Winnipeg Jets v Washington Capitals

Capitals cough up three-goal lead, lose to Jets in OT


If you ask me, it’s often unfair to say that a hockey team “choked.” Making such an accusation assumes that hockey is a sport where a lot isn’t left to chance; I think most of us can agree that largely isn’t the case. Still, it’s pretty tough to fight off the long-held criticisms of the Washington Capitals after a loss like this.

The team seemed like it would produce a slam-dunk win in a huge home game against the Winnipeg Jets as they took a 3-0 as Alex Ovechkin continued his hot streak with two of those goals. The Jets and Capitals stuck to the script after that, though, as Winnipeg was that “scrappy bunch” while Washington seemed like a bunch of chokers, coughing up a 3-0 lead to eventually lose 4-3 in overtime.

How do you explain a loss like this? Who gets the blame? Did Brooks Laich make a mistake by fighting Jim Slater in the second period?

All kinds of questions sprout up from a loss like this, but Washington must move on. If nothing else, they’ll get a charity point to keep them in the mix.

East update:

(With Ottawa Senators’ disturbing loss to the Montreal Canadiens, it seems relevant to include them in the mix now.)

7. Ottawa: 84 points, 32 regulation/OT wins and eight games left
8. Washington: 82 points, 35 regulation/OT wins and seven games left

9. Buffalo: 82 points, 29 regulation/OT wins and seven games left
10. Winnipeg: 78 points, 31 regulation/OT wins and eight games left

(Carolina and Toronto aren’t that far behind, but study the expanded standings to determine how much of a chance you believe they have.)

The Capitals did get their charity point, but this is obviously a huge confidence-builder for the Jets – especially since it came on the road. The Sabres are also obviously bigger winners with Washington’s loss; while Buffalo’s time in the eighth spot proved short-lived, they must be taken seriously as a threat for one of the final two playoff spots.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Sports Club Stats still gives Washington the edge for the eighth spot, but Buffalo definitely made a big jump on Friday.

Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks

Torres apologizes to Silfverberg and Sharks


A statement from Raffi Torres:

“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”

A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:

“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”

Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.