I missed the Buffalo game entirely, the other night. I didn't watch it live, because my kids were watching something, and didn't watch it the next day as another game (Philly vs NJ, of all things) came on the same channel, and recorded over it. Now I remember why I'd set that channel to save two recordings, instead of one.
Then, last night, I forgot to check the channel beforehand (I should have been thinking that it'd be on NBCSN, being on Wednesday night), and didn't set it to record. The good thing was that the game started at 2000, instead of the normal 1900, so I didn't miss nearly as much. But I did still miss the first period and a chunk of the second while getting the kids ready for bed.
I knew, beforehand, that there were some injuries (I've been close to keeping up on twitter, lately). So I knew the defense was a bit of a mess (Orpik and Green were both out. Hopefully not for long), with Schmidt (glad to see him back from injury) and Schilling on the back line.
Bura also got sent down, again, for reasons that mystify me. I suspect the proximate cause is to get him playing time when Trotz wants to sit him, but I don't understand why Barry doesn't want him on the ice. He's not a perfect player (geeze, he's 19, what do you expect?), but he's pretty damned good. More to the point, he improves the team when he's there.
My suspicion is that Trotz is getting a biased (in the technical sense; I forget what this particular bias is called) view of Bura, where he sees the mistakes and downplays all the good stuff. Net, he's heavily positive, but it's certainly true that he makes some mistakes.
Anyway, the rest of the second period went about as badly as possible, given that the Caps didn't give up any goals (they were already down 2-1 when I turned it on). I don't have a count from that point forward, but they only had four shots on net for the whole period. That's not a record, but it's really terrible. Not surprisingly, two questionable power plays (I don't understand how the hit that Glencross responded to wasn't a penalty for being a hit to the head, which would have made it matching penalties. And I didn't see anything wrong with the hit that sent OV to the box, either) didn't help with that. But even without those, they were spending way too much time in their own zone.
Still, being down only one, the third opened with a bit of hope. And the Caps really took it to the Rangers, keeping them hemmed in. Particular kudos on that to Schmidt for one unbelievable shift, early on, where he kept it in three or four times in a row.
Unfortunately, the only goal in the period came when Carlson and Schmidt both messed up (Carlson's pass was errant and slow, and Schmidt came forward too much to try to get it), leading to a two-man breakaway with Kreider and St Louis. No surprise when MSL buried that one for the two-goal advantage.
That came with a bit over two minutes left, but basically left the Caps hosed. They continued pressing, and took Holtby out right away, but it wasn't enough, and the Rangers skated away with the win and a tie for the President's Cup (four-way tie; how weird is that. All four division leaders are tied with 91 points). And it's only technically a tie, too, as the Rangers have 1-3 games in hand against each of the others, as well as the best goal differential. Nashville has the best Fenwick differential of the four, though (by a lot, compared to the Rangers. Amazingly, the Rangers are barely positive in Fenwick +/-).
Disappointing game, but no real reason to be particularly discouraged. Frankly, Talbot had an amazing game to keep the Caps behind. They'll do better.