Quick Links

4-2 home loss to Jets leaves Oates, Capitals 0-2


4-2 home loss to Jets leaves Oates, Capitals 0-2

WASHINGTON (AP) Two games, two losses for Alex Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals and first-time NHL head coach Adam Oates.

Winnipeg's Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler each provided a goal and an assist Tuesday night, and the Jets suddenly transformed into an offensive juggernaut, beating the Capitals 4-2 to drop Washington to 0-2 for the first time since 1996.

``At this stage of the year, there's a little confidence issue,'' Oates said. ``We're all second-guessing each other a little bit.''

The Capitals lost their home opener for the first time since 2000, ending a 10-game streak and drawing occasional boos from the red-clad crowd. There's plenty to complain about: The team has been outscored 10-5; opponents are 5 for 12 on power plays; two-time league MVP Ovechkin doesn't have a goal.

``When there was a mistake, it was a big mistake,'' said Washington's Troy Brouwer, who scored a power-play goal with 76 seconds left. ``The grace period is over.''

Not the best way to get started in a lockout-shortened season, where any losing streak's significance is magnified. The quick training camp and lack of preseason games didn't give Oates much time to implement his systems.

``You feel for their situation,'' Jets coach Claude Noel said. ``It's a really tough transition where you don't have a long camp, you don't have exhibition games, which is a huge difference. You can't assess your team correctly. You're doing it on the fly.''

Andrew Ladd and Jim Slater also scored, and Tobias Enstrom had three assists for Winnipeg (1-1-1), which outshot the Capitals 39-34.

The Jets scored only two goals in their first 137 1/2 minutes of play this season. They matched that total with a pair of power-play scores in a 4-minute span during the first period Tuesday while building a 4-1 lead.

``If you play a simple game and everyone buys into it, you can have success,'' said Wheeler, who was on a new line with Kane and Olli Jokinen.

Washington scored first, on Matt Hendricks' goal about 10 minutes into the game, but that lead didn't stand long. Winnipeg tied it about 2 1/2 minutes later when Kane's attempt to center the puck wound up in the net behind goalie Braden Holtby. The puck went in after striking the boot of Capitals defenseman John Carlson at the 12 1/2-minute mark.

Then, with Carlson in the penalty box for delay of game, the Jets went ahead 2-1. This time, with Ovechkin and center Nicklas Backstrom on the penalty-kill, Winnipeg captain Ladd took a one-timer from between the circles that clanged in off the right post with 8 seconds remaining on the advantage.

The Capitals' second game of the season was only 16 1/2 minutes old, yet they already had allowed goals on five of their opponents' first nine power plays. Washington lost at Tampa Bay 6-3 on Saturday.

``Right now, we just have to realize, we have to win a game,'' Ovechkin said. ``We know what we have to do.''

Notes: Winnipeg is the first visitor to beat Washington in a home opener since the Los Angeles Kings won 4-1 on Oct. 6, 2000. Oates assisted on Washington's goal in that game. ... Washington's Hendricks fought Slater at the end of the second period, then Chris Thorburn with 5 1/2 minutes remaining in the third. ... Capitals C Mike Ribeiro, who was bleeding from the cheek in the first period and got a bandage on the cut, was given a 10-minute misconduct and 2-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty with less than 1 1/2 minutes left in the game. He said he used salty language while trying for a second time to get an explanation from an official why high-sticking wasn't called either of two times he got hit high. ... Capitals D Mike Green played in his 400th career game. ... Ovechkin's 70 points against the Jets franchise - 34 goals and 36 assists in 49 games against Atlanta and Winnipeg - are his most against any NHL club. ... Video messages from more than a half-dozen Capitals players, many thanking the fans, were shown on the scoreboard before the opening faceoff.

Quick Links

Caps recount the team Halloween party

Caps recount the team Halloween party

By now you’ve likely seen the pictures and videos from the Caps’ Halloween party on Sunday. The players were all smiles after practice on Monday when asked about the night’s frivolities.

“I use gel for my hair and look like a real American guy so it was kind of cool,” said Alex Ovechkin who went as a prison inmate.

One of the best costumes of the night was that of Andre Burakovsky and Tom Wilson who went as Brennan and Dale from the movie “Step Brothers.”

“Me and Tom, we wanted to do something together,” Burakovsky said, “And I came up with the idea because we’re pretty close, we’re good friends, you know, step brothers. I looked online for funny Halloween costumes and I saw like a picture of the step brothers.”

RELATED: Trotz: Caps need more 'net presence'

When asked if he had actually seen the movie, Burakovsky revealed that he had not.

“I’ve heard a lot about it and now I have to see it.”

And then there was Zach Sanford.

The most memorable moment from the evening was a video of Zach Sanford singing the song “Sweet Caroline” while dressed as Dog the bounty hunter.

As the party moved to a karaoke bar, Sanford, of course had to get things started.

“Because he was rookie he have to do something first,” Ovechkin said.

“I wanted to do some Missy Elliott but [Braden Holtby] ended up picking ‘Sweet Caroline’ for me,” Sanford said.

And the rest is internet history (though you can’t help but wonder what a video of Sanford singing Missy Elliott would have looked like).

But whatever you may have thought when you saw him sing, Burakovsky was apparently worse. 

“Burkie was entertaining but he wasn’t very good,” Sanford said. “He didn’t really know the words.”

Being Swedish, Burakovsky of course had to sing the ABBA classic “Dancing Queen.”

“I think it was just Holtby that gave me the mic and he’s like here and I’m like what do you want me to do with it? And this song came on and obviously it’s ABBA, it’s Swedish so they wanted me to sing it so I did a little solo thing there.”

MORE CAPITALS: Trotz tweaks Caps' top lines in attempt to spark offense

Quick Links

Sidney Crosby a full-participant at Penguins practice as he works back from latest concussion

Sidney Crosby a full-participant at Penguins practice as he works back from latest concussion

Sidney Crosby has not yet played this season due to a concussion, but it looks like he is nearing his return as he was a full participant in practice on Monday, according to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

There still remains no timetable for his return, but today's practice is certainly a good sign.

"Sid is day-to-day, as he has been," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said, per the team's website. "We'll take tomorrow as it comes. It's obviously a big step when he joins the group. To have him join the group in a full-contact practice like that is encouraging from our standpoint."

Sullivan would not rule Crosby out of the team's game on Thursday.

The latest concussion does not seem to be as severe as some of the others Crosby has suffered as he has been able to continue skating. Given Crosby's concussion history, however, both the team and player appear to be taking a cautious approach.

"It was just good to be back on the ice with the guys," Crosby said. "It's not easy watching. To be out there was nice and hopefully a good step."

RELATED: Trotz tweaks Caps' top lines in attempt to spark offense