It’s over. Commence panicking. Get the pitchforks and torches.
We’re kidding, of course, but the Caps have followed up five periods of looking like the 1977 Canadiens to open the season with seven periods of looking like, well, a team that can score goals but can’t stop them. After the game, Caps coach Bruce Boudreau shared his, um, thoughts on several factions of the team:
ON THE GOALTENDING
“Those are the ones in the third period that [Theodore] has to stop. He’s got to stop them. I mean, he kept us in the game for most of the game, but those are the ones — goals 3 and 4 — that you have to stop.”
ON THE POWER PLAY
“We played as individuals instead of a unit and that’s what happens. That’s we talked about in between periods. If you’re going to play like individuals, you’re going to get individual results — nothing is going to happen.”
ON TEAM DEFENSE
“It is a combination of three — forwards not coming back [plus the goaltending and defense]. Everything is a team. It is a team game. When things go bad, there are five guys on the ice. When I looked at the [second] goal, five guys made a mistake.”
ON THIRD AND FOURTH LINES
“If you’re not going to score, then you’d better not be on the ice for goals against. That’s the creed I’ve always lived by. This is no excuse for Alex’s line, but they’re going to get the odd goal scored on them because they take chances, but they’re in the end going to score a lot more than they give up. It was lines three and four — if you’re not going to score, you’d better not be on for any goals against.”
NOTE: Both lines were on the ice for a goal against in this one. None of those seven players who have skated on the third and fourth lines have scored a goal to this point. Neither have any of the seven defensemen, for that matter.
ON THE DEFENSE
“There’s not one first-year guy on the defense. These guys have all been around. Who’s the youngest guy — Schultz? This is his fourth year, third year in the NHL. These guys should know what the hell they are doing. Right now we’re not playing good enough.”
So … yeah, that’s pretty much everybody.
* The power play was 1-for-9, including more than three minutes of either 5-on-3 or 4-on-3 time without a goal.
* The defense had several breakdowns in the first 25 minutes, but Jose Theodore bailed them out. Then Theodore yielded four goals in less than 22 minutes (that trend has now found both goalies).
* As mentioned before, there has been no secondary scoring beyond the top six forwards.
* Mike Green logged a ton of ice time (27:38), but he only got 2 of 15 shots on net.
* The Caps continued to excel in the faceoff circle (59 percent), but it seemed like there were an unusually high number of icings by the home team — a product of impatience and trying to hit the home run when it wasn’t there.
As for the good on this night …
* Nicklas Backstrom potted his first two goals of the year, and now leads the NHL with 10 points, one more than his linemate Alex Ovechkin (who was held pointless after three straight three-point nights).
* Brian Pothier had a great pass to set up Alexander Semin for a goal, and was pretty solid otherwise. Here’s betting he doesn’t find his stall without a sweater when healthy anytime soon.
Caps practice at 11 tomorrow. Given Boudreau’s mood tonight, it is possible it could be quite the workout. Everyone off the ledge though — and there are probably going to be more nights like this over the course of this regular season.