Quick Links

Caps get swept in California, lose fourth straight

Caps get swept in California, lose fourth straight

Final score: Washington Capitals 2, Anaheim Ducks 5

How it happened: After battling to a scoreless first period, the Ducks erupted for three straight goals in the second period to take control of the game. John Carlson added a tally to keep the Caps in it, but Anaheim finished them off with two more goals in the third.

What it means: The Caps have now lost four straight for the first time since Jan. 2015 and have lost four straight games in regulation for the first time since Oct.-Nov. 2014. The Pittsburgh Penguins can move ahead of Washington in the standings for first in the Metropolitan Division and for the top spot in the NHL with a win on Monday.

Goals

Ducks goal: Corey Perry, unassisted at 4:52 in the second period. Lars Eller got a bit too cute in the defensive zone and tried a soft pass from the corner that went right to Perry. Perry took it straight to the net and deked Braden Holtby for the goal. Caps 0, Ducks 1

Ducks goal: Corey Perry from Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf at 9:21 in the second period. Just moments after Holtby had to stop a 2-on-0 opportunity, the Ducks came in on the rush again and Kesler fired a wrister that Perry tipped in for his second goal of the game. Caps 0, Ducks 2

Ducks goal: Rickard Rakell from Ryan Getzlaf at 9:49 in the second period. Rakell fired a shot right off the face off that caught Holtby by surprise. Caps 0, Ducks 3

Caps goal: John Carlson (power play) from Nicklas Backstrom and Justin Williams at 12:10 in the second period. From the corner of the offensive zone, Backstrom found Carlson on the far-side at the top of the zone. The Ducks had bunched up down in the corner after the puck leaving Carlson wide open to tee up the slap shot. Caps 1, Ducks 3

Ducks goal: Ryan Getzlaf (power play) from Ryan Kesler and Corey Perry at 4:27 in the third period. Just as the Caps killed off the first penalty of a two-man advantage, Perry found Getzlaf with the sweet pass giving him a yawning net. Holtby was not able to get over in time before Getzlaf could roof the shot. Caps 1, Ducks 4

Caps goal: Marcus Johansson, unassisted at 4:57 in the third period. Johansson sent the puck to the slot looking for Kuznetsov. Instead it bounced off of Jakob Silfverberg and trickled through Bernier. Caps 2, Ducks 4

Ducks goal: Ryan Kesler from Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silverberg at 12:42 in the third period. Silfverberg lifted the stick of Matt Niskanen to allow the puck to get buy him and into the Caps' zone. Cogliano then out-hustled everyone to the puck in the corner and backhanded a pass for Kesler that he tipped into the net. Caps 2, Ducks 5

3 stars

1. Corey Perry: Perry made short work of Eller's turnover to get Anaheim on the board, then tipped in a shot by Kesler for his second. It was just the second two-goal game for Perry this season who entered Sunday's game with 12 goals.

2. Ryan Getzlaf: Getzlaf is Anaheim's version of Nicklas Backstrom. He always seems to be involved on almost every goal. Getzlaf had a very quiet three-point night with one goal and two assists.

3. Ryan Kesler: It's Kesler's job to agitate and produce. He did his job on Sunday. Kesler got under the Caps' skin even drawing a penalty from Tom Wilson in the first period as Wilson dropped the gloves, but Kesler would not oblige. He also finished with three points on the night.

Look ahead: The Caps return home for two games with Bruce Boudreau's Minnesota Wild on Tuesday and Nashville on Thursday. They then go back on the road for a Saturday game in Tampa Bay.

Tell us what you think: The Caps have los four straight, but if the team needs to make any major changes their options are limited. The trade deadline has come and gone and there are now budding superstars waiting in Hershey who can turn the team around. What do you think Washington needs to do to shake things up and break the slump?

Quick Links

Karl Alzner on the mend, status for second round remains unclear

Karl Alzner on the mend, status for second round remains unclear

Karl Alzner on Tuesday handled his heaviest practice workload since getting hurt, but it remains unclear when the Caps’ defenseman will return to the lineup.

Alzner has been sidelined with an upper body injury since Game 2 against Toronto.

“He’s progressing [and is] day-to-day,” Coach Barry Trotz said. “When the trainers say, 'Go', then he’ll go.”

Alzner took part in contact drills, including penalty kill, signaling the next step in his recovery.

Asked if he anticipates Alzner stepping back into the lineup when he’s healthy, Trotz said: “Possibly. We’re not there yet so I’m gonna be vague to you.”

RELATED: Trotz reveals why Ovechkin missed the second half of practice

Alzner said he felt good after the hour-long practice. Asked if he expects to play right away, he said: “I think so, yeah. I didn’t really think about that...I hope so.”

Alzner, who has appeared in 540 consecutive regular season games, acknowledged that it’s been frustrating to be sidelined given what’s at stake.

“Yeah, not fun,” he said. “It’s very, very frustrating, especially at this point of the year. You can handle it a little more in the regular season, but to watch the guys go to battle and to have the feeling of beating a team, it’s unfortunate to miss that. At the same time, I know that in the long run, it’s the best thing for the team [and] clearly was the right choice.”

Alzner has been replaced in the lineup by Nate Schmidt, who has played well the past four games. In addition to being reliable in his own end, he’s registered a pair of assists. He’s also a team-best +5.  

If and when Alzner is healthy, it’s going to force Trotz and Co. to make a difficult decision. Do you take out Schmidt? Someone else? Or go with seven defensemen?

“He’s done that,” Trotz said about Schmidt putting the coaches in a tough spot. “He’s come in and he’s done a really good job. He’s such a good skater. We played a quick team and he fit in just perfectly with us. I thought he was making a statement, ‘Hey I'm gonna make it tough to take me out of the lineup.”

Check out the latest edition of the Capitals Faceoff Podcast and subscribe on Apple podcastsAudioboom and Google Play!

Quick Links

Barry Trotz reveals why Alex Ovechkin missed the second half of practice

Barry Trotz reveals why Alex Ovechkin missed the second half of practice

Alex Ovechkin missed the second half of Tuesday’s practice — the Capitals’ first session in preparation for the Penguins — because of an equipment issue.

Prior to exiting the ice, the Caps’ captain came to the bench at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and examined his skate.

“His skate broke,” Coach Barry Trotz said before cracking, “I said, ‘You didn’t have another pair? He goes, ‘I couldn’t find them.’”

RELATED: CAPITALS vs. PENGUINS PREVIEW: FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH

In all seriousness, though, it’s not clear why Ovechkin did not get his skate repaired, as is usual when a blade or holder cracks. 

“I don’t know what happened,” Trotz said. “It was a skate. He came over and there was something hanging off his skate there. I think when he went in the corner, [it] got sliced. He’s fine, as you see. You saw him walking around. He’s fine.”

Added Ovechkin, who appeared to be practicing at full speed during the first 20 or so minutes of practice and looked while walking around afterward: “Yeah, my skate is broke, almost in half. It’s okay.”

Ovechkin scored three goals in the first round as the Caps vanquished the Maple Leafs, 4 games to 2. The right wing ranks ninth on the team average ice time on the team at 19:43.

In addition to Ovechkin’s situation, Lars Eller did not practice. Trotz said the third line center, who has two assists so far in the postseason, took a “maintenance day.” 

Trotz said he expects Eller to practice on Wednesday.

RELATED: STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF POWER RANKINGS

Check out the latest edition of the Capitals Faceoff Podcast and subscribe on Apple podcastsAudioboom and Google Play!