Capitals-Canadiens instant analysis

Capitals-Canadiens instant analysis
January 24, 2013, 9:45 pm
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Here’s an instant analysis of the Capitals’ 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens Thursday night in front of a sellout crowd at Verizon Center:

Game in a nutshell: Despite a strong first period by goaltender Michal Neuvirth the Caps self-destricted in the second period, allowing four goals on 11 shots, two of them on the power play. The Caps’ loan goal came from Joe Crabb with 2:23 left in the third period.

What it means: The Caps have not started a season with three straight losses since 1993 when they opened 0-6-0. That team, led by Mike Ridley, Peter Bondra and current Caps assistant Calle Johansson, went 39-29-10 the rest of the way to make the playoffs and reach the second round.

On the bright side: The last time there was a lockout-shortened 48-game season the Devils started the season 0-3-1 and won the Cup.   

Open mic night: Adam Oates started the game with Wojtek Wolski on the left wing with center Nicklas Backstrom and right wing Alex Ovechkin. But by the third period Ovechkin was back on the left side and fourth-liner Joey Crabb had replaced Wolski. Oates also split up the top defense pairing of John Carlson and Karl Alzner, who were each a minus-2 in the second period. Oates tried Mike Green with Alzner and Tom Poti with Carlson .

Offensive stars: Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov picked up a goal and an assist, while Max Pacioretty and Raphael Diaz dished out a pair of assists.

Killer penalties: Back-to-back-to-back penalties by Ovechkin [interference], Troy Brouwer [delay of game] and Matt Hendricks [interference with goaltender] led to second-period power-play goals by Tomas Plekanec and Markov. The Caps have now allowed seven power-play goals in three games.

Look ahead: The Caps caught a flight to Newark after the game and will face the New Jersey Devils Friday night in Oates’ return to his former team. The Caps return to Verizon Center on Sunday when they face the Sabres in their first afternoon game of the season.