The Capitals saw a 10-game home win streak and a five-game win streak overall snapped as they fell 3-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. Here's how they lost.
A poor pass from John Carlson
The Hurricanes opened up the scoring in the second period on a power play...but it was Washington who was the man up. In a play that will not make John Carlson's personal highlight reel, the Caps' defenseman tried to pass to Alex Ovechkin on the point, but the pass was too far ahead of him. Jordan Staal anticipated the pass, poked it past Ovechkin and was off on the breakaway. Staal would finish the play by tucking the puck through the five-hole of Braden Holtby with the backhand for the shorthanded goal.
A controversial no-possession call
Midway through the third period, Tom Wilson was awaiting a delayed penalty call for boarding. Carolina took advantage with a go-ahead goal for Victor Rask, but it was not without controversy. Braden Holtby saved an initial shot from Justin Faulk and the rebound bounced up into the slot where Brooks Orpik took a swing at it with his stick. He clearly got a piece of the puck, but was it enough to qualify for possession?
A delayed penalty was being called on the #Caps. The play should stop when Caps get possession. What do you think: Possession or no? 🤔— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) January 12, 2018
Stream #CapsCanes live: https://t.co/NGTPHxGvna pic.twitter.com/E7rkONbwbs
On a delayed penalty, the play is blown dead once the offending team gets possession of the puck, but what qualifies as possession is at the discretion of the referee. Orpik definitely touches the puck, but touching does not necessarily mean possession. The refs allowed play to continue and Rask fired the puck past Holtby for the go-ahead goal, despite the Caps' protests.
A powerless power play
The Capitals had three opportunities with the extra man, but failed to score on any of them in the loss. In fact, Carolina got more goals on Washington's power play than the Caps did with Staal's shorthanded goal. Washington had a late chance to score as Klas Dahlbeck was whistled for slashing just 1:40 after Rask scored the go-ahead goal. The Caps, however, could not take advantage.
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Not enough pressure
Scott Darling has had his struggles in his first season with the Hurricanes with a 2.97 GAA and .893 save percentage. Carolina's latest push in the standings has been largely because of the resurgence of Cam Ward who has an 11-4-2 record as compared to Darling's 8-11-6. Darling played fairly well in this game, but the fact is that Washington did not get nearly enough pressure on him with only 27 shots on goal. The Caps have been held to fewer than that only once in their last seven games. That came on Jan. 2 against the same Carolina Hurricanes.