Skip to content

Capitals fall short in a huge game – again

Mar 27, 2012, 9:53 PM EDT

Sure, it’s perfectly reasonable to focus on the Buffalo Sabres’ big 5-1 win, but let’s face it. The Washington Capitals’ 2011-12 season is a story of seemingly perpetual disappointment and this latest whooping just spotlights that.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

The excuses are in short supply, too.

Dale Hunter opted to start Braden Holtby, a goalie whose small sample success almost comically camouflages the fact that he probably shouldn’t have been in this position.

Holtby eventually seceded the net after allowing three early goals, but even in a precarious spot at 3-1, the Capitals had half of a game to take advantage of a Sabres defense that was suddenly short two of its best guys when Andrej Sekera and Christian Ehrhoff were sidelined. Instead, Washington allowed a backbreaking Jason Pominville shorthanded goal in the second period and a Drew Stafford 5-1 tally halfway through the final frame.

The Capitals cannot even pin the tail of blame on their road woes, either, as they watched the Sabres take a two-point lead for the East’s eighth seed at the Verizon Center.

About the only signs of life were that Alexander Semin scored their only goal and they at least fired a desperate amount of shots, hammering 35 on goal in the final 40 minutes alone.

Still some hope

Sure, they wouldn’t scare anyone, but it wouldn’t be impossible for the Capitals to back into the playoffs even after this disgraceful defeat. Here are the remaining schedules for Washington and Buffalo:

Caps sked

Thursday: at Boston
Saturday: vs. Montreal
April 2: at Tampa Bay
April 5: vs. Florida
April 7: at Rangers

Sabres schedule

Friday: vs. Pittsburgh
Saturday: at Toronto
April 3: vs. Toronto
April 5: at Philadelphia
April 7: at Boston

Outlook

Washington trails Buffalo by two standings points after this loss, which is no-doubt enormous. The good news for the Capitals is that they hold the regulation/OT win tiebreaker advantage (36 to 31), so the Sabres need to finish with at least an extra point.

On paper, the Capitals’ schedule actually seems a bit easier, although Buffalo will likely lap up at least three points in that home-and-home series against the free-falling Toronto Maple Leafs.

***

All of that hopeful discussion aside, this is an enormous win for Buffalo and a brutal loss for the Capitals. Washington can only look in the mirror to explain its problems and it’s hard to say that the team has it in them to shake off this loss.

Even if they do, the Capitals also have to hope that the Sabres stumble along the way after losing “control of their destiny” tonight.

  1. keepyerstickontheice - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    ALL YOUR BASE IS BELONG TO US.

  2. letangusespertplus - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    DONT WORRY OV IS BACK LOLOLOLOL. BLUE LINE SPECIALIST!!!

  3. dashortstop517 - Mar 27, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    Go Caps. I want them to smoke The rangers Candy Ass in the playoffs

  4. wez99 - Mar 27, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    im sorry, sekera as one of buffalo’s best defenseman?? he’s actually the worst defenseman on the sabres… oh ya go sabres!

    • travishenryskid - Mar 28, 2012 at 10:20 AM

      Sekera has been Buffalo’s top shut down defenseman all year. You clearly have no clue what you are talking about.

  5. subliminalnoize - Mar 27, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    Here is what everyone was waiting for, rain down your hatred, wallow in the glory of the Caps falling flat on their collective faces. This time it is truly deserved. (Pens fans Eat It Up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

  6. danphipps01 - Mar 27, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    You know, over the last couple of days, Caps fans have been coming out of the woodwork to preach about how the critiques of Ovechkin and his choke squad have been unwarranted, too hasty, dumb.

    I’d love to hear your excuses, gentlemen.

    • capsfan3105 - Mar 28, 2012 at 9:37 AM

      What team are you a fan of, buddy?

  7. ravenscaps48 - Mar 27, 2012 at 10:58 PM

    Seems to be a re-ocurring theme for this group… Pitiful Performance. Horrendous play by Ovechkin for J-Pom’s Goal. Jeff Schultz better not be in a Caps uniform next season, and Carlson has taken a SERIOUS Step Backwards this season

  8. tampabayirish - Mar 27, 2012 at 11:29 PM

    Which organization is in more trouble in the District of Columbia? The Obama legal team arguing for compulsory Socialist Medicine at the Supreme Court or the management, coaches and players of the Washington Capitals. I say Team Obama is still in a lot more trouble…but not by much. The Caps have The Great 8. While Ovie does not always get it done. He is talented, exciting, has a proven performance of historical achievements and his name alone sells tickets.Team Obama has….Obama.

    • bethgoesglobal - Mar 28, 2012 at 5:55 AM

      Socialist medicine rocks!! Spent a week in the hospital in the UK on an IV for 4 and had all sorts of x-rays and sonograms done and left with NO BILL!! Awesome!! Don’t even wanna think what that would have cost here, especially w/out insurance.

    • govtminion - Mar 28, 2012 at 10:02 AM

      Dude. Sports discussion here. Go argue politics somewhere else- not everything that has to do with Washington D.C. has to be about politics.

      • bethgoesglobal - Mar 28, 2012 at 10:30 AM

        I thought the same thing when I replied but as someone born and raised in DC and has lived in southern MN for the last 3yrs, damn if I don’t miss it, and I just couldn’t help myself. (and universal health care is about everyone- not just DC or politics)

  9. dcfan4life - Mar 27, 2012 at 11:42 PM

    This game was great, for the first 10 minutes. Then one thing went wrong, then another, then they panicked. The coaches panicked, the players followed suit, i mean it was ugly. If you look at the first 3 goals, none of them Holtbys fault, yet he is pulled. Down only 3-1 with half a game left and Dale Hunter is playing the same 4 defensemen hoping for offensive help, and what happens, 2 more goals are aloud, both on odd man rushes. Can any keeper stop a 2 on 1 and a 3 on 1 when they happen as often as tonight. Hunter can’t coach, the defense stinks, and the second and third lines are mediocre at best. Only good news is maybe the Caps get Backstrom back for the final 4 games, which could literally mean everything at this point.

    • dipthatchip - Mar 28, 2012 at 10:16 AM

      The first goal was 100% Holtby’s fault. The second and third were clearly bad rebound control, but I don’t think he should have been pulled either. F#%$ last night’s game sucked

  10. bethgoesglobal - Mar 28, 2012 at 5:51 AM

    What is this guy talking about! DC has the easier schedule? Are you joking me- Sabres play the Leafs twice and Pitts and Philly team who both have clinched spots and could well be resting guys up and certainly won’t be playing with the desperation that the Sabres will be throwing out. Caps are gonna need some help from these teams if they’re gonna make it. Boston doesn’t want to lose to them again at home. The Rangers are also gonna be determined to finish ‘em off after last years playoff meeting and neither Florida or Tampa are gonna wanna give their division rivals any fuel for a playoff spot. That leaves them with Montreal. Let’s just say that you won’t last long as a Caps fan if you don’t believe in miracles.

  11. crosberries - Mar 28, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    Alex ovechkin best all around player and captain in the game today. What a leader!

Top 10 NHL Player Searches