September 18, 2014

GAME 33 RE-CAP: Caps survive New Jersey, escape with one point

We’ll start right off with a disclaimer: We didn’t watch last night’s 4-3 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils.  Due to the nature of hectic holiday schedules, Christmas came early to our house.  Normally one of our other writers would have taken the duty tonight, but sometimes things just don’t work out.  I hate having to do this, but once or twice a year this happens.  So here’s a bullet point summary from someone who watched the highlights and scoured the stats, but didn’t watch the game.

  • First, sounds like there wasn’t much to miss for the first 40 minutes of the game.  Occasionally during dinner I’d check the Twitterz on the phone and from all the hand wringing and hair pulling I figured I was better off sticking to the hot crab dip and egg nog.
  • From Michal Neuvirth’s comments post-game, he wasn’t very happy with what he had to watch.  Baby goalie sounded pretty ticked off.  “I don’t think everybody [gave] 100-percent effort tonight. I think we only played 20 minutes, and that’s not enough to win a hockey game in this league.” Neuvy finished with 25 saves, and was the only reason the score wasn’t 6-0 at the start of the thrid period.
  • Jason Chimera, who scored twice and is on pace for a 30-plus goal season (by the way, the only Caps player to be able to say that 33 games in), was as effusive as his netminder.   “We weren’t ready to play. I don’t know if guys were looking forward to the Christmas break or what was wrong. But the execution was terrible. We looked like Pee Wee hockey players. No one could make a pass. No one was getting the puck out. We were fanning on the puck.”
  • Alexander Semin did what he does.  Anybody that thinks his game is capable of being changed is delusional.  He is what he is.  Caps have to live with it or move on at this point.
  • Caps had 25 shots on goal.  Including overtime.  They didn’t have double-digit shots in any period.  They had another 13 missed and had 12 blocked.
  • The fourth line, composed of Matt Hendricks, Mathieu Perreault and Mike Knuble, played a much reduced role after the team got down early, and none broke the 10 minute mark in time on ice.  That’s what you call shortening your bench, and coach Dale Hunter seems to be a fan of the technique.  That said, Alex Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom and Brooks Laich were the only forwards over 20 minutes.
  • Three third period goals though did earn the Caps a much-needed point, further reinforcing the fact that the team that gives the Caps the most troubles with on a nightly basis is… The Caps.
  • At least the uniforms were beautiful.

There you have it, and I apologize for the lousy effort tonight.  Mine, not the Caps.  The team is off until Monday, when they shuffle off to Buffalo to take on the Sabres, who are one point behind the Caps in the conference.

Please enjoy whatever holiday you’re celebrating this weekend (or if you’re just enjoying the long weekend as it is).  Whatever your plans are, please do it safely and happily.  And don’t let the results of a hockey game interfere with your enjoyment of friends and family this holiday season.  Trust me, you shouldn’t take any of that for granted.

***Quotes for this post were taken from published sources.

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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