|WSH||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||5|
|CAR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
Nothing positive to report from the Carolina Hurricanes for a second straight game against a Southeast Division opponent at home. That has to be alarming to coach Peter Laviolette and a group of players who believe they’re a playoff-caliber team.
A 5-1 loss to defending division champion Washington on Wednesday night hurt, but it’s worse coming on the heels of a 5-2 weekend defeat to Atlanta at the RBC Center and a stunning late-game collapse to the Caps six days ago in Washington.
“It’s unacceptable,” said Scott Walker, who had Carolina’s lone goal. “I don’t know what it is. I know the guys care in here, but it’s just a matter of getting the job done and doing the little things it takes, and right now (the effort) is unacceptable -- to let a team come in our building and let them push us back on our heels like that.”
The return of Matt Cullen, Joni Pitkanen and Brandon Sutter to the lineup after lengthy injuries wasn’t enough to slow down the Capitals - especially the trio of Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom – who teamed for all five of Washington’s goals.
Washington blitzed the Canes with two late Semin goals to pull out a 3-2 victory less than a week ago in the nation’s capital, and the talented Russian left wing added two goals and three assists in this one for seven points in two games this season against Carolina.
“It’s about winning battles, it’s about playing on your heels and letting them do things with the puck that they want to do,” Walker said of Semin and Ovechkin. “If we beat them to the puck, we out-battle them then they are not going to have time and space. If we sit back and let them play with the puck, and we turn the puck over and we don’t do all the little things, then yeah, they’re great players, they are world-class.”
Semin put the Caps up by three goals midway through the second with yet another one-timer from the left circle off a pass from Ovechkin. After that, there wasn’t much of a fight in the Canes, who managed just seven third-period shots while allowing Washington to match its first-period total of 15 for a game total of 37.
Carolina played a sloppy first period defensively and fell behind 3-1 after 20 minutes. A turnover in the neutral zone by Tim Gleason early led to a goaltender’s worst nightmare – a 2-on-1 against Ovechkin and Semin as the Caps took a 1-0 lead 5:11 into the game, Ovechkin scoring just his fourth of the season.
Washington made it 2-0 five minutes later when Semin corralled a rebound off the backboards and rifled one high over Michael Leighton, giving him five points in the first four periods of the year against the Canes.
Less than a minute later, the Canes got one in the same fashion as Walker scored five seconds into a power play and it looked as if Carolina had gained some momentum.
But Washington responded on its next man-advantage opportunity as Mike Green notched his sixth of the season with Brooks Laich setting a perfect screen in front of Leighton.
Carolina could have cut into the two-goal margin late in the period with a two-man advantage for 1:18, but managed just one shot on goal. Three different times it appeared Eric Staal was poised to score. However, the slumping star couldn’t tee it up or shot the puck wide of Brent Johnson.
“We had three quality looks at it down low and didn’t put it in the back of the net,” Laviolette said. “We had an opportunity to climb back in and it works against you.”
“We gave them their first four goals,” added Laviolette. “We turned the puck over twice, we had a mis-coverage 5-on-5, a mis-coverage on the penalty kill and it’s 4-1, and after that we didn’t play very well, we didn’t compete very well, the juice just left and we started running around and not doing much of anything.”
Carolina fell to 2-3 against the Southeast Division with a road game against Atlanta and a home contest Sunday against Tampa Bay left this week. The Canes are also 3-4 at home.
“I don’t know what exactly the reason is we’re not coming out and playing better at home,” said captain Rod Brind’Amour. “It needs to be better, that’s for sure. We got behind again and we can’t keep coming back against good teams. We’re digging ourselves a hole.”
NOTES: The Canes have scored just seven goals in their last four games. … The trio of Cullen, Pitkanen and Sutter missed a combined 21 games. … With Pitkanen back, Josef Melichar was the odd man out on defense and was a healthy scratch. … Johnson left the Washington net after the first period with a hip injury. … Staal has now gone five games without a point. His longest dry spell last season was seven games from Jan. 29-Feb. 12. … Gleason had a game-high five blocked shots.
|Alex Ovechkin (4) ASST: Alexander Semin (12)|
1 - 0 WSH
|Alexander Semin (12) ASST: Mike Green (6), Nicklas Backstrom (7)|
2 - 0 WSH
|PPG - Scott Walker (2) ASST: Joni Pitkanen (4), Rod Brind'Amour (6)|
2 - 1 WSH
|PPG - Mike Green (6) ASST: Alexander Semin (13), Nicklas Backstrom (8)|
3 - 1 WSH
|Alexander Semin (13) ASST: Alex Ovechkin (8), Nicklas Backstrom (9)|
4 - 1 WSH
|Nicklas Backstrom (1) ASST: Alex Ovechkin (9), Alexander Semin (14)|
5 - 1 WSH
|Milan Jurcina Holding against Scott Walker|
|Milan Jurcina Delaying Game - Puck over glass|
|Ryan Bayda Hooking against Tomas Fleischmann|
|Boyd Gordon Slashing against Matt Cullen|
|Alexander Semin Hooking against Matt Cullen|
|Scott Walker Holding against John Erskine|
|Alexander Semin Hooking against Niclas Wallin|
|Milan Jurcina Roughing against Eric Staal|
|Niclas Wallin Hooking against Brooks Laich|
|John Erskine Tripping against Ryan Bayda|
|Joe Corvo Hooking against Tomas Fleischmann|
|Niclas Wallin Hooking against Viktor Kozlov|
|SA: 14||TOI: 20:00|
|Saves: 13||EV: 9 - 9|
|PIM: 0||PP: 4 - 5|
|SV%: .929||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 13||TOI: 40:00|
|Saves: 13||EV: 11 - 11|
|PIM: 0||PP: 2 - 2|
|SV%: 1.000||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 37||TOI: 59:54|
|Saves: 32||EV: 26 - 30|
|PIM: 0||PP: 6 - 7|
|SV%: .865||SH: 0 - 0|