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Ovechkin says his turnover vs. Buffalo “cost us the game”

Mar 28, 2012, 11:47 AM EDT

On Tuesday, Jason Pominville scored Buffalo’s fourth goal in a 5-1 win over the Caps. Reading the boxscore or watching the game highlights, that goal may not have seemed decisive — it was the second of Buffalo’s three insurance markers, after all — but the play from which it came was a major statement.

More, from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News:

The Buffalo Sabres were down to three defensemen, two in the dressing room injured and another in the penalty box. The Washington Capitals were on a power play looking to pull within a goal after trailing, 3-0, early in the second period. The Verizon Center crowd was roaring.

Then came a play that might be the defining moment of these teams’ battle for the final playoff spot in the East.

The puck rolled softly to the Buffalo blue line and Alex Ovechkin played it nonchalantly at the left point. Jason Pominvile outworked Ovechkin on the boards and took off, with his opposing captain hardly getting back with any force.

Pominville beat Michal Neuvirth between the legs for a short-handed goal that gave the Sabres a 4-1 lead. They never looked back in a 5-1 win.

Ovechkin? He slammed his stick against the back of the net and trudged to the bench.

“I should play [the puck] with my skate, not my stick,” Ovechkin told the Washington Post. “This mistake probably cost us the game.”

The loss leaves Washington in a precarious state: Five games left in the regular season (none against Buffalo) with three of them on the road, where the Caps are 14-20-4 this year.

In that light, Ovechkin’s turnover might not have been just a game-changing gaffe.

It could be a season-changing one as well.

  1. kantnockdahustle89 - Mar 28, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    Definitely don’t think the 3rd goal was the end for the Caps. They can’t pass or shoot accurately and Ovechkin has scored 50 percent of the teams goals in the last month. Definitely not his fault the rest of his team blows and lacks a 1 or 2 center aka most important position on a hockey team. At least he tries to get the blame…Ill give him some credit for that.

    • jjcollins48 - Mar 28, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      i am not blaming ovechkin for the loss, but those kind of goals in any team can really put the momentum in favor of a team. had the caps scored on their powerplay, there would have been a game on hand. it would have been 3-2 and that is a completely doable comback. however, when any team scores shorthanded, that instantly gives that team the momentum. not only did it give sabres more momentum, but a 3 goal deficet is much more difficult to overcome

  2. rsl22 - Mar 28, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Fact is, I hate to blame goaltending….but Ryan Miller made 44 saves look pretty easy, and the Caps duo made 26 saves look hard.

    Holtby consistently gave up huge rebounds right to the slot, after turning the puck over for the first goal.

    Ovechkin didn’t play great, but Miller deserves a lot of the credit last night. He controlled every shot, no big rebounds, was just solid all around.

  3. jdvalk - Mar 28, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    Ovi’s one of the only Caps who has yelled his weight over the past month; if the team doesn’t make the playoffs, it’s on the horrible GM, not Alex.

    • stakex - Mar 28, 2012 at 1:17 PM

      Thats certainly true to a point. After all, Ovechkin can’t win every game for the Caps by himself… and if he has a bad game (this was more of an “off” game then a bad game) the rest of the team can’t just fall apart like they did last night, especially with the playoffs on the line.

  4. crosberries - Mar 28, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    Best two way player in the game today. Hahahahaha

    • capsfan3105 - Mar 28, 2012 at 12:31 PM

      And who is? Crosby?

      That scumbag has played for like 11 mins in two full seasons. If anything it’s Geno.

      Good Lord I hate Pittsburgh and everything in it.

      • crosberries - Mar 28, 2012 at 6:30 PM

        Maybe you hate the smell of success coming from Pittsburgh sports

      • Buffalo Grumblings - Mar 29, 2012 at 2:16 AM

        Don’t forget the Pirates.

    • stevefromsacto - Mar 28, 2012 at 2:05 PM

      Like you wouldn’t want him on your team? Get real.

      • subliminalnoize - Mar 28, 2012 at 2:47 PM

        As a caps fan I would take

  5. jimeejohnson - Mar 28, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Alex, play out your option and get the hell out of D.C.

  6. jrocknstuff - Mar 28, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    My Caps are toast. Everything must and will go. GM GM will be gone after the season and the new GM will hire his own coach. Dale Hunter is not an NHL coach. Obviously losing Backstrom for almost an entire season is a major deal, but this team isn’t built to win even with him in the lineup. There is no grit, no desire, no heart. I watched them give up on Boudreau after starting 9-0, an I watched them lose 5-1 at home in the most important game of the season. McPhee is a miserable judge of character. They have drafted great for many years, but they have never put the right pieces together at the NHL level. His time is up. The window is closing. It’s time for a major offseason overhall.

    • rsl22 - Mar 28, 2012 at 12:56 PM

      I don’t buy the no grit argument…Ward, Knuble, Brouwer, Laich, Hendricks, Chimera, Beagle?…that seems like a lot of grit.

      The problem is shaky goaltending, and no second center (I’m saying Backstrom is 1C, so without him, caps basically have 0C).

      • dagnats - Mar 28, 2012 at 1:07 PM

        give me a break…ward? last years playoffs he had grit other than that…he has done nothing this year…the other guys have grit, but they get outworked by the other team too often, and they do not take advantage of the chances they have…chimera can skate but he has probably missed the net entirely on 10 different breakaways this year, he has no hands…

      • letangusespertplus - Mar 28, 2012 at 1:14 PM

        Beagle? Grit? You have to be joking. I guess grit means being helped off the ice after getting your face broken by an Eskimo on skates.

      • rsl22 - Mar 28, 2012 at 1:33 PM

        My point is that Caps don’t need grit, and I’m tired of hearing that argument. They need skilled centers.

      • kantnockdahustle89 - Mar 28, 2012 at 2:53 PM

        Dont see the grit argument either. All the best teams have quality centers. Caps have 0 at this point.

      • wheresdapuck - Mar 28, 2012 at 9:10 PM

        No grit is just one problem. Ward, Knuble, Brouwer, Laich and Beagle do not have the grit to get in front the net and move defenseman out of their way. Hendricks maybe. Chimera is a power skater and he is very necessary.

        Obviously you missed Lauhglin’s commentary last night – 14 turnovers! That’s what loses hockey games! The D-man cannot clear a puck half the time and passes to the neutral ice suck!

        GM GM probably has to go. I would that the Caps need at least 10 new faces and 12 new faces would not hurt.

        Goaltending is not the problem.

        If you want to know what grit looks like, picture Aaron Asham. He just as well mow you down, kick you in the face in and still score a goal!

    • stakex - Mar 28, 2012 at 1:21 PM

      The big problem isn’t so much the lack of grit… its the fact that the current Caps team was built to be a goal scoring machine playing run and gun hockey. Instead they have a coach (and almost certainly a GM driving it) pushing a defense first system. A defense first system might work for a lot of teams, but its not going to work when your team was not built for it.

      As for the loss of Backstrome, that hurts… and its clearly hurt Ovi, but the Caps were very up and down even before he was hurt. They might be slightly better when hes in the lineup, but one player is not going to fix the mess that is the Washington Capitals right now.

  7. rabidbillsfan - Mar 28, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    BTW, if Ovi ever leaves Washington, we’ll take him in Buffalo. Of all the players on the ice last night, he actually seemed like he cared, and played a pretty good game. He is still human after all.

  8. hsnepts - Mar 28, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    Can anyone think of an example where one of these long-term massive $$$ contracts has been a good idea?
    Ovi is getting 9.5mil per season until 2021.

  9. govtminion - Mar 28, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    Ovechkin’s gaff sure didn’t help things, but the score at that point was 3-1. It ended 5-1.

    Say what you will about that play, but it took, what, six seconds? Other than Semin’s goal, that leaves us another, oh, 59:30 in which the Caps could have made something happen on the scoreboard. They didn’t. To say Ovechkin lost this game with that play is ridiculous- the CAPITALS lost the game with their poor effort on Miller.

  10. crazemastercraze - Mar 28, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    getting sick of the Backstrom not playing makes the team totally suck excuse…..

  11. danphipps01 - Mar 28, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    Having like, one quality centre at the best of times, maybe two solid defensemen and a “Help Wanted” sign hanging off of the goal tends to produce lottery-pick nobodies. You know, like Toronto. Actually, Washington and Toronto are quite a lot alike – a boatload of shoddy, overrated defense and goaltenders, abysmal centre depth apart from Grabovski and one or two if-I-feel-like-it skill forwards that get hot for the exact length necessary to give people the laughable idea that they have anything resembling hope.

    And then Ovi gives up a turnover or Kessel hears Boston is coming to town and it’s off to the golf course, because that faint hope is gone.

    • rsl22 - Mar 29, 2012 at 12:59 AM

      Please spare me the Caps are a lot like the Leafs. The Leafs haven’t been to the playoffs since the lockout, and are again going to be a lottery team. Although it is hard to keep making the excuse that the Caps are missing their best player, the fact is, they ARE missing their best player.

      If anyone here seriously doubts that Backstrom wouldn’t have squeaked out 4 standings points over the last 40 games for the Caps, they are delusional. He was 3rd in the league in scoring when he got injured, played 5-on-5, 5-on-4 and was exceptional at killing penalties. On top of being a stud in the offensive zone, he is easily one of the most underrated two-players in the league.

      • rsl22 - Mar 29, 2012 at 1:00 AM

        I meant to write, “two-way players”….

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