NHL Game Day: 11/26/10 Lightning at Capitals

Suggestion to Coach Boucher for the next morning activation exercise in DC: bag skate.

TB-0
WSH-6

Mike Smith allowed 4 goals on 18 shots for the loss before Dan Ellis came in and gave up 2 goals on 11 shots the rest of the way. You can't blame the goaltending, though, when the team in front of the netminder can't win a single skate race or puck battle and only manages a measely 17 shots on goal.

First Period
03:09 WSH Carlson (3), Johansson (1)

Second Period
04:38 WSH Erskine (3), Fahey (1), Laich (11)
06:52 WSH Semin (15), Johansson (2)
08:56 WSH Semin (16), Backstrom (16), Ovechkin (20)(PP)
11:21 WSH Semin (17), Backstrom (17), Ovechkin (21)(PP)

Third Period
14:46 WSH Poti (2), Hendricks (5)

I can't explain it. I can't explain why this team starts playing stupid hockey every time they go into Washington DC, and I can't explain why this team seems to lay down every time they see the Caps. It's as amazing as it is unacceptable, especially given what was on the line in this game. It's like they don't respect Washington's offense enough and they get into run-and-gun mode, and you lose if you get into run-and-gun mode with Washington. But what's even more annoying is to only manage 17 shots on Washington, when you know damned well the Capitals don't play any defense. But, when you're last to the puck every single time, you don't generate shots on goal, and you get shutout. Lesson learned, I hope. Move your feet.

In any event, there's a trap game tomorrow night against a Florida team that seems to only play about a half a dozen good games a season, and they save them all for the time they play against the Lightning. Time to get back to basics, and start working hard again, because the last two periods against Washington were pittiful.

Mattias Ritola was -2 with 2 penalty minutes and 1 hit. And, the next puck battle he wins will be his next. He's soft as margarine on the forecheck. There, I said it.

Dana Tyrell was -1 in 11:27.

Blair Jones was -1 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 12:15. He also was 56% on draws. I thought today's game was a step forward for Blair. He seemed to do less thinking on the forecheck and more competing. This kid's a beast behind the opposing cage on the forecheck when he's playing rather than outsmarting himself. When he tries to be clever, he kills himself, because he's just not quick enough to take that extra split second to ponder the play. He just needs to stick his nose in and play like the JYD we all know he can be.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.