Mike Weber chipped the puck away from the crease. It ended up on the stick of a Pittsburgh Penguin.
It’s not the first defensive turnover to lose a game this playoffs. We saw the same from Nate Schmidt and Dmitry Orlov. But in sudden death overtime against a hated foe to whom the Caps have lost 7 out of 8 playoff series, it burns.
Barry Trotz chose to give a sweater to Mike Weber over Nate Schmidt, a demonstrably better player. Whatever you think of Mike Weber’s play, the fact that he was playing in overtime was the true mistake.
The Caps, who won the President’s Trophy as the NHL’s best regular season team, are now one loss away from having just another disappointing season.
Let’s review the decisive play.
After the Capitals could not clear the zone multiple times, Conor Sheary unleashed a slow shot from the point. Weber intercepted the shot, but the puck bounced off his stick. As he tried to sweep it to the corner, the puck goes right to Patric Hornqvist. Hornqvist tucked the puck in five hole past Braden Holtby.
“We were okay with [Weber] out there,” Barry Trotz said after the game. “It was more of an unlucky play than anything. We had the puck a little bit earlier and sort of lost it. And Daley jumped in and we blocked it. Then we actually had it sorted out. It sort of just tied him up and he moved the stick and it went over to Hornqvist. That’s the way it goes.”
“Those are always tough,” he continued. “That’s why it’s sudden death. That’s what it feels like. We’ll have to deal with it. This group’s dealt with a lot of things. I think they’ve handled adversity pretty well all year. We’ll have to do it again. We’ve dug ourselves a hole and we’ll have to see if we can dig ourselves out of it.”
Weber played decent when he did see the ice. He played 10:53, all of one shift at even strength. He took one shot (missed) and blocked two Penguins shots. During even strength, he was on for 15 Caps shot attempts and 14 Penguins shot attempts. Weber was protected, however, as no Capitals player got a higher share of offensive zone starts.
Weber did not speak to the media after the game.
This one hurts. It’s hard to keep it in perspective that it’s just one tiny, unintentional mistake.
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) May 5, 2016
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