For about 30 minutes of hockey, it looked like the Caps might break out of their slump. But it turned into another night of missed opportunities, and Caps dropped their seventh game in a row to the visiting Anaheim Ducks, 2-1 in overtime. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf was too much for the Caps as he made a defensive play to save a certain goal in the first period and then scored the game winner in OT.
After a tentative start for both teams, the Caps pressed to find an advantage. In the 15th minute, Nicklas Backstrom buzzed in from center ice. Matt Bradley and Brooks Laich crashed the slot in front of Ducks’ goalie Jonas Hiller. Backstrom circled the net and found John Carlson sneaking down from the point. Carlson shanked the shot, but Hiller had already committed. Laich took a backhand whack at the rebound and found the back of the net. It was exactly the kind of goal the Caps needed: bodies in front of the net, a broken play and a lucky bounce leading to a goal. The Caps were earning their bounces by making things happen. A few minutes later Laich slipped another one past Hiller only to have Getzlaf sweep it off the goal line. “We had the puck most of the night,” said Laich. “We were the ones with the chances.”
‘Stekel Wins Another Face Off’
courtesy of ‘clydeorama’
After tallying 17 shots in the opening period and dominating the face-offs, the Caps carried the momentum into the second period. But the opportunities came … and went. Mike Green sprung Alex Ovechkin on a clean breakaway, but Ovie hit the crossbar. Moments later Backstrom, Knuble and Green connected for three quick passes on a 3-on-1 break, only to see Hiller spin around and rob Backstrom on what appeared to be an open net. The Ducks tied the score at 1-1 when Joffrey Lupol tipped a rebound past Semyon Varlamov on a power play. (Yes, THAT Joffrey Lupol.)
Even with two days off the Caps looked sluggish down the stretch. Maybe the weight of the losing streak is getting to them. “Everything that we did out there tonight was what we had worked on, what we wanted to do,” said rookie Karl Alzner. “This is one of those games that sometimes happens when you play really well and it just doesn’t go your way.” In the third period and overtime the Ducks outshot the Caps 10-6 and commanded the pace of the game. With one minute left in OT, Getzlaf spun away from two defenders to get open at the right circle and beat Semyon Varlamov to win the game.
The Caps are looking for bright spots wherever they can find one. “I never want to be happy with 1 point when you can get 2,” said coach Boudreau. “But it sure was a great effort from our team through all the stuff that’s been going on.”
The Caps have two days off before going to Boston and Ottawa over the weekend. Next week they face the Devils (Tuesday) and the Penguins (Thursday) at home.