From The Verge of a Playoff Spot to Bitter Defeat

Posted on March 04, 2014 by Adam Stringham

Tomorrow is the trade deadline; check out what I had to say about it here.

In typical Washington fashion the Capitals defeated themselves on Sunday afternoon. For the third straight game since the Olympic break the Capitals established a two goal lead, and this time they finally managed to blow it. The play that ultimately was the Capitals’ undoing was Orlov’s five minute major with ten minutes remaining in the third period. So I am going to start by focusing on how the Capitals like to handle the player once considered the NHL’s number one prospect…6’1”, 190 lbs. Brayden Schenn.  

Remember that time a Capital’s player totally annihilated him?

There was this time:



And this time:


Oh and then most recently this time:



Schenn has had a tough year when facing the Caps. But despite all of the hurt that the Caps have unleashed on Schenn it is ultimately he who has gotten the better of the matchups. Dmitry Orlov was in the midst of one of the best games of his pro career when he decided to take vigilante justice on the often demolished Schenn. Orlov was plastered during that same shift:  


At the time I thought Schenn was a little late in finishing his check on Orlov, the puck was close to Green’s feet, and thought that it may have constituted an interference call. Regardless, Orlov should not have retaliated in the way that he did. Orlov’s hit was both a board and a charge and it ultimately cost the Capitals the game. Below is the Shot attempt chart from Sunday’s game. 

Photo Credit: www.extraskater.com

The red circle indicates Backstrom’s “no goal” and the black circle indicates Orlov’s penalty.

Quick side note: I understand why the call on the ice stood in relation to the Backstrom goal. I do not think that there was conclusive evidence necessary to overturn the call.

The Capitals attempted to slow the game down and eliminate Philadelphia chances in the third period. This may have been in part due to the fact that the team had played a tough game the previous day against Boston. The strategy appeared to be mildly successful until Orlov’s penalty.  Once Orlov incurred his major the shot attempt volume for Philadelphia sky rocketed as expected, and Holtby did not make the extraordinary saves that he had in the first and second periods. The Capitals continued to play in a shell like mentality after the penalty expired and failed to drive play for any portion of the remainder of the game. Orlov’s selfish retaliatory hit killed the Capitals.

That being said the Capitals had plenty of trouble with two goal leads before the Flyers game. For comparison here are the shot attempt charts for the games against Florida and Boston. 

Photo Credit: www.extraskater.com

Photo Credit: www.extraskater.com


 

Random Thoughts:

1.       Grabowski needs to be healthy for this team to make the playoffs.

2.       Ovechkin had a great first period on Sunday but was awful for the rest of the game. I believe he had the worst CF% among forwards on the team.

3.       Let’s all have fun on “No Dumb Trades”/Bounce Back Wednesday.

4.       Word on the street is that Kuznetsov’s team was eliminated so he should be on his way here ASAP (thanks for the tip Andy Hom).

Follow me on twitter @Stringhama and @TalkTheRed

next up:

Caps Waste Golden Opportunity to Move into Playoff Position

March 03, 2014

Ill Advised Penalty, Inability to Handle Adversity Continue Season Long Pattern

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