Tonight's Caps game was one of the worst they've played all season. They weren't blown out of the water by a superior team (which, I'm becoming more and more convinced, is most of the league), they didn't fall asleep, but were just outplayed from beginning to end by a team they should be able to beat. Especially at home. Especially when that other team played the night before.
They were just out of sync all night; there were a ton of giveaways (the scoresheet says ten; I would have guessed several more). There was only one case of running into one another, but there were several other close calls (two or three instances of stickhandling below/between the feet of a team-mate.
As usual, they were badly outshot (and badly outchanced in the first, 6-1). They didn't even manage to outshoot the Isles in the third, which they entered down by two. It's very rare that a team down by two or more doesn't outshoot the opposition. Well, these Caps managed it.
I'm not sure what's going on (obviously, missing Backstrom and Green doesn't help), but I'm beginning to think this team is just fundamentally broken. Hunter might have fixed some of the glaring problems seen under Boudreau, but I'm not certain he hasn't introduced new ones that are as big, if not bigger, than the original ones.
Put simply, they need to do a better job getting, and keeping, the puck. And they need to shoot more. Seventeen shots is pathetic. And they were outshot in every period. Again.
TVo actually did a good job of keeping this from becoming a rout. Two of the goals he had no chance on, and the third would have required a magnificent save.
I hope this is just a blip where every bounce went the wrong way for the Caps, but I'm very dubious.
We won't have to wait long to find out a bit more, though; there'll be a game tomorrow night in Montreal. I wouldn't want to be on the flight up there; that's for sure.
As a side note for tomorrow's game, Rene Bourque (who delivered the dirty hit on Backstrom that has kept him out of the lineup) was traded to Montreal, and will be playing. We'll see what kind of fireworks that leads to. I'm guessing that Erskine will be dressing for the Caps tomorrow.
On a vaguely similar note, Green was put on IR (as I speculated, the other night), but was moved to LTIR today, and had sports hernia surgery. They're now saying 4-6 weeks recovery. Nice to have a better idea what's going on. Get better, Mike. This team needs you, desperately, but they need you 100%.
Update: After thinking about it, I might have been a little bit harsh (not a lot, but a little). In the Caps defense, when outshot in the third last night, they did spent a lot of time killing penalties.