The Capitals returned to Verizon Center with their sights set on reversing the disturbing losing streak in front of their home crowd last night. And despite a much improved effort in shots, defense and the fact that they pretty much held the Duck’s dangerous Perry-Getlzaf-Ryan line in check for the evening (thanks to Matt Bradley, David Steckel and the man of the hour, Brooks Laich), the boys came “this close” but left the ice with their seventh consecutive loss.
Brooks Laich was very vocal this week about his feelings on the Capitals recent struggles. Laich wears his heart on his sleeve and his determination to win and frustration with losing (especially as a result of poor effort) are nothing new to the Caps faithful (many who feel that he should have been awarded the ‘C’). Last night, Laich put his words in action and scored the Caps first goal – a gritty, butt in the crease tally, with help from John Carlson and Nick Backstrom, late in the first period. He had another stellar opportunity that came millimeters from crossing the line before it was swiped away at the literally the last second by Ryan Getzlaf.
Later in the frame, the boys got their first chance on the power play from a Saku Koivu hook. They were unable to convert but outshot the Ducks 17-7 in the opening stanza.
Five minutes into the second period, Ovi had a sweet breakaway opportunity but the blasted crossbar (which has been the thorn in the side of Capitals players in the last few games) got in the way once again.
Later, the Caps had another excellent scoring opportunity on a fabulous tic-tac-toe play set up by Mike Knuble and Nick Backstrom (which started with Mike Green) but they were stonewalled by an even more spectacular stop by Ducks net minder Jonas Hiller.
With 7:52 left in second, Mike Knuble took a seat for tripping Sheldon Brookbank, giving the Ducks their first man advantage. Joffrey Lupul tied the game at 1- 1 with a goal scored from right in front of the crease.
The tight game went into overtime and HM found herself holding her breath in hopes that the streak would be broken without having to rely on a shootout. But it was the Ducks emerging with the victory when Ryan Getzlaf evaded the coverage of John Carlson and using Scott Hannan as his screen, flipped the puck over Varly's right side for the 2-1 win.
The boys now have to reiterate the positives from last night keep their chins up and prepare for their next challenge against the bruising Bruins on Saturday. This too shall pass…