We the People…(Almost) Back in Overtime

Posted January 25, 2013

Michal Neuvirth steals a goal from Marek Zidlicky in the second period. Screencap from CSN Washington.

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

Maybe it was Tomas Kundratek accidentally lending the puck to Stephen Gionta. Maybe it was John Carlson losing it on the blueline. Maybe it was the four penalties in the second period.

Actually, it was directly two of those things and a multitude of others including Mike Green’s overtime penalty and Alex Ovechkin falling to give up the puck to what would be the game-winning drive for the New Jersey Devils in Friday’s 3-2 loss.

The Capitals are 0-3-1 in a 48-game season, the last team to get a point in the NHL and one of three without a win. Current champions, the L.A. Kings, are another, if that helps. What also soothes the pain is that Washington has Michal Neuvirth, who kept them within comeback range.

For example, there was Neuvirth on Jacob Josefson’s second period breakway.



And then on Marek Zidlicky, stalling a Devils’ power play.



The Czech native saved 32 of 35 shots, while Martin Brodeur only saw 28. It is not the number, but the quality of shots that matter as Washington’s initial backup stunned everyone from Washington to New Jersey to Finland (according to Google Translate).



The Caps remain in the basement of the league, last to be exact, but if tonight’s game means anything, it’s hope. The team is not only dealing with a new coach and new system, but new players and key pieces missing. The play of Green tonight, who was the second star in 31:10 minutes of play–the most between both teams–culminated in the game-tying goal. Though he slipped with the overtime interference penalty, it’s better to see the injury-riddled defenseman on his game rather than struggling to reclaim it.

There are still some things he could work on though.



While some players continue to struggle–Carlson and Marcus Johansson were on the ice for both goals–others worked at a level closer to what fans expect and know. Troy Brouwer broke the Caps’ penalty kill delirium with a breakaway to draw one of his own and Mike Ribeiro had Washington’s opening goal on the third period 5-on-3 power play.

But the Caps still lost. And a big part of that is penalties. Though Washington’s 66.7% penalty kill is not the worst at 26th in the league, they have spent the most time on it (34:42). The third period was the first and only period in which Washington did not take a penalty this season. The fact that most of those minutes come from easily-fixed mistakes is both an indicator of the team’s state and where the main issues lie.