By Adam Vingan
Hockey is a 60-minute sport. Unfortunately for the Washington Capitals, they seemingly haven’t received that memo this season. Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Nashville Predators was en route to possibly becoming one of Washington’s most complete performances of the season. After 55 minutes of scoreless hockey and unbelievable saves between Pekka Rinne and Tomas Vokoun, Troy Brouwer finally solved the former when his wrist shot beat Rinne blocker side to give the Caps a 1-0 lead with just 4:46 remaining.
Based on the Caps’ tough defensive play all night and Vokoun’s steady hand in net, a win seemed inevitable, but then you remember that this is the Caps we’re talking about. The following is a dissection of the anatomy of a five-minute collapse.
Just 28 seconds after taking a 1-0 lead, the Caps found themselves tied once again when Martin Erat was able to slip through the defense and tap in Shea Weber’s no-look pass along the crease past Vokoun. How did Erat evade the Caps’ defenders so easily? Because they stopped skating.
Boudreau said his players “were putting their hands up and stopped skating” like John Carlson in the picture above. Carlson’s hesitation allowed Erat to slip behind him. It even seems that Carlson had no idea Erat was behind him at all. Also, what exactly is Alex Ovechkin doing?
On Colin Wilson’s game-winning goal about four minutes later – with 25 seconds left – he made a fool out of John Erskine. Erskine lost his stick while pressuring Wilson along the boards and, after going down for the initial shot block, was slow to recover and was literally flailing as he did his best to get back to his man. By then, it was too late.
Weber added an empty-net goal to seal the victory. Once again, the Caps failed to close out the opposition and have proven once again that they possess no killer instinct whatsoever. The Caps have blown a lead in four of their six losses this season and the Washington team that started 7-0-0 is an afterthought now that they are 3-5-1 since. With that, the Caps leave the “Music City” on a low note.