The Leafs score two 3rd period goals to ruin another solid Neuvirth performance. (CBC.ca)
The Washington Capitals fell to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night by a 3-2 score, their second consecutive loss in the province of Ontario by that scoreline. Holding a 2-1 lead into the third period, Washington conceded two quick goals near the middle of the final frame and could not tie late. The Capitals are now 1-5-1 on the young season and in the NHL’s basement. Some notes from the defeat:
Michal Neuvirth be good, man. His stats don’t exactly show it, but he’s the sole reason the Capitals have three standings points and even had a prayer in this one. The young Czech made 37 saves Thursday, including some of the ten-bell variety. He’s been making excellent saves on big time players when he’s been given the net as his own, and though he will probably get a break tomorrow, it won’t be his fault. Good thing he wasn’t traded, as some suggested this summer.
If George McPhee isn’t exploring the idea of somehow getting rid of Alex Ovechkin, he should be. Ovechkin scored a goal tonight, yes, but has yet to score and even-strength goal in seven games and his defense is deteriorating by the game. On Toronto’s tying goal, he left the point man uncovered and allowed the pass that set up the goal to go through. Then, late in the game, he skated circles (literally: http://ovi.ytmnd.com/) around the entire team, trying to do it all himself. And he’s owed upwards of $9.5 million against the salary cap, which is coming down, into the next decade. Ugh.
As JP of Japers’ Rink noted after the game, these last two games against the Senators and Leafs, Washington was 94-0-9 in regular season games when leading after two periods dating back to February 24, 2009. Now they’re 0-2-0 in their last two games. Eesh.
Nicklas Backstrom also needs to be better. Four points in seven games is not what I expect from a franchise center, but he’s been good over the last season and half when healthy, so I am confident he will get back on track (providing his head and the rest of his body is indeed intact). He’s been too good and consistent in his career, when healthy, not to.
Jeff Schultz and Tomas Kundratek were abused tonight. I would expect to see Roman Hamrlik and Tom Poti back in the lineup against the powerful, but struggling, Flyers on Friday night.
Oh, then the Penguins come to town on Super Bowl Sunday. Run.
Harry Hawkings is a college student credentialed to cover the Capitals for RtR. Follow him on Twitter here for all your news needs this season.