Odd Night – The Caps generally outplay teams in the first period, but that was not the case in Friday night’s 3-2 loss to Montreal. The visiting Canadiens got the better of Washington early, and they outshot the Caps 14-7 in the first 20 minutes. It matched the most shots allowed in the first period by the Caps this season. Washington also allowed 14 shots in a 3-2 loss at Detroit on Oct. 10.
Over the game’s final 40 minutes, the Caps gave up very little in the way of scoring chances while generating very many of their own. But while the Capitals had a great deal of difficulty finishing their chances, Montreal cashed in. The Habs had only eight shots on goal over the final two periods, but three of them were lamp-lighters. Washington could muster only one goal on its 27 shots in the second and third period, and it suffered its second regulation loss in a dozen home games (7-2-3) as a result.
“We had a slow start tonight,” says Caps center Brendan Morrison, “not a lot of urgency early in the game. We turned it on at the end but it was too little, too late. We ran out of time. We didn’t help ourselves with our poor start.”
Mike Cammalleri’s third-period power play goal proved to be the difference in the game. Montreal scored with the extra man, and for the first time in seven games, Washington did not.
The Caps finished the game on the power play and had a few strong chances for the equalizer, the best of which was Mike Green’s point shot that hit the goalpost to the left of Canadiens goaltender Carey Price.
“Our goaltending and special teams were strong,” noted Habs coach Jacques Martin. “We got a power-play goal that wound up winning the game for us, making the difference and our penalty killing did a superb job. I thought we kept the game in control until they scored that second goal. The last three and half minutes were kind of hectic.”
“They played a really smart game,” says Caps coach Bruce Boudreau. “It’s easy to rip on your players when you lose to a team that’s below you in the standings, but I thought Montreal played a strong game.
“I didn’t think we were ready at the start of the game. We were flat … we went out there and thought it was going to be an easy win, and there are no easy wins in the National Hockey League. When we got the sense of urgency like we had in the last two periods … sometimes it is too late when the other goaltender is on top of his game.”
Hot Hands – Eric Fehr and Mathieu Perreault hooked up for Washington’s first goal, with Fehr scoring and Perreault drawing the primary assist. Fehr now has three goals and five points in his last eight games while Perreault has two goals and six points in the same span.
Mike Green assisted on both Washington goals. He has recorded two helpers in each of the Caps’ last three games and four of the last five. Green has a five-game scoring streak (one goal, eight assists). Earlier this season, he had a nine-game scoring spree.
Kid Stuff – Nineteen-year-old defenseman John Carlson made his NHL debut on Friday against Montreal. In doing so, he became just the ninth defenseman ever to skate for the Caps as a teenager and the first Capital ever born in the 1990s.
Carlson narrowly missed getting his first NHL goal in the second period when he rang a shot off the crossbar behind Price. Carlson skated 17:24 in his debut, recording a shot on goal, five hits and a blocked shot.
“It’s unbelievable,” says Carlson of his first game. “to have my parents here and my brother who flew in from Boston. He goes to school in Boston so it was a big night. The only thing that could’ve made it better was if we won.”
“I thought he did a good job,” says Boudreau. “I thought he played with a lot of poise. In his first game he hit a post. I thought his shots from the point were accurate. He’s going to be a good player in this league for a long time.”
Multiples – Washington scored at least two goals for the 22nd consecutive game this season on Friday. It is the Capitals’ longest streak of scoring two or more goals since the team closed out the 1993-94 season with at least two tallies in each of its final 24 games.
This Date In NHL History – Hockey Hall of Famer Al MacInnis notched his first NHL goal for Calgary at Hartford on this date in 1982.
By The Numbers – The Caps had 34 shots on goal, but they also had 26 shots blocked (11 in the first period). Nineteen more of Washington’s shot attempts missed the mark altogether … Ovechkin and Green led the way with five shots each, but six of Ovechkin’s tries were blocked and three missed. Green had four shots blocked and two misses … Green and Brian Pothier led the way for Washington with three blocked shots each … The Caps had more shots while shorthanded (three) than Montreal had while on the power play (two) … For the fifth time this season, the Caps were forced to kill only two penalties in the game. For the third time in those five games, they were nicked for a power play goal on one of those two extra-man chances.
Down On The Farm – The AHL Hershey Bears traveled to Binghamton for a Friday night contest with the Baby Sens. Despite being outshot 40-22, Hershey skated off with a 5-2 win, scoring the game’s first four goals and getting a 38-save effort from Jason Bacashihua (now 4-1 on the season) in the Hershey nets.
Boyd Kane started the scoring for the Bears in the first, netting his fifth of the season with help from Alexandre Giroux and Keith Aucoin. Giroux then scored early in the second with a single assist from Andrew Gordon, Minutes later, Giroux returned the favor on a power play when he and Aucoin set up Gordon’s eighth goal of the season. Trevor Bruess scored the Bears third goal of the middle frame – his first professional goal – to give Hershey a 4-0 lead. Steve Pinizzotto recorded the lone assist on the Bruess goal.
Kyle Wilson scored his fourth goal – an unassisted tally – in the third to wind up Hershey’s scoring for the night.
Hershey has won five straight and nine out of 10. It now leads the AHL’s East Division by five points over second-place Norfolk. The Bears are back in action on Saturday when they host the Springfield Falcons at Giant Center.
Down a level, the ECHL South Carolina Stingrays dropped a 5-2 decision to Gwinnett at North Charleston Coliseum on Friday. Matt Fornataro and Nikita Kashirsky supplied the offense in the losing effort.
The loss was South Carolina’s second in succession, but the Stingrays still hold a four-point bulge over second-place Charlotte in the ECHL’s South Division standings. The Rays host Gwinnett again on Saturday and then entertain Johnstown on Sunday.