Beninati: Fault in first

Beninati: Fault in first
December 19, 2010, 4:28 am
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Saturday, December 18, 2010 11:55 p.m.
By Joe Beninati
Capitals Play-by-PlayFor a team with seven straight losses the Caps had surprisingly little energy in the first period. That was when they were at fault and that was when the Bruins pounced on them for three goals. Patrice Bergeron squeezed one through Michal Neuvirth less than four minutes into the game. The Bergeron wrist shot slipped past John Erskine who was down the ice trying to help block the original shot.
The bad bounces for the Caps continued five minutes later when Andrew Ference one hopped a point shot past a startled and largely screened Neuvirth. The fans at TD Garden were in an uproar cheering for their hockey club that was mired in its own three game losing streak.
Washington would not get out of the opening period without surrendering another goal. Blake Wheeler hammered a slap shot from 25 feet under the right leg pad of Neuvirth and the lead was three for the Bruins.
From that point on the Capitals found stride but ultimately could not overcome the early deficit. Matt Bradley showed some guts and some pride by fighting Adam McQuaid in the first period and then by snapping a wrist shot past Tim Thomas early in period two.
Thomas would then impose his will over the last half of the hockey game. The Bruins were completely dominated in the third period. Washington put a club record 26 shots on goal in that final frame and still received just one marker from Karl Alzner.
Thomas ridiculous save percentage numbers will not be hurt by his 39 save effort. Washington put everything but the kitchen sink at him late in the game but could not equalize, the losing skid stands at a staggering 8 games now.
The Caps have lost the stranglehold on the Southeast Division. Atlanta and Tampa Bay have caught up with and passed them. These are scary, tough times and now Ottawa waits on Sunday night.