Caps struggle again, lose 5-2 to Pittsburgh

Welp. That was ugly.

The Capitals visited the Consol Energy Center Thursday evening struggling to get any momentum going this season. They did nothing to buck that trend.

 

The Caps came out of the gates strong. Mike Ribeiro continued his hot streak, scoring his fourth goal of the season in a sequence that saw Marc-Andre Fleury dramatically fall to the ice, losing his helmet in the process. The first period ended 1-0 in favor of the Caps.

 

Then the wheels fell off.

 

Michael Neuvirth gave up two goals to Evgeni Malkin and Pascal Dupuis. The second goal went five-hole and was a quintessential “soft goal”. That was all coach Adam Oates needed to see from Neuvirth.

 

Enter Braden Holtby to (hopefully) stop the bleeding.

 

The Capitals continued their undisciplined ways, conceding four penalties in the 2nd period. The Penguins scored on three of the resulting power plays. After goals from James Neal, Matt Cooke, and Sidney Crosby, the Caps found themselves down 5-1 at the end of the 2nd period.

 

The third period began much like the first, with both sides having opportunities. The Capitals went to the power play due to some hard work down low by Alexander Ovechkin. It was number 8 who converted the chance with a vintage Ovi goal from the left face-off circle.

 

That goal seemed to light a fire under Ovechkin, as he began flying around the ice, seemingly hitting anything that moved. The passion was too little, too late, as the Caps failed to score again.

 

Final score: Pittsburgh Penguins 5, Washington Capitals 2.

 

Take-aways from the game:

 

  • Adam Oates is desperate. Pulling Neuvy was a questionable move, but it's clear he is trying anything at this point.

  • This is the most undisciplined Caps team in recent memory, and their position in the standings directly reflects that.

  • Mike Ribeiro is awesome. Which stinks because at this rate he will likely be trade bait at the deadline.

  • The Caps may have overvalued their goaltending situation. Holtby's awesome 2012 playoff run appeared to sure up the goalie position. Now, doesn't look so certain.

 

On to the next one. The Caps host the Florida Panthers Saturday at Verizon Center.

 

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