A couple things on the Caps opener
The Washington Capitals lost their season opener to the Tampa Bay Lightning, 6-3.
It was just 3-3 at the beginning of the third period but the final third was most certainly lackluster for the Caps.
Let's talk about some things real quick, shall we?
This is the first game of the season under a new coach. After a six-day training camp. On the road.
Now is not the time to panic. Just hang loose.
There are going to be growing pains.
The sooner those growing pains no longer include giving up three goals in the third period, which started tied, the better.
The rest of the game probably would have turned out very differently had Nick Backstrom not taken a tripping penalty while on the penalty kill.
It was a dumb penalty. Tripping while on the PK in a tied game in the third period?
Backstrom should have known better. Instead, it ended up being the go-ahead goal. It would have been nice to take the season opener off of a Southeast Division rival on the road.
This penalty was a game-changer.
The Caps third goal was a nice link up between two of the new guys on the team.
Second-line center Mike Ribeiro caught the Lightning defense in transition, swiped the puck and took a shot that forced a rebound.
Riberio's winger, Wojtek Wolski, buried the rebound to make it 3-3 with 1:45 remaining in the second period.
Defenseman Jack Hillen didn't have as auspicious a debut as his fellow debutants.
He got taken to the boards awkwardly in the second period by Vincent Lecavalier.
It was the kind of hit that, although not punishable by the rulebook, should have been frowned upon by the rest of the Caps. Instead, they kept the same pace.
It's never going to be good news when Jason Chimera is your send-a-message guy. Maybe Joey Crabb is that guy going forward.
Stats that matter:
Matt Hendricks: 6-0 on faceoffs.
Mike Ribeiro: 4-10 on faceoffs.
Caps outshot Lightning 17-8 in first period, were outshot 26-13 in second/third periods.
Tampa Bay powerplay: 3 of 7.
This should techincally be under the 'stats that matter' section but it deserves its own.
If nobody completes their hat trick in the games currently being played or in the late game tonight, this man, Joel Ward, will be joint leading scorer of the whole NHL. He scored six goals in 73 games last year.
Shut 'er down, y'all. Nothing else to do here.