By Rodger M. Wood
Looking good after starting the New Year off with a four game winning streak against the Rangers, Sabres, Blue Jackets, and Flames, the Caps couldn’t continue their winning ways on the road against tough Western Conference competition, losing back to back games 5-2 to San Jose and Los Angeles.
With 44 points overall, the team has fallen to 10th place, out of playoffs in Eastern Conference.
Although Marcus Johannsen tried to fill the void with his 8th and 9th goals against the Kings Monday night, with Niklaus Backstrom and Mike Green out of the lineup again, the Caps couldn’t muster enough offensive power to do the job.
While Calgary’s Rene Bourque serves only a five game suspension for his elbow to Backstrom’s head, it seems unjust that Backstrom’s injury was not avenged in like by another Cap taking out the offender. I’d hate to be Bourque if I had hurt a Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins player or even a Capitals player during the day of Coach Hunter or defensemen Rod Langway and Scott Stevens.
With the exception of Jason Chimera and Matt Hendricks, the Caps continued to lay down against the tough Kings competitors. Hendricks took Kings tough guy Colin Fraser down in the first period and Chimera defenseman Willie Mitchell in the 3rd for cheap shots on him and teammate Joel Ward in the 3rd period.
Caps defensemen also laid down in the defensive zone both games, exposing Caps goalies, Vokoun and Neuwirth to 39 shots in the Sharks game and 35 in the Kings.
Until the Caps learn to stand up and be counted on the road as they do at home, they will continue to lose dismally and look down to the ground.
The Caps return to the ice against Pittsburgh away 7:30 Wednesday.