Capitals 2 - Tampa Bay 5

As the saying goes: "If it ain't broke, juggle your line combinations and completely alter your overall gameplan."

Or so it would seem based on Glen Hanlon's handling of the team in tonight's 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay. After having success against the best team in the NHL by employing an aggressive forecheck, Hanlon elected to have the team play a more passive, trapping-style of game against a Lightening team that, much like the Senators, has most of it's firepower centered on one line. As a result, the Caps came out pretty flat in the first period, and were very lucky that the Lightning mailed the first period in as well. I don't think I've ever seen a more boring period of hockey played.

Hanlon also juggled the line combonations pretty drastically, at one point going so far as to send Nicklas Backstrom onto the ice in between similarly talented offensive dynamos Donald Brashear and Matt Bradley. Why? Why would he do that? There's no possible explanation for such a thing that could possibly make any sense. Although, to be fair, "The Killer B's" would be a great nickname for that line.

Okay. Rant over. Let's move on to my quick hit thoughts for the game:

  • Olie Kolzig looked kind of shaky at times. This team can't afford to have him do that. Ever.
  • Hello again, offensive-minded Mike Green. We missed you.
  • Donald Brashear, for the second time in three games, took a stupid penalty late in the game that really handcuffed any chance the Caps had of mounting a comeback.
  • Chris Bourque had 7:27 time on ice. How is it that Brashear and Bradley can get playing time with an offensive minded guy like Backstrom, but Bourque is left to languish on the fourth line and asked to fill a role he isn't really suited for?
  • After outshooting Ottawa 35-28, the Caps flipped the script and were outshot 34-25.
The Caps are now 2-5 at home, so perhaps it's a good thing that, after a four day layoff, their next two games are on the road against dvision rivals. Of course, one of those rivals are the Florida Panthers who have had the Caps' number for the last few seasons, and the other is this same Tampa Bay team. The Lightning are 6-0-1 at home, for those of you keeping score.


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