What went wrong?

Life was good for the Caps as tonight’s game went to a TV timeout with a little over 13 minutes remaining in the 2nd period.  The team was up 3-0, outshooting the Jets 16-9 in the process.  Alex Ovechkin had two goals and it looked as if he and his teammates may blow the Jets out of the building.  They didn’t.  The Caps were outscored 4-0 the rest of the way and outshot 33-7, losing a standings point along the way.  What went wrong?

-Two words: Dennis Wideman.  Wideman’s consistent indecision and ineffectiveness with the puck when exiting the defensive zone proved especially costly tonight on the winning goal.  He had two chances to get the puck out and failed miserably both times.  About 30 seconds before the goal he tried to skate the puck out 1 on 3 and got his pocket picked just inside the blue line.   #6 has to make a better decision there. Lob the puck out, ice the puck, chip it forward four feet to clear the zone.  Just don’t turn it over 2 feet inside your own blue line  in that situation ever.   Still, Wideman had a chance to make amends.  Alex Ovechkin mishandled the puck above the faceoff circle but made a decent recovery and chipped the puck back to Wideman.  At this point the Caps were in scramble mode so Wideman needs to, again, just get the puck out, even if it means taking an icing.  Instead he weakly chipped the puck off the glass to the feet of a covered Ovechkin.  Turnover, Jets win 4-3.

-The way in which the Jets cut the deficit from 3-0 to 3-2 looked entirely too easy.  It was the kind of thing that makes Brooks Laich do this.  In less than two minutes the game went from being firmly controlled by the Caps to a dogfight.

-Dale Hunter made coaching decisions that were wrong questionable perplexing.  There was plenty of talk about the tactical approach by the Caps in the second half of the game, and rightfully so, but not much talk of Hunter letting his timeout go to waste when his team was under relentless pressure. As Caps Season Ticket Holder Joe Holden (Dad, as I call him) questioned after the game, why didn’t Hunter call a timeout at any point in the 3rd period with his team under siege in an attempt to slow the momentum?  The Jets called a timeout with the Caps up 2-0 and buzzing for more goals.  True, the Caps did then go up 3-0 but the end result was a 4-3 Jets win.  Maybe the Jets timeout had nothing to do with the change in momentum, but it would have been nice to see Hunter use his timeout in an attempt to calm his team down since nothing else was working. Oh, and as J.P. already pointed out. Jay Beagle and Matt Hendricks (as well as Troy Brouwer) skated more minutes than Alex Ovechkin.

The Caps have let two points inexcusably slip away at home against the Jets this year while the Jets have escaped DC with four points that they’d be all but out of the playoff race without.  No sense in dwelling on any of this any longer with any sort of closing paragraph.  Next up: Minnesota.

About Pat Holden

Pat writes regularly about hockey on Brooks Laichyear and Russian Machine Never Breaks. His work has also appeared on ESPN.com and The Washington Post. You can follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/pfholden

Posted on March 24, 2012, in Washington Capitals and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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