We the People… need less shootouts

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Posted March 22, 2012

Everyday, the silent majority get louder and louder, thanks in no small part to the innovative invention of Twitter.  So when Verizon shakes and TVs are thrown, everyone’s reactions explode into 140 characters (or less) of awkward brilliance.  While you may love your 15 followers, we here at Capitals Outsider want to make sure they aren’t the only ones to hear your in-game gems.  Make it snazzy folks. #wethepeople #caps

Had this game been played two months ago, the result would’ve been fine.  But given how the Buffalo Sabres are hot on the Capitals heels, Thursday’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers is more bitter than sweet.

The Caps came into the game tied with Buffalo in points (80), but claimed eighth place because Washington has more ROW (Regulation plus Overtime Wins).  The loss at least gave the Caps a point, but without the extra, both teams will be battling for the last playoff spot tonight.

But in reality no team can win every night, and last night’s game was something to be proud of.

With Braden Holtby in net after a solid night in Detroit, things could’ve gone downhill quickly.  Against the ascending Flyers (now 7-2-1 in their last 10 games), it could’ve been anything from the complete to the partial collapses we’ve seen in recent weeks.

Instead, 26 seconds in, Washington had the lead thanks to oft-criticized captain Alex Ovechkin.

As always with Ovechkin goals, things got a little inappropriate.  Being so early in the game though, it took a little…persuasion before he could really take advantage of the fans.

 

Matt Hendricks didn’t have the kind of night (aside from the shootout) that would steal attention from his captain, but as always he did his part, notching four hits and helping keep the offensive momentum when the Caps sputtered.  Too bad it was Marcus Johansson who had the penalty shot.

Johansson has been in a kind of sophomore slump this year, going from centering the first line to a being a third-line winger with Keith Aucoin and Jay Beagle (to be fair, Aucoin has had similar line transitions).

But seriously, why couldn’t it be Hendricks?  And then Hendricks again?

As grimy as Hendricks is in the shootout, his and his teammates’ play kept everyone on edge.  While the Caps made sure to dampen the Flyers’ offense, there were times when it looked like there was an inevitable goal against coming.

At the the end of the first period, Philadelphia looked to be gaining momentum, in part stalled by a great last shift from Beagle’s line.  In overtime, Washington could barely get out of their zone, allowing two shots on Holtby while registering none.

When the Caps struggle, the memory of Nicklas Backstrom seems to ache more among fans, but even when they pull it together, in games like this, the lack of his presence is just as crucial.  Had Mathieu Perreault been able to finish on his chances, it could’ve been a much different result.  And with the power play smoothing out like warm bread on butter, another goal might’ve been found on one of Washington’s three chances.

Oh well, at least you can still count on Ovi.