Jeff Halpern, Martin Erat and Mike Ribeiro play their former teammates.
Oates “Mad at Some of the Older Guys”
Still reeling from the Caps’ disappointing loss to the Penguins on Wednesday, fans geared up to cheer on the home team Friday against the Montreal Canadiens. With the D and the 5-on-5 under the microscope, everyone was looking for the Caps to elevate their game. But that was not meant to be as the Habs beat the Caps 3-2….and the dissection continues.
With Michal Neuvirth in goal and Mike Green back in the line-up, the Habs were exposed to a very different chemistry than the Penguins in Wednesday’s match-up. Even with the tweaks, Montreal struck first with a goal by left wing Travis Moen. A few ticks later, with the great Wayne Gretzky looking on from the owner’s box, Troy Brouwer and Canadiens’ defenseman, P.K. Subban put on a show, duking it out at center ice. It wasn’t long before the Habs center David Desharnais struck again. The play was reviewed to rule out a high stick into the net, but the goal was ruled good giving Montreal a 2-0 advantage. This lead to another skirmish and a Habs power play. They capitalized on that in short order with center Daniel Briere scoring their third goal of the first period. It was looking like the Philly game all over again, leaving the Verizon Center bewildered and quiet. A Caps power play at the end of the first finally got fans excited and proved to be the shot in arm the Caps needed to score their first goal of the game. Of course, it was Caps captain, Alex Ovechkin assisted by John Carlson and Brouwer, that stepped up to get things started. The first period ended with Montreal leading the Caps 3-1.
A uneventful beginning to the second period put fans into snooze mode until Ozzy Osborn’s, “Crazy Train” pounded through the venue with the the big screen prompting the faithful to get loud. They did…. momentarily. The period ended with Montreal leading shots on goal 27 to 16, and still ahead 3-1.
The 3rd period progressed with the Caps still lagging behind in shots on goal, a failure to drive the puck to the net and sloppy stick handling. The fans entertained themselves by playing Spot the Cow, while the Caps played spot the net. Unfortunately, neither could find what they were looking for. But just after the fans “unleashed the fury”, the Great 8 scored his 2nd goal on the night assisted by John Carlson and Mikhail Grabovski. And that’s the way it
“They have a good goalie. He made some good saves. When you do that you gain confidence,” said Ovechkin about Habs’ goalie, Peter Budaj, after the game. “We just didn’t make enough pressure.”
A frustrated Coach Adam Oates cited lack of execution as the Caps’ biggest problem. “Same as last game,” said Oates. “We can’t keep making the same mistakes. I’m really mad at some of the older guys. They have to help the young guys out. And that’s why you don’t talk to a team right after a game.”
The Caps play Saturday, November 23 against the Maple Leafs in Toronto.