The Capitals came into RBC Center to play the last place Carolina Hurricanes and while still being on the outside looking in on the playoff chase, they need to take advantage of every opportunity especially with the Hurricanes playing their back up goalie Justin Peters who came into the game never having an NHL shutout.
Well Peters got his first NHL shutout and the Caps laid one of their biggest eggs of the season giving up two goals in just over the first five minutes and falling 5-0 to the Carolina Hurricanes.
“We weren’t ready to play, gave up chances, gave the puck away,” Caps forward Troy Brouwer said. “Didn’t get the puck in deep, just all around embarrassing.”
Brouwer was one of the lone bright spots of the night as he led the team in hits, face-off percentage and had a five minute fighting major trying to fire up the guys. Dale Hunter also tried to spark the team when he pulled Tomas Vokoun after the second Hurricanes goal after Vokoun only stopped five of the first seven shots that came his way.
“Well to change momentum more than anything,” Capitals Head Coach Dale Hunter on why he pulled Tomas Vokoun.
Hunter then was asked if it worked, “not really.”
In all, the Caps gave up three goals in the first, one in the second and one in the third. Eric Staal got the final two tallies for the Hurricanes including a breakaway shorthanded goal that went five hole by Michal Neuvirth who relieved Vokoun earlier in the game. The Caps also gave up a power play goal earlier in the game as special teams continue to be a problem for them.
“Normally you can try and take some positives out of games, tonight, nothing,” Brouwer said.
What makes tonight’s effort hurt even more was with a win the Caps would’ve been right back on top of the Southeast Division.
“Florida lost yesterday, we were looking good,” Brouwer said. “We were excited about today and then we come out and just flat, just terrible.”
The Capitals passing was off all night, they had a lot of problems in the neutral zone, their dumping the puck and going after it wasn’t working since they didn’t forecheck well all night. Pretty much you can say nothing worked for the Capitals tonight and veteran Mike Knuble, who played in his third straight game after being a healthy scratch in the previous three games, knows you can’t play like this down the stretch and expect to win.
“You watch the standings and it’s like nobody wants it and that’s what’s frustrating because it’s right there for us and it’s in our control,” Knuble said. “Somebody’s got to take it, I still feel like we’re the group that can do it, we have the guys that can do it.”
The Caps also struggled shooting the puck only getting 17 shots on goal compared to the 40 the Hurricanes threw at the Caps goalies tonight.
“They were good and we were bad, that’s a bad combination,” Caps veteran Jeff Halpern said.
Alex Ovechkin missed the remaining six minutes of the second period with an “equipment issue” with his skate and Brooks Laich didn’t play the final 10:27 of the game.
“You’re always disappointed after a loss,” Hunter said. “We got to go back and correct our problem getting out of our own end and play in Ottawa.”
And the Caps, who haven’t had consecutive road wins since December, have a lot of things to fix as they play Ottawa Wednesday who have won three in a row. The Caps hope to go .500 on the four game road trip with a win in Ottawa before they start a stretch of six of their next seven at Verizon Center.
“We can’t dwell on today’s game and feel sorry for ourselves,” Brouwer said. “We gotta pick it up, find a way to get our spirits back and go into Ottawa and be excited to play.”
Listen here to what Dale Hunter, Alex Ovechkin, Troy Brouwer, Mike Knuble and Jeff Halpern had to say following the loss.
Dale Hunter Postgame Audio
Alex Ovechkin Postgame Audio
Troy Brouwer Postgame Audio
Mike Knuble Postgame Audio
Jeff Halpern Postgame Audio