The Washington Capitals entered the third period of last nights game against the Toronto Maple leafs with a 4-1 cushion lead, squandered the lead with 3 unanswered third period Leaf tallies, then lost in the shoot out. Amazing. In essence, when the Capitals collapse, they completely fold.
Alexander Ovechkin scored his 12th goal, his second straight game scoring, after going on a 9 game goal-less drought. Newly called up Center Mathieu Perreault scored two goals in his first game back in Washington. Again, Washington put more shots on goal than their opponent, out shooting Toronto 36-28, but defense lapses and mental mistakes led to the Capitals undoing. Although the Caps gained a standing point, it was their third straight loss, second straight in the Verizon Center, previously unheard of.
While Ovechkin has rattled out of his goal slump, other main forwards are beginning to show sings of developing their own slumps.
* Red hot Alexander Semin has cooled off, now in a 4 game goal-less drought. It isn't from shooting. Semin has put 11 shots on the net in the last three games.
* Where is Brooks Laich? Laich has 1 goal in his last 6 games and 2 goal in his last 14 games. Laich is clearly slumping in the goal department. Caps need Laich's scoring power to return.
* Mike Green has not scored a goal in 9 straight games and has 1 goal in his last 12 games. Green is a significant scoring threat from the Caps blue line, but over the last ten games, has virtually disappeared.
These three players alone and their lack of scoring, is killing the Caps. They need Green's hot hand on the power play. They need Semin to return to earlier form. They need Brooks Laich developing scoring opportunities on Line 2. Without all that, the Caps are struggling.
Other notes from last night ... Mathieu Perreaultreturned to Washington yesterday, being called up due to an injured Caps forward. Perreault responded by netting two goals last night. The injured forward appears to be Eric Fehr. He was a scratch last night and may be headed to the injured reserve . . . Bruce Boudreau is setting up the shut down pairing of newly acquired D Scott Hannan with veteran Tom Poti. Poti seems pleased since it will allow him to play a more offensive posture with a shut down defenseman like Hannan backing him up. Poti responded yesterday with a three point night, assisting 3 of the 4 Caps goals . . . The Capitals remain inconsistent in the ability to close a game and lapses in poor defensive judgments. Last night was one of those games where the Caps proved they have firepower from more than just a few skaters, but their defensive play is rather poor.
Shultz injured... Jeff Schultz left the ice in the second period and did not return for the third period. HC Bruce Boudreau confirmed after the game that Schultz broke his thumb and will miss 4 to 6 weeks, putting Schultzie out until mid to late January.