There was a general theme from the players and coach Bruce Boudreau after this 4-1 loss to red-hot Carolina Hurricanes — the Caps had a strong first period, slipped in the second and couldn’t get it back in the third. Just the other day Boudreau said hockey isn’t like a faucet, and tonight was a good example.
Here are few notes and quotes from the aftermath:
* Bruce Boudreau was not happy with officiating. There were two calls — diving on Tomas Fleischmann and roughing on Mike Green — that led to 4-on-4s instead of a Caps power play, and he didn’t like that much.
“We should have had two or three more power plays,” Boudreau said. “If somebody looks at these [plays] – just look at them and tell me what you think. I’ve looked at them five times and I don’t see where these calls are. I just can’t see them. It is my humble opinion, but holy frig, in my estimation there were some really iffy calls.”
There are plenty of rules that could be changed/tweaked, but why exactly is it a dive and a trip/hook? Do they ever call a charge and a blocking foul in a basketball game? Is it ever offensive and defensive pass interference in football? It has to be one or the other. Either Fleischmann flopped to try and draw a call, or he was tripped. 99 times out of 100, it can’t be both, but it seems like both are called every time a diving penalty is assessed.
“Look at it — there was no chance it was a dive,” Boudreau said. “He gets corkscrewed, his leg gets corkscrewed and he doesn’t even try to fake it. He just goes down because the guy gives him a corkscrew. Then on Green’s when they went for the double minor, they cross-check him in the head and that’s fine. But then Pitkanen goes at him. Pitkanen suckers him, then Mike retaliates and there is still only two [minutes] each given. It just blows me away.”
* Turnovers were a problem, especially in the final 40 minutes. After a strong start, the Caps fell back on trying to be cute and it ended up costing them.
“That’s what they thrive on,” Caps defenseman Brian Pothier said. “They’re a transition team that is very effective – when you make a mistake, they capitalize.”
* Cam Ward had a pretty good night, and made a couple of nice saves when he needed to. But for the most part, it was another night when the Caps’ 32 shots were more about quantity than quality.
* Jose Theodore also had a pretty good night. He should have had the first one, but it is hard to fault him on the next two considering he had no help in front of the net (Rod Brind’Amour was wide open on the first one, too).
Boudreau said he hadn’t seen the replays of the three goals yet, but he wanted to know why there was someone so open near the net on all of them.
* If the season ended today, these two teams would square off in the first round. Given how physical this contest turned out to be, that might be a fun series.
* Caps fans were well represented in amongst a sell-out crowd at RBC Center. There were two huge pockets behind the one goal and a few others scattered about throughout the building. Overall, it was a festive atmosphere — a nice change of pace from the three half-empty buildings the Caps have gone to during the rest of this trip.
* The Caps are off tomorrow and only play twice between now and April 1.