It was a wild game – especially early in the second and late in the third – but at the end of the night, the Washington Capitals were left with a 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Kings.
Defensive breakdowns marred the majority of the game for the Caps. Very early on, the Kings got a few breakaways – and that trend continued. Defensive lapses helped Los Angeles turn a 1-1 game into 3-1 quickly.
And thought it appeared the defensemen were out of position several times, coach Bruce Boudreau didn’t wanna hoist blame onto one set of players.
“The D weren’t where they were supposed to be, but the forwards were giving them too much time to make a play,” he said. “We can blame individual positions, but I mean, when something like that happens all five positions are at fault. When we’re playing good that never happens. Never. We weren’t playing good tonight.”
Not good at all. The end result was, as Boudreau put it, losing four games to the Kings and Blue Jackets.
“They’ve beaten us twice, and we’re a better team than them,” Boudreau said. “That’s a real negative when you’ve lost eight points to Columbus and to L.A. Taking nothing away from those teams, they’re well below us in the standings even if they’re in the West.”
What the Kings took away from the Caps was the puck – mostly the doing of Anze Kopitar and Alexander Frolov. Kopitar abused Shaone Morrisonn for one goal, and Frolov was the facilitator, earning two points and a plus-3 rating.
But the Kings wouldn’t have held on in this one without the impressive efforts of young goaltender Jonathan Quick. Quick made two point-blank saves on Alexander Semin, including a gorgeous glove save that clearly frustrated the Caps.
“[Semin] was high in the slot, I was able to see the puck first off because my D did a good job cleaning out the lanes for me,” Quick said. “It was easier for me to see the puck, and he just tried to go high glove.”
Then Quick put on a clinic in the last minute. He gave up a goal (a blast by Mike Green that was deflected by Brooks Laich) at 18:54, but was a wall after that.
“At the time, you’re not really thinking about it; you’re just taking it one save at a time there,” said Quick, who finished with 41 saves. “But my D did a good job clearing guys out on the rebounds to allow me to cover up the pucks. It was a great game.”
Injury updates were part of the postgame festivities as well. Caps media relations man Nate Ewell said Brent Johnson has a torn labrum in his hip and is set to have surgery next week and be out six-to-eight weeks.
“It just wasn’t cooperating,” Johnson said. “It is something that needs to be done. I just want to get it better and go from there.”
Laich, who left the ice (and returned later) after blocking a shot in the second, has a lower leg contusion and is expected to be listed as day-to-day. The team will know more about the situation Friday.
And finally, Chris Clark had successful wrist surgery.
To not end on that note, here are some leftover quotes from Boudreau and Green:
Boudreau on breakaways
“The first two periods was as bad as we’ve played all year. I don’t like to use the word ‘sleepy,’ but we weren’t paying attention at all. They got good speed, and they were coming up the middle well, but our guys – looking at the tape already – we were all over the place. We weren’t playing anywhere near what we were supposed to be doing. That’s a frustrating part of the game.”
“The first period wasn’t pretty, but the second period was downright ugly. … We knew what was gonna happen. Columbus did the same thing to us, and after big games you have a let down no matter how hard you can warn ’em. Hopefully it’s a one-time thing and we can get back to where we’re supposed to be. We certainly didn’t play like the team that’s played the three or four previous games.”
“I’m not gonna make excuses. We do have guys who are tired and sick right now, but that’s no excuse to go out there and play hard and play smart – you can still do that. I think we underestimated them, and they took it to us.”