Caps lose in third again, 3-2 to Devils

If anyone knows how to not win a game, it's the Washington Capitals.

Despite being outshot through the first two periods, the Caps led the New Jersey Devils 2-1.

Then they took six penalties in 11 minutes, allowed themselves to be outshot 15-2 in the period and flushed an easily winnable game down the toiled in what would be a 3-2 win for the Devils.

The Devils led the Capitals 30-12 in even-strength shots in the game, and the Caps still led.

Winning comes in different shapes and sizes. Stealing a game is winning. Dominating it from beginning to end is winning. Steadily plugging along and being better than the other team is winning.

The Capitals apparently don't like any of those shapes and sizes.

Blaming a loss on refs is an ultimate sucker move, especially when the numbers point in the other direction.

The bottom line is that the Caps have to be smarter.

That's kind of the story of the season. This team doesn't play very smart. 

They don't get the puck to the front of the net where it's easy to score. They take too many penalties. They have mental lapses.

At least half of the penalties were mental lapses, especially when the players should have realized that the refs were working the whistles. 

The short-handed goal that Patrik Elias was another one.

This one hurts. It was one they could have won, even though they didn't deserve it.

The Caps gave it away because they weren't smart enough.

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Look, Alexander Ovechkin isn't perfect. But he's not washed up. Far from it, in fact.

(If you're perfect, put your name in the comments and I will send you a dollar. And a unicorn.)

He has his flaws but please believe that other teams don't want any little bit of him. He's big, he's fast and, when he's on his game, he's dominant.

Last night he showed that he can still be that player.

He drew two big penalties by undressing Devils defenders on the ice. One of those penalties led to Mathieu Perreault's goal.

He wasn't perfect when he missed a one-on-one oppotunity against Martin Brodeur that would have made it 3-1 in the second period. He also took a penalty halfway through the third that wasn't so wise.

But that's not being "washed up".

Label him so at your own risk.

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The one thing that needs to happen in the next offseason has nothing to do with the team.

Somebody needs to make the glass higher in the Verizon Center.

Jay Beagle put one over the glass and got called for it, giving the Devils their first five-on-three of the third period. 

The NHL rulebook says that the glass at the ends of the rink has to be eight feet tall and, around the rest of the rink, the glass can be no less than five feet tall.

At some point in just about every game at the Verizon Center, somebody in red puts one over the glass.

It magically doesn't happen for the other team, which is remarkable for whatever reason, but that doesn't matter.

Make the boards a little higher before we all go insane. 

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Keeping Mike Ribeiro is the most important thing the Caps can do this season.

He came to DC during the 2012 NHL draft for a second-round pick and Cody Eakin.

He has been the best player this season for the Caps.

Scoring his sixth goal of the season, his point total is up to 19 this year, best on the team. 

His deal is up at the end of the year and he certainly has a place on this team.

It's not going to be easy. There are a lot of free agents after this season.

But who cares? Which ones are worth keeping around?

Given how this season has gone to this point, there aren't a whole lot of players who have earned long-term deals.

 

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