Originally posted on Rock the Red  |  Last updated 2/8/13
"HEEEEE shoots and scores. Make me a milkshake!" Heard too often. (Video screenshot) The Washington Capitals were humiliated by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night  for the second time in less than a week, falling 5-2 at the CONSOL Energy Center.  After Mike Ribeiro scored a goal in the first period to give Washington a rare first-intermission lead, the Penguins scored four goals in the second period, three on the power play and three in a little over three minutes to take a commanding 5-1 lead.  Michal Neuvirth was pulled after allowing the first two goals on 11 shots, but Braden Holtby could fare no better despite a great save on Sidney Crosby.  Alex Ovechkin added a sympathy tally on a power play in the third, but once again the Capitals were victimized by a bad stretch and fell to 2-8-1, the worst in the NHL. Alex Ovechkin was better tonight, I’ll give him credit.  Two points, six shots, three hits against a good Penguins team is something to build on, but as always with Ovechkin, the question at this point is whether or not he can build on it.  Then, once he builds on it, he needs to come up with a way to be better defensively, not give up on plays easily, and be a better captain.  Then, he might be worth what the Capitals are paying him for the next near-decade.  It's just daunting to talk about now.   Michal Neuvirth’s second goal allowed was brutal, and he probably deserved to get pulled despite some of the saves that he made early.  But Braden Holtby was no better, bringing to light that, despite Neuvirth’s great play earlier in the season, neither goaltender is at a level that they need to be right now.  Holtby is crash-landing, hard, and needs to get a confidence boost quickly.  Neuvirth has made some great saves and kept the Capitals in some games this season but needs to be able to stop the easy ones too.  The whole team is just a mess. The lone bright spot was once again Mike Ribeiro, the second-line center the Capitals had craved for three years before he arrived.  The slick playmaker was all over the ice making good things happen, had another two points, and was Washington’s best player once again.  With their season rapidly slipping through their fingers, if it has not already, George McPhee has a big decision to make: whether to try and keep Ribeiro to build around him and Nicklas Backstrom as centers or float him at the deadline to a contender for some elite pieces to aid a quicker rebuild.  What to do? When it all comes down to it, the Capitals are simply a decidedly average to bad hockey team at this time.  Yes, they have a bad PDO, which implies that they are getting a little bit unlucky with the bounces.  But is a swing in so called “puck luck” going to fix a team with the worst goal differential and record in hockey?  A team that is dead last in the worst Division in hockey?  This team takes bad penalties at bad times and they cannot kill penalties when they need to.  They have no balance and their defense is underperforming horrifically.  Things will get better, but only marginally.  It is time to face the reality that the Capitals are almost assuredly not a playoff team, and certainly not one who can contend for a championship. If the Capitals do intend on making the playoffs, they will have to do it in the Southeast Division.  That starts with two big games against the Panthers, a home-and-home series, for their next two contests. Harry Hawkings is a college student credentialed to cover the Capitals for RtR.  Follow him on Twitter here for all your news needs this season.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Trade Rumors: Clippers ‘reluctant’ to deal injured Blake Griffin

Bright future for Minnesota Timberwolves

Eli and Archie Manning say Peyton won’t likely leave Denver if he plays in 2016

NCAA mulls changes to graduate transfer and targeting rules

Cavs active in NBA trade market, covet Jared Dudley

Roger Goodell expectedly dodges Patriots-related questions at Super Bowl

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Baltimore Orioles acquire starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne

USC athletic director Pat Haden to retire in June

Report: Browns owner ‘frustrated, emotional’ about Johnny Manziel

Raiders and Texans to play MNF game in Mexico City in 2016

Goodell wants to keep Raiders, Chargers in home markets

Deadly shooting breaks out at Dublin boxing weigh-in

Super Bowl 50 ticket prices are insane

Take a moment to appreciate the greatness of Cam Newton

4-Star 2018 quarterback Matt Corral commits to USC

QUIZ: Name every NFL regular season MVP

WATCH: Avery Bradley nails buzzer beater to beat Cavs

WATCH: Jimmy Butler taken to locker room in wheel chair

Klay Thompson's first five years in historical context

WATCH: Cubs' Kris Bryant went swimming with sharks

Sports Authority taking steps to file for bankruptcy

Major League Baseball threatens to disassociate from DraftKings

NFL considering moving Pro Bowl to Australia

Joe Montana warns NFL players about potential long-term damage after retirement

Report: Two people fired for leaking Jason Pierre-Paul information

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker