September 20, 2019

Washington Capitals Game 51 Recap: Lifeless Caps drop 2-1 to Devils for 7th straight loss

The Washington Capitals, with captain Alex Ovechkin once again with a lower body injury, continued their lackluster play, dropping a 2-1 decision to the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center Friday night.

It was the Caps (22-21-8) seventh loss in a row and fifth consecutive loss in regulation. They drop three points behind New Jersey in the Metropolitan Division and remain just three points ahead of the New York Islanders for eighth — and last — place in the division.

It didn’t take the Devils long to grab the lead. Just 4:57 in, Martin Erat tried to hit Dmitry Orlov with a pass in the offensive zone. The puck got turned over, and the Devils went racing back the other way with the Caps in the middle of a line change. Stephen Gionta kept the puck and fired a slap shot that ate up Michal Neuvirth, with the puck slipping between his body and his blocker arm.

The Caps were outplayed throughout the frame, with plenty of turnovers and lack of urgency. New Jersey took 17 total shots, with 11 going on goal, three blocked and three missing the mark. The Caps managed just 12 total shots — six on goal.

New Jersey scored again quickly in the second period. With Dmitry Orlov off for a holding penalty, Jaromir Jagr found Adam Henrique completely alone on the far post, who tapped in for a 2-0 lead. Jagr’s second assist of the game tied him with Mario Lemieux for 10th all-time in assists in the NHL.

After three power play failures, the Caps finally got on the board at 10:10 of the third period. John Erskine sent a wrist shot toward the net that seemed to get redirected several times, the last by Jason Chimera, who was credited for the goal to cut the Devils lead to 2-1.

But it was too little, too late as the Caps couldn’t muster a shot on goal in the final minute playing 6-on-5.

The Capitals travel to Montreal to face Les Habitents Saturday night at 7:30 pm.

NOTES: Mikhail Grabovski was injured in the second period when he got tangles with Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador. He left the ice favoring his left leg, which appeared to get twisted when Salvador fell on him. He tried to skate at the start of the third period, but went back to the dressing room and did not return to the game.

Washington Capitals Game 50 Recap: Capitals shut out by Senators; lose sixth straight game

The Washington Capitals lost their sixth straight game Tuesday night, a 2-0 shutout by the Ottawa Senators, despite outshooting them 34-26.

Since January 1, the Capitals have won two games, both regulation wins. They have lost eight games in that span, three of those games went to overtime or the shootout, and five were regulation losses.  A record of 2-5-3 at this point in the season doesn’t bode well for any playoff hopes the Capitals may still have, and Metro Division opponents are gaining ground­- and fast.

This team seems one-dimensional at times. While they are capable of finding secondary scoring, much of the time it relies on Alex Ovechkin and the power play. Now that the power play prowess has worn off a bit, the Capitals find themselves incapable of scoring multiple goals on any given night.

Adam Oates said the Capitals missed Ovechkin versus the Senators more than he anticipated Tuesday night. The Capitals went 0 for 4 on the power play.

“You have to try and get [goals]. We played pretty hard…we had twenty one chances five-on-five. Their goalie played well, but we had a lot of guys with some really good looks, good chances.,” said Oates. “We have to score some goals. I would say the chances were good chances tonight, and we had a lot of them. It is a matter of finishing.”

Brooks Laich and Troy Brouwer were critical of the team’s play, as they are on most nights following a loss.

Laich : “I don’t think we’re playing heavy enough hockey. I think we are too much on the outside. I don’t think we are consistently enough going from the outside and fighting through a check or leaning on a guy and trying to get to an area around the net where we can get chances. Some guys are trying, but when you are not scoring, we need to be better at doing that. Maybe they hook you, maybe they trip you, maybe they panic for a second and grab you.”

“We’re not scoring goals. We’re working hard. Our effort was there tonight and we are doing the right things, getting pucks deep, getting shots to the net,” said Brouwer. “Anderson made some good saves when he needed to, but we’ve got to score goals.”

Washington Capitals in disarray as losing streak hits six games

Tuesday night, the Washington Capitals were shut out by Craig Anderson and the Ottawa Senators, in front of a sparse crowd — partly due to the snowstorm, but certainly attributable to their performance as well. Folks came out during Snowmaggedon.

It was the team’s sixth straight loss, the last four of which have come in regulation. Things get even worse, as the Caps now head out on a five game road trip.

The Caps have won twice since Dec. 29.

The Capitals were in a similar situation last season. They started the lockout-truncated campaign miserably, until Alex Ovechkin got hot and carried his team to the playoffs. Last year, even though the beginning of the season looked so bleak, you figured if the Caps could grasp what Adam Oates was trying to implement and get on a run they’d have a shot at turning their season around. That’s exactly what happened.

This year? The feeling isn’t the same.

Tuesday’s performance was completely lackluster for a team on a 5-game losing streak playing its only home game out of nine. They were shut out, shut down, and shut off. The lack of interest from too many of the Capitals was galling.

This organization is due a major shake-up.

Does that mean trading a veteran player and taking salary back to offset the cost? Does that mean firing the coach, who’s only been here a little over a full season’s worth of games? Does that mean going higher up the chain and firing 15-year general manager George McPhee?

One of the problems is that there’s no external pressure from the professional media. There’s no critical analysis of the team in either of the daily papers or on any of the broadcast news stations. And there certainly isn’t any coming from the rightsholder on cable.

If this were Toronto or Boston or Detroit — shoot, even Philly — the Caps would be getting roasted on a nightly basis in the papers, putting pressure on the franchise to activate change where it so obviously is needed.

But in D.C., the media outlets are too agog about the Redskins hiring Jay Gruden, or what RGIII had for lunch or posted on Twitter, to even realize that the only team in town that has been a consistent playoff team the past eight years is dangerously close to not qualifying this year.

Nope. It’s just us “bloggers” left shouting in the wind. And there’s only a handful of us around anymore either.

Maybe that’s what it will take for change, the Caps actually missing the playoffs. Can you imagine? A team with Olympians Alex Ovechkin (leading the planet in goal scoring), Nick Backstrom and John Carlson, plus two-time Norris Trophy candidate Mike Green failing to qualify for the playoffs?

It’s staring us right in the face. Those that follow the team on a daily basis know it. The fans that watch this team night-in and night-out know it. It’s the same talk and not enough action.

Ovechkin said it best after losing to the Rangers Sunday night.

“What am I going to say? ‘Wake up everybody’ Or something like that? We say too much, go out there and do it,” Ovechkin said. “We can be good speaker but you have to show it on the ice.”

Except, they haven’t shown it on the ice, especially over the past month.

They are currently in sixth place in the division, 2-5-3 in their last 10 games. There have been confusing player personnel moves all season long. Three players have requested trades from the organization, yet are still in the lineup. There are a couple of 19-year-olds that should be playing at lower levels, jeopardizing their futures. They carried three goalies for a month. They are one of the worst teams at 5v5 in the league. They have two players on pace for 20+ goal seasons, and one of them has scored one goal in the last 10 games.

Maybe missing the playoffs is what this organization needs.

D.C. United Game 10 Analysis: United falls despite changed lineup

D.C. United lost again. They are remarkably consistent at that, having done so now seven times in a row. At 1-8-1, United stand on just four points in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference, already 11 points behind the Philadelphia Union for fifth place and the final playoff spot in the East.

Saturday’s 2-1 loss at FC Dallas wasn’t exactly the same as some of the others. After all, United scored a goal away from RFK Stadium for the first time this season thanks to Dwayne De Rosario’s goal that drew United level just a couple minutes before halftime. It also had a different look, with several changes to the lineup producing starts for defenders Ethan White and James Riley, midfielder Nick DeLeon, goalkeeper Joe Willis, and forward Casey Townsend. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 10 Recap: Progress, but no points for United in Dallas

FC Dallas midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson scored for FC Dallas in the 77th minute off a corner kick to give his side a 2-1 win over D.C. United in a Major League Soccer (MLS) match at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas, tonight. The loss extended United’s winless streak to eight matches (including seven losses), and dropped the club’s record to 1-8-1 (4 points) on the season. FC Dallas improved to a league-best 7-1-3 (24 points).

The 2-1 final was closer than some of United’s recent losses, and deservedly so to some extent, as United were better tonight than they had been in recent weeks. There were decent ideas in the attack, a bit better work on defense, and there was an energy that hadn’t been there in the last few games. But it was all for naught on this night in terms of getting a good result as Watson found himself almost more lucky than good on the winning goal, though had it been United in the same position, they gladly would have taken it. [Read more…]

D.C. United GAME 9 RECAP: United powerless to stop Dynamo

In a season that had started with a 1-6-1 record and only four goals scored in eight games, things actually got worse Wednesday night. United lost to the Houston Dynamo, 4-0, before a sparse crowd at RFK Stadium in Washington. The loss was United’s heaviest of the season, and came courtesy of two goals and an assists by Houston’s Will Bruin, as well as goals by Giles Barnes and Andrew Driver.

United remains last in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference. Houston improved to 6-2-2, 20 points. The Dynamo have now beaten United twice this season, by a combined score of 6-0.

United (1-7-1, 4 points) had a possible goal disallowed (as usual, almost) in the second half, when Houston defender Kofi Sarkodie saved two close shots on the goal line, both by Dwayne De Rosario. On the first, the ball appeared to perhaps cross, while the second, closer to the post at Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall’s left, may not have crossed, though replays on both plays were inconclusive. [Read more…]

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