The Caps managed to staunch the bleeding tonight, and beat the Hurricanes in Raleigh. I actually missed a lot of the game; my recording didn't start, and I didn't notice until about halfway through the first (with them already down by a pair). I watched the rest of the first, during which the Caps looked terrible.
I did set the recording for the rest, but turned the game off after the first to put the kids to bed. When I turned it back on, I saw the score right away (forgot to change the channel so that wouldn't happen), so I ended up watching it from there (a minute or two into the third). Now that I look at the box score, I couldn't have missed OV's tying PP goal by much.
The Caps, for the most part, were still not looking good; it wasn't nearly as lopsided as what I watched of the first, but was still played too much in the Caps end of the rink.
But they did manage a couple of good scoring threats. Carlson started one from his own blue line, hitting OV in stride, cutting between two defenders, at the other blue line. OV made a nice fake to get the goalie on the ice. Well, actually, it was too nice a fake as he lost control of the puck a bit also. He was able to push it towards the net, and put it off the post, and into the back of the goalie's leg. Ribeiro came by to assure that it crossed the line and gave the Caps the lead.
What followed was quite a bit of nail-biting (well, it would have, if the Caps were still in the chase), as the Canes pushed for an equalizer. The two power plays Carolina got did not make that easier for the boys in red. But, thanks to some good saves by Neuvy combined with some good work clearing rebounds (Neuvy was really giving up some juicy rebounds tonight), they were able to hold on.
And OV got his 700th and 701st career points. Very impressive, considering his age and how much a lot of people are going on about how terrible he is (just remember, if he was making $5M/yr, every team in the league would want him).
Outside of that one play (that was really an amazing pass by Carlson), the Caps really seemed to be playing to their place in the standings. Granted, I can't account for why Volpatti and Crabb played over Wolski and Perreault. That seems like dreadful resource management.
But Crabb certainly paid off, as he had the Caps first goal, deflecting a centering pass from Volpatti. That might be the single most unlikely scoring line ever, considering that the second assist went to Alzner. About the only thing I can think of that would be less likely would be those same three, with Alzner being the one to put it into the net. Shorthanded.
For the game, though, the Caps only managed 25 shots, along with Carolina blocking 11. That's just not getting it done. Carolina had half again as many shots, along with forcing twice as many blocks. That kind of ratio (for the Caps) will not win many games. Let's see... that's a PDO of... 1097? Yeah, that's a lot of puck luck.
I'd say something along the lines of "We'll take it", but at this point I'd be just as happy treading water for the rest of the season (in the standings, that is) and getting one of the top picks. Supposedly, there are three to four nearly can't-miss prospects in this year's draft (McKinnon, Druin, Jones, and maybe one more, I think), and it'd be great to get one of them.
Ah well, still need to play out the string. Hopefully some positives can be pulled from it.