Looks like fun. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Well, that was awkward. Semyon Varlamov’s illustrious return to the District was just that, as his Avalanche dominated the Caps 5-1. Eric Fehr scores the lone hometown tally to avoid a total white-out, while shaky play between the pipes leaves the Caps’ goal tending outlook snowballing into uncertainty. Winter puns. Here are a few things to take away from Saturday night’s debacle, and we aren’t referring to Brendan’s wedding. Congrats, big guy.
- Somebody needs to change the batteries in John Carlson’s headset, because there’s an absolute lack of communication in the defensive zone.
- While it was great to see Neuvy get the start, he’s got to learn to hug the pipe like a crackhead. Squeaky.
- Speaking of criticism from a goal tendingSaturday standpoint, put your body in front of the puck or don’t touch it altogether. No more trying to block shots with sticks. Stop it.
- Brooks Laich is still snakebit, but at least his face is okay.
- The same can be said for Tom Wilson, who leads the league in the coulda-woulda-shoulda-goals category. The rookie does consistently bring a welcomed since of physical accountability, which, when coupled with his potential to one day contribute on offense, lives up to his best-of-both-worlds scouting report. Also, it’s fun to close your eyes and picture Adam from Workaholics squaring up with Milan Lucic. I wonder if they’d keep their lids on.
- Credit to Troy Brouwer for calling it how it is. Here’s to hoping the abject disapproval of a Stanley Cup winner packs the ethos to pull this group together.
- Welcome to the NHL, Nate Schmidt. Try the veal, and keep your head up.
- The Avs look really, really good. They’re off to their best start since ’94-’95. Patrick Roy looks like an evil genius behind the bench, and his presence is undoubtedly catalytic for Varlamov’s vastly-improved play between the pipes. They’ve got speed, precision, and Steve Downie. I wouldn’t call it the complete package, but they’re damn close.
- That said, this game didn’t feel physically out-of-reach until Alex Tanguay scored a squeaker of a shorthanded goal against Neuvirth and the league’s third-best power play unit. The Caps had plenty of chances to make a game of it, rattling off 41 shots. But, failure to crash the net and an absolute gem from Varlamov stifled whatever momentum the guys managed to build.
- On the subject of power plays, the Caps were 0-2 on the night, and are now 0-7 in their last two outings. Formerly on top of the league’s PP column, the Caps have recently struggled to sustain pressure on the man advantage. The Avalanche played a tight game, penalty-wise, and applied suffocating defensive pressure to AO’s wheelhouse. Shorthanded goals help.
- Thus ends Alex Ovechkin’s goal streak. That’s all I have to say about that.
- While preseason hockey fails to make any sort of valid predictions on what to expect from a player during the regular season, one can’t help but be surprised that it took Eric Fehr five games to score his first goal of the ’13-’14 campaign. Even-strength, no-less. Whodathunkit.