That Looked Familiar

From January 4 to January 9, the Capitals had a stretch of three straight games in which they held the opposing team to two or fewer goals (they allowed five total over that stretch). They won all three of those games. From February 3 to tonight, the Caps have now held their opponents to two or fewer goals in three straight games for the second time this year (again, five total during this stretch). This time? One win, one loss, and one shootout loss. The difference? The first time, the Caps scored five, three and six goals respectively, an average of 4.67 goals per game. This time around, they've scored zero, one and two goals respectively (steady progress, at least) for an average of exactly one goal per game.

You can talk all you want about steadying the defensive corps, but this team lives and dies by it's offense and right now, they are not getting the job done. There's not much to say about this game that hasn't already been said about the previous two. Start with a healthy helping of blown opportunities on offense, add a dash of soft goal between Olie Kolzig's arm and his body and sprinkle liberally with an inability to pass the puck effectively through the neutral zone and you have the recipe for yet another Caps loss. It is becoming repetitive and, frankly, somewhat boring.

Alex Ovechkin had one of the worst games of his career. He was virtually a non-factor tonight save for his delay of game penalty that ultimately cost the Caps a point in the standings. I'm not sure I understand why Glen Hanlon felt compelled to have Ovechkin spend so much time on the bench, but it seemed to me like it started happening after the Caps first power play when Ovechkin didn't make the line change with the rest of the first PP unit. We saw Hanlon bench Ovechkin last year for double-shifting without permission and that is pretty much the only explanation I can come up with as to why Alex Semin got moved in OV's spot on the top line. It certainly isn't as if Semin was all that much more succesful.

The sad thing is, the Caps are finally starting to get some scoring support from the secondary forwards. Brooks Laich's goal was as pretty a slapshot you'll see, and Eric Fehr exhibited some great hands on the second goal. Fehr was especially solid tonight. Without Ovechkin's delay of game penalty and the subsequent game tying goal, Fehr's goal would have been the game winner. He nearly had another goal (which then would also have been the GWG), but was robbed on a brilliant save by Tim Thomas.

Speaking of Tim Thomas, is it just me, or does he appear to be completely insane? I give him a lot of credit for the bizarre little backflip he did after Fehr scored, but what the heck was that all about? And then the Comcast cameras caught him yelling at Alexander Semin after Semin beat him with the backhand in the shootout. I can understand a goalie having something of a hot temper *cough*Olie*cough* but there really wasn't a whole lot to get upset about on either of those goals.

On the positive side of things, the loser point the Caps picked up tonight keeps them from falling behind Boston in the conference standings (though thet do have three games in hand). So we can thank Gary Bettman for that, at least.

Recaps From People That Matter:
-A View From the Cheap Seats
-Alex Ovetjkin #8
-Off Wing Opinion

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