I missed last night's Caps/Wild game completely, unfortunately.  I was getting up early to take some pictures (bitterly cold at dawn, too), and the game slipped my mind.

So I looked it up, and saw the score, thinking, "Guess they didn't play that well".  Then I saw that they had taken a 2-0 lead, and that was very disappointing.  Then I saw that the shots were 11-1 in the first (when the Caps took that lead), and was amazed.  And those two goals were thirteen seconds apart.  Way to not let up!

Then I noticed that the shots on the game were 30-11, and that the Caps led the league in possession last night (69% Corsi For, against a pretty good possession team in Minnesota).  How did they lose?

Then I looked at all the gaols in the second.  Four for minnie, one more for Green.  Holtby had allowed four goals on only eight shots.  Three of those goals were on the power play, on their only three shots with the man advantage (side note: there were five PPs for Minnesota, so the Caps did a good job restricting their shots.  Excellent, in fact.  But the goaltending was regressing to the mean, as one would expect.  Just considerably harder than expected).

The third third period was again heavily dominated by the Caps.  But Holtby let in one of the two shots the Wild managed.  I don't know that I'd call it the worst goaltending performance ever (my first thought was Roy's last game in Montreal, but his nine goals allowed were on twenty-six shots), but it's in the conversation.  It is the most goals allowed on eleven shots, since shots started being tracked.

I hope that isn't going to obliterate how well Holtby's played for the Caps; it was an atrocious game, but still just one.  I suspect, though, it's going to keep Holtby on the bench (or scratched) for a while, with Gru getting most of the starts and Neuvy the leftover scraps.  I hope I'm wrong about that.

One bit of weirdness on the game; Suter managed to be +2 for Minnesota, despite the score being tied at evens (and OV was -2).  More than that, though, Suter had his first ever hat trick (yes, apparently he didn't manage a hat trick at any point before he even got to the NHL), making two games in a row the Caps gave up a hat trick.  Very weird.

I don't really read anything into it, but it's certainly not a good thing.

Still, as noted, the Caps flat out dominated in possession, which is a fantastic sign for the future.  My note about a trend, though?  That's four games in a row the Caps have had the edge in possession, and they have only two points to show for those games.  Still, if they can maintain their improved play (and I've got to think that the breakout improving has a lot to do with that), they'll win a lot of games.  Despite the four consecutive losses, I'm feeling a lot better than I did a couple weeks ago.

Two other bits of weirdness I noticed last night.  Mathieu Perreault is 18th in the NHL in points per minute, ahead of everyone on the Caps (Grabo is leading, and he's 28th in the league).  What did he get traded for, again?  And the other was that Erskine showed up as the best possession player last night (91% (!!!!) CF); I have no idea how that happened.

Unrelated note: my daughter and I went to Kettler Friday morning, to skate (her second time).  When the public skate ended, we went over to see if the Caps were still practicing.  They'd mostly finished, and only Wilson and Latta were left (and were goofing off).  Wilson skated by the corner where we were, and Wilson hit the glass with his stick as he passed.  My daughter was a bit scared; I had to reassure her a little.

Anyway, the Caps (and Holtby) have several days until the next game; it'll be Thursday in Tampa.  I'd be surprised, but I hope Holtby gets another chance, so he can exorcise the memory of that stinkbomb.

Go Caps!

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