Last night’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes was summed up best by Matt Hendricks when he described it as one that got away. The team had ample opportunity to capitalize on some key chances but were never able to finish. It was that inability to see a play all the way through that ended up costing the Caps a win.
Perhaps one of the brightest points of the evening was the play of Marcus Johansson. Once a player who looked undersized and outplayed, MJ90 now looks like a true NHL player and we saw that with his goal last night. He held onto the puck as he drove the net for what can only be described as a goal scorer’s goal. When asked what the biggest change in MJ’s game has been, head coach Bruce Boudreau said it was experience.
We saw the two heads of Alex Semin reappear last night, as he had one of his patented Semin Hat Tricks(1 G, 1 A, 1 Untimely Stick Penalty). The goal he scored on Cam Ward was vintage Sasha, with a little bit of help from Ward’s mask. Despite his goal, though, there were times that he looked like he was just goofing around as he swung and missed on several pucks throughout the evening. He is also lucky that penalty didn’t cost the Caps a win in regulation.
Varlamov was not stellar in his first home start since coming of the injured list, but he did play decently enough to give the Caps a shot to win. That said, the soft goal he gave up to Carolina’s Jeff Skinner really took the wind out of the Caps’ sails and shifted the momentum. One of the more curious quotes of the night was from Boudreau who said the team should be able to pick up their goalies from a soft goal. It’s a great show of confidence for his netminding tandem and the way Boudreau handles them through the rest of the season will be interesting to see.
Finally, perhaps the most controversial part of the evening was Tuomo Ruutu’s hit on Dennis Wideman. While the crowd thought it was a dirty hit, many in the press box and even Boudreau himself thought Wideman was falling before the hit occurred. Regardless, let’s all hope he’s back soon as he is a key piece of the defensive puzzle for this team; not only as a defenseman, but as a leader as well.