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Caps fall to Pens, Crosby and Ovechkin held scoreless

Dec 2, 2011, 12:12 AM EDT

Pittsburgh Penguins v Washington Capitals Getty Images

When was the last time there was a Capitals/Penguins game when the Crosby/Ovechkin rivalry took a backseat to other things going on around the ice. Between Dale Hunter trying to find his footing as the Caps new head coach and Arron Asham’s one-punch knockout the last time the teams faced off, the battle of superstars almost seemed like a footnote to the rest of the game.

Good thing, because they were both held without a point during the Penguins tight 2-1 victory in Washington.

As for the other 38 guys on the bench on Thursday night, the Pens win over the Caps will have plenty of storylines to keep blogs and websites busy. John Erskine stepped up and challenged Arron Asham to a fight only five minutes into the game. Afterwards, Erskine insisted the fight wasn’t about the retribution for Asham’s actions last game, but it was to help his teammates get back into the game after the Penguins first goal of the game. OK, we’ll go with that.

Another, more disturbing storyline from the game, is the lackluster offensive the Capitals have been producing as of late. The loss was the fourth straight for the four-time defending Southeast Division champs. Worse than that, the loss is Washington’s seventh loss in their last nine games—and second straight for new head coach Dale Hunter.

Under Hunter, the Capitals have been stressing defense. Improving defense is always a good thing, but the Caps haven’t been able to generate ANY offense over the last two games. They’re only averaging about 18 shots per game and haven’t been able to score more than a single goal in either contest.  As Tomas Vokoun says, “it’s hard to win with one goal.”

For Caps fans who are ready to jump off a bridge and into the Potomac, they can take solace that their defense looked much better tonight against the Penguins. Now they’ll just need to find some goals. Who knew we’d be saying the Capitals would be alright if they could just find some scoring?

  1. sfbookreviews - Dec 2, 2011 at 3:01 AM

    That was perhaps the most pathetic third period by a team down 1 goal I’ve ever witnessed. Must have been brutal for Caps fans.

  2. murtdurt - Dec 2, 2011 at 6:20 AM

    The caps are soft. Dale hunter isn’t the solution. The problem runs deeper then coaching. When you have a bunch or players who play for their own hardware how do expect them to win as a team. Theres a very small percentage of the caps that truly want to win a cup or even know what it takes. Plus AO just got himself his new ‘queen’.. all is good in the Ovi neighborhood

  3. watermelon1 - Dec 2, 2011 at 9:30 AM

    REALLY VOLKOUN?

    How about you just pretend you don’t speak any language, and keep your mouth shut.

    You know when it’s hard to win? When the other players on the ice know they have to score about 5 goals regularly to make up for all the easy shots you let in the net? It’s hard to win when the rest of the players know they’d stand a better chance with the Hershey Bears starting goalie, Braden Holtby. Honestly, they’d probably rather have Simeon Varlamov back between the pipes over you.

    And with all that said, it’s about time the Caps did a semi house-cleaning. Get whatever you can for Semin, Mike Green, and John Carlson. Hopefully those new pieces play a much better team game both defensively and offensively. This team skated so much better together the short time Sergei Federov was here.

    Caps actually had some really good scoring chances last night, but they couldn’t finish… a theme that has been going on this entire season.

    • bcjim - Dec 2, 2011 at 10:30 AM

      Semin, Green, and Carlson are not who needs to go.

      They should have kept:

      Hannan instead of Shultz and/or Hamrlik. Is he even in the league? Get him now and cut somebody.

      Arnott instead of somebody (Laich can go to wing)

      And remember Jose T? What I’d give to be grousing about his ‘crappy’ play right now…He’d be back there by himself with Shultz doing more harm than good for him and still make most of the saves while 8/19/28/52 were having a coffee break at the red line until the puck bounced back up ice.

      Lets get that band back together (minus Sarge) and stop this nonsense.

      • govtminion - Dec 2, 2011 at 12:29 PM

        Losing Arnott was absolutely ridiculous. They could have gotten a bargain on a legitimate locker room leader, a guy who contributed far beyond the stats on the box score- and they let him walk. Fascinating- and senseless.

  4. danphipps01 - Dec 2, 2011 at 4:38 PM

    In fairness, they had some solid, quality chances through the first forty minutes and Pittsburgh didn’t seem to have many of their own in response – it really came down to the quality difference between Vokoun and Fleury. The Caps’ offense, for all that it didn’t shoot MUCH, got some very respectable chances that Fleury and his defenders were able to deny. Vokoun couldn’t do the same.

    Still, eighteen shots from a team paying Ovechkin nine and a half million dollars to score and hit and not much else isn’t good. If this keeps up, his goals will manage to drop even further from last season. They have to shoot more if they intend to make the playoffs at all, let alone defend that Southeast Division title.

  5. carol6645 - Dec 2, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    Penguin’s fan here! So proud to see Duspres (20 year old St.John New Brunswick Sea Dog) score an assist against the Capitals. A big bad defenseman who can only add to Penguin power.
    Letang and Michalic will soon return hopefully, healthy and ready go!
    Yet another star from Atlantic Canada called up to the Penguins camp and a draft pick as I’m sure all you intelligent hockey fans know.

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