The Capitals played a complete game tonight, which is much more than what can be said about most of the games during this now seven-game losing streak. Washington came out like a team possessed in the first period and had several chances to pull away, but the Anaheim Ducks found a way to escape with a 2-1 overtime victory. At least the “Flying V” wasn’t neccessary.
- About those missed chances. Brooks Laich, who scored the lone goal, beat Jonas Hiller, but just as the puck was about to cross the goal line, Ryan Getzlaf swatted the puck away. Alex Ovechkin found himself alone on a breakaway in the second period, but hit the post above Hiller’s glove. To top it all off, Mike Green, Mike Knuble and Nicklas Backstrom had a 3-on-1 that Hiller somehow stopped. Hiller had both Goldberg and Julie “The Cat” Gaffney within him as he made 31 saves.
- “Mighty Ducks” jokes aside, the Caps played well. Semyon Varlamov rebounded from his rough start against the New York Rangers and his 22 saves kept the team in the game. They fired 32 shots on net and kept the Ducks’ offensive guns in check until Getzlaf’s game-winning goal.
- The line of Laich, David Steckel and Matt Bradley were responsible for watching Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan and did an amazing job. They outscored the Ducks’ top trio in regulation and fired 11 shots on net. With the losing streak, Bruce Boudreau may be more willing to change the lines around, but he should consider keeping this one intact.
- Alex Semin didn’t play. Did anyone notice? Perhaps the Capitals could have signed Gunner Stahl. Okay, one more Mighty Ducks joke.
Steckel summed up the Capitals’ December slide perfectly: “Who cares about how well we can play? We’re sick of how well we can play. Losing sucks.” You’re gosh darn right it does. For more insight into how a team responds to adversity, check out HBO’s 24/7 series chronicling the Caps and Penguins’ road to the Winter Classic. In the mean time, the Caps have two days to practice before back-to-back weekend tilts. If the losing streak reaches eight, Ovi will need to change his number.