A third-period penalty on Artem Anisimov looked to be just what the Washington Capitals needed. Instead, some aggressive play and a bad bounce led to a New York Rangers short-handed goal that all but put the game out of reach.
Hockey is life in Montreal. When the Canadiens are playing well, it might be the best hockey city in the world. But when things get bad, the scrutiny can be suffocating and bilingual.
It reached the point where the NHL's suspension process was so mysterious and unclear that it was a running joke. An online "Wheel of Justice" was created to predict a player's supplemental discipline after a questionable incident.
Every point matters this time of year, and down the stretch, for the Washington Capitals. So in the final minute of the third period, they played for it.
Before a game last week, Tomas Vokoun spoke up. He told his Washington Capitals teammates he was going to come out of his net more and play the puck.
As difficult as it is for visiting teams to play at HP Pavilion against the San Jose Sharks, the Washington Capitals were feeling pretty good Saturday night. They had just tied the score early in the third period and silenced a sellout crowd.
David Steckel already was gone, and Boyd Gordon got his payday with the Phoenix Coyotes. The Washington Capitals needed a fourth-line center and faceoff specialist. Jeff Halpern needed a team.
It's not hard to imagine the Washington Capitals in the Winter Classic. Last season, they played at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh against the Penguins, but the dream is that spectacle at home.
The Washington Capitals had gotten accustomed to playing from behind — but they never wanted to get used to it. Early deficits in recent games hamstrung them.