Sorry, this is going to be a bit brief tonight (my flight for Toronto leaves in a little more than seven hours). The Caps outshot the Canadiens 27-8 in the final 40 minutes, but lost a 1-0 lead in a 3-2 defeat. Bruce Boudreau was not happy with the start, even the Caps did lead at the first intermission.
Here’s a few tidbits from the aftermath here at the Phone Booth:
* Tom Poti left this game early in the second period and did not return. He has an upper-body injury and Bruce Boudreau made it sound like he’s not going to play tomorrow night. Boudreau said someone will be recalled from Hershey, even if it is only precautionary (at this point only Poti and Shaone Morrisonn are options to play) …
* … Because Boudreau said Alexander Semin is not going on the trip. Beyond him, Mike Knuble and Quintin Laing are definitely out, Boudreau has ruled Milan Jurcina out until Monday and Boyd Gordon hasn’t skating since re-injuring his back. So it is either Shaone Morrisonn, Poti or a call-up for the last spot in the lineup tomorrow night.
Could be either a forward or a defenseman, depending on where the Caps want to play Tyler Sloan (who played both tonight).
* Bruce Boudreau said he thought John Carlson played pretty well in his NHL debut. Carlson had a team-high five hits in 17:24 of ice time. He also hit the left post on a shot. Can’t say he looked out of place, but didn’t do a ton to stand out, either. Looks like he will get another game tomorrow night.
* Both Boudreau and Brendan Morrison said Michal Neuvirth kept the team in the game early, and his teammates didn’t do enough for him late. Neuvirth made one big-time save on a breakaway, but otherwise wasn’t tested a whole lot. He might be headed back to Hershey (especially to open a roster spot for a callup).
* Boudreau didn’t seem to impressed with Alex Ovechkin’s night (five shots on net in 14 attempts in 23:26). Said he hopes it is just him needing time to get back in the swing of things. His buddy Nicklas Backstrom wasn’t overly impressive, either. This was the type of game those two guys needed to take over, but for the first 57 minutes they might have been the third- or fourth-best unit at getting quality chances.
* That said, they might have produced a goal in the second period if Boudreau went right from Tomas Fleischmann to Brendan Morrison on the top line and not experimented with Matt Bradley next to 8 and 19. Probably won’t see that again anytime soon.
That’s all for now. Check back in the morning for the M.A.S.H. update. The Caps could be missing 40 percent of their opening-night lineup (8 of 20) tomorrow night … and they will still put more talent on the ice than the Maple Leafs.