December 14, 2019

Washington Capitals Game 2 Recap: Sharks dominate Ovechkin-less Caps

OVECHKIN MISSES GAME DUE TO “PERSONAL REASONS”

If you ever wondered how the Washington Capitals would play without both Alex Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom, you have your answer now.

Not good.

The San Jose Sharks came into D.C. and completely dominated the home team, beating the Caps 5-0 and owning play from the very get-go.

Braden Holtby played well despite allowing three goals — he was simply overwhelmed and got very little help. The Caps were outshot 17-8 in the first period, and the shot attempts reinforce the bigger picture. Through two periods, the Sharks had 10 more shot attempts than the Caps.

San Jose (3-0-0) had the first three power play attempts as well, as the Caps simply didn’t come out prepared to face the high-flying Sharks.

Perhaps missing their captain, Ovechkin, had as much affect emotionally on the team as physically. Ovechkin missed the morning skate and was even late arriving to Verizon Center, and was excused from the lineup due to what the team called “personal reasons.”

“I think we all know we play the same system and we know each other fairly well,” T.J. Oshie said about his missing captain. “Obviously I’m new amongst the guys but I don’t think that played a huge factor. We we’re a little lackadaisical early and they took advantage of that.”

As for the game, the Caps (1-1-0) just never got in it. And when they tried, the officials pushed them back down.

The Sharks broke the ice midway through the first period, as Joe Thornton beat Holtby with Brooks Orpik in the box for a trip. In the second, tough guy Mike Brown got one past the Caps goalie and Tomas Hertl scored his second of the year a few minutes later.

Later in the second, Dmitry Orlov appeared to have scored his first of the year. The Sharks asked for replay using a coaches challenge for goalie interference. After a lengthy review, referee Tim Peel and the crew in Toronto overruled the play on the ice and ruled that Jay Beagle did indeed interfere with goalie Martin Jones (31 saves).

The replay showed Beagle may have brushed Jones’ arm or glove at the side of the crease, but Jones was neither knocked off his line, nor did he complain to the officials after the goal.

Regardless, Orlov’s tally was taken off the board.

“I think it was frustrating,” coach Barry Trotz said. “We were frustrating ourselves with our own play in the first part, and then we started getting a little momentum, and you’re hoping that goal [helps] and [that] you’re sort of able to grab onto something, and we weren’t able to. They called it back, and it wasn’t a goal. So we had to mentally get going again and playing…Obviously, there was no quit.”

After a third period where both teams simply tried to avoid injury, the Caps pulled Holtby (27 saves) with over 3 minutes left, but all it resulted in were Matt Nieto and Chris Tierney’s empty-net goal for the final result.

“We were down three with five minutes to go, [and] we pulled our goalie,” Trotz said. “We said if we’re going to go down, we’re going to go down swinging. So, I like that fact — that there is no quit in the room.”

CAPS NOTES:

  • Defenseman John Carlson played in his 400th NHL/Capitals game tonight and led all skaters in ice time (25:10). He becomes the 13th defenseman in franchise history to play 400 games for Washington. The 6’3”, 215-pound defenseman has played in 380 consecutive games, marking the second-longest consecutive games played streak in Capitals franchise history, trailing Bob Carpenter (422). Carlson and teammate Karl Alzner, who has played in 378 consecutive games, are two of only three defensemen (Keith Yandle) that have not missed a regular-season game in each of the last six seasons (2010-15).
  • Jason Chimera led all skaters in shots (6).
  • Washington outhit San Jose 22-11.

NEXT GAME: The Caps host Chicago Thursday at 7:00 p.m.

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 and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. 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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