After a strong first half of the game, the Washington Capitals had a royal collapse that saw them allow four unanswered goals, 3 in the third period. The Los Angeles Kings, who improved to 6-0-2 in their last 8 games, consistently drove the net with success. The Kings had little trouble defending the Capitals’ toothless attack, which disintegrated into individual attempts to skate past multiple defenders as the game wore on.
Capitals goalie Semyon Varlamov (24 saves) was hardly to blame for the loss, as the Capitals routinely left him hanging out to dry at the worst times. Varly could only bail out his teammates so many times.
The Good: Alexander Ovechkin opened the game with panache, scoring a vintage goal just 1:06 into the game. Driving down the left wing, Ovie cut to the middle, and in the same motion as he avoided a pokecheck, he used All-Star defenseman Drew Doughty as a screen and fired a quick wrist shot that surprised rookie goaltender Jonathan Bernier (22 saves). Ovie finished the game with 2 hits, 2 blocked shots, but only 2 shots of his own as he led all skaters from both teams with 24:35 of ice time.
The Capitals’ other star today was D.J. King. In just 3:12 of the first period, King had 3 hits, a shot on goal, and a heavyweight bout with Kevin Westgarth. He added a takeaway and another hit later in the game.
The Bad: Puck watching. The Capitals were guilty of watching the puck and ignoring their defensive responsibilities today. Mike Green and Jeff Schultz both finished a -3 today, and for good reason. The allowed 22-year old winger Wayne Simmonds (2 assists) to get to the net with ease and left rebounds for his linemates to knock home, as Anze Kopitar and Michal Handzus each had a goal and an assist.
The worst play of the game for the Capitals came when a rebound of a Kyle Clifford chance ended up in the slot and rookie Andrei Loktionov was left all alone by Caps center Mathieu Perreault. Perreault had given up on the play and let Loktionov score an easy rebound goal. Perreault finished the game -2 and only won 2 of 9 faceoffs.
The Ugly: The powerplay. It needs to get uglier because the pretty plays aren’t working. The Capitals went 0-for-4 on the powerplay today, part of a 3-for-40 streak. A single powerplay goal might have had a significant effect on the outcome of the game. The Capitals best chances on the powerplay came when the Capitals’ 4th line of Matt Bradley, David Steckel, and D.J. King came on with 22 seconds left in the first powerplay. They had 2 shots on goal and the best scoring chance of the day after Ovie’s goal. The coaching staff may want to consider using a big body like Steckel in front of the goal on the powerplay. He’s one person on the team who might actually hustle, shoot the puck, go to the net, and appreciate the powerplay time, because none of his teammates seem to get the point.