the game is on the line again, the Caps look great: aggressive, hungry for moar goals. That tells me this is a solvable problem. It’s time for Barry Trotz to show us everything he’s learned– and is still learning hopefully– from all those years in the league.
I don’t like to complain too much after a W. Even though I want more aggression, the Caps won. Ovi is great. The team’s fundamentals are pretty strong, and they nabbed two points off a team they deserved to nab two points off. It’s a good night. Happy birthday, Ian.
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