For the first time in the Bruce Boudreau era, the Washington Capitals have lost three straight games during the regular season. The Caps travelled to Phoenix on Thursday night and lost 2-1 to Wayne Gretzky and the Phoenix Coyotes. The Coyotes came back from a 1-0 deficit and scored two unanswered goals in third period and held on for the win.
The first period came to an end tied at zero and both goaltenders looked good stopping all the shots they faced. Theodore had fourteen stops and Tellqvist had thirteen stops. The Capitals got a power-play midway through the second period and scored on a beautiful move by Alexander Semin who dished it off to Brooks Laich for the goal. At the end of two, the Caps were up 1-0 but were being out shot 26-24. The third period, however, was a different story as the Capitals looked lost, committing far too many turnovers. Early in the third, just 2:29 in, Tyler Sloan made a poor clear while trying to exit the zone and turned the puck over leading to an easy goal for Phoenix's Mikkel Boedker. The Capitals continued to be out worked and at 6:32 of third period surrendered another goal to Peter Mueller and the Phoenix Coyotes on poor defensive positioning by Shaone Morrison. Alexander Ovechkin remained quiet early on this season. Ovechkin with a chance to tie the game at two couldn't beat Tellqvist on a wide open opportunity with just under two minutes to play. Despite pulling the goaltender the Caps couldn't muster a way to come back and fell to the Coyotes 2-1.
The Caps power-play looked better going one for four, while the penalty-kill also looked strong killing all four chances they faced. Jose Theodore stopped 32 of 34 in a losing effort. This was by far Theodore's strongest outing of the season. He made a couple of stops early on and in the second period that kept the game from getting out of hand early. He has shown over the last two games why he should be the number one goaltender in Washington. It would be expected that we will see a lot of him, as long as, he continues to play like he has the last two games. The problem for the Caps the last few games has been the high powered offense, has not been so high powered. In the last two games against Phoenix and Calgary, the Caps have managed to score just once each game. In the first five games of the year, the Caps scored at least three goals in each game. The Caps recently have been trying to make one too many passes and as a result have not found the back of the net.
The Caps head to Dallas (3-4-1) for a date with the Stars on Saturday night. Dallas has had a rough start not getting the goaltending early on this season from Marty Turco they are accustomed to. The Stars offense has also sputtered at times and like the Caps will be looking for something to build upon. It will be important for the Caps to jump start their offense and to get to Marty Turco early. One way they can do this is to dominate the time of possession making Dallas commit penalties, which they have done early on this season, committing forty, while operating on the PK at only 77%. Winning the puck possession game will also keep the Caps out of the box, a place they have visited forty-one times this season. The Stars are lead by Mike Ribiero with nine points, while captain Mike Modano has seven. The Stars goal scoring leader is the rookie, Fabian Brunnstrom(4), who in his first game had a hat-trick. The Caps continue to be lead by Alexander Semin, who has six goals and four assists. Alexander Ovechkin should have a lot more room against Dallas as they play a similar run and gun offense. So long as the Caps can control puck possession, A.O. and the boys should have a great game and come out on top.
The game is an 8pm start on CSN-HD.