Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/11/11

Last Tuesday evening, the Dallas Stars were not only the better team; they were the only team on the ice that was playing hockey at a high level.  There a number of words that come to mind when trying to describe the Capitals’ performance: lackluster, sloppy, and half-hearted effort will do for a start.

In what has become all too typical for the Caps, they didn’t play a full sixty minutes.  In fact, it could be said that they played about twenty.  They managed to come back and tie the Stars at 2-2 in the second, only to have Dennis Wideman get called for a delay of game penalty with just about 90 seconds remaining in the period.  Of note, even Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau said that they were lucky to be tied at the second intermission.

All that changed at the beginning of the third period.  Dallas scored very quickly — 24 seconds into the period and just seconds before the remaining penalty time expired.  Whether that was the cause of all the air going out of the Caps’ balloon is questionable, but regardless, Washington’s performance thereafter could only be described as embarrassing.  Sloppy passes, giveaways, and failure to get the puck out of their defensive zone typified the entire third period.  The Stars scored on a power play at 7:33 in the third and then followed just thirty seconds later with a full strength tally.

It’s not worth pointing out shortcomings by individual players.  There were far more of those than there were individual highlights.  The degree to which the Dallas team outplayed Washington can be seen by looking at the Capitals own team website, where the principal ‘highlight’ was the fact that the Caps won 61% of the face-offs.  That was perhaps, the only area in which the Caps excelled.

Looking back over the past two weeks, Washington is 2-4 in their last six games after winning the first seven to open the season.  They have only played one back-to-back game, and it’s way too early in the year for to say ‘they’re tired’ — there are 69 games left in the regular season.  And, unless the Capitals wake up and start playing a full 60 minutes when they are on the ice, we may not even get to worry about how far they will go in the playoffs.   We will get an indication of the answer this evening, when the Capitals take on the New Jersey Devils.  Let’s hope that the fact that Washington is no longer in first place in the Southeast Division will be a wakeup call.

 

Let’s Go Caps!

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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