Smith Makes 29 Saves, Flames Extinguish Capitals 2-1

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Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals fell to 1-2-0 on their Western Canadian road trip and 5-6-1 overall, falling to the Calgary Flames 2-1.  After a strong game, fatigue seemed to catch up with the Caps at the end, with a costly too-many-men penalty with just 2:34 left in the game. 

One night after a 5-2 victory in Edmonton, the Capitals were in action 23 hours later in Calgary against the Flames wrapping up the October portion of the schedule at the Scotia Bank Saddledome. Phillipp Grubauer got the start after Braden Holtby made 28 saves in the victory last night. Mike Smith got the nod in net for Calgary.  The Caps were wrapping up a stretch in which they have played three games over four nights in western Canada. The Capitals fell 2-1 against the Flames, who have lost four of their previous five outings. The Capitals were looking for more consistency and were hoping Saturday’s contest in Edmonton is just the beginning but unfortunately did not get it on Sunday.

First Period

Scoring: None

The Good: Brooks Orpik drew two tripping penalties — one on Kris Versteeg and the other on Michael Ferland. The Capitals showed no signs of fatigue after playing last night and had only three giveaways. They won the battle at the faceoff dot 52%-48%.

The Bad: The Capitals defense gave up 14 shots against and had three giveaways. They did not block any shots while Calgary had 3 blocks of their own.

The Ugly: Nothing.

Second Period

Scoring: Michael Ferland redirected a point shot from defenseman Brett Kulak 2:08 into the period to make it 1-0 Flames.

The Good: The Capitals have done a good job staying disciplined, with no penalties called against them. T.J. Oshie and Tom Wilson each had good scoring opportunities but were denied by Mike Smith.

The Bad: The Capitals have given up the first goal in each of the past seven games. The Flames were outshooting the Capitals 29-22 through two, including 15 shots in the second period.

The Ugly: The Capitals have given away the puck seven times and have only blocked three shots through two periods. They’re also having trouble getting the puck out of their defensive zone, leading to several Calgary scoring chances.

Third Period

Scoring: Jakub Vrana scored off a pass from T.J. Oshie. Oshie picked pocketed a clearing attempt from the Flames that hit the lineman. Forward Matthew Tkachuk got a piece of it before it went into the net. The Caps got a fortunate bounce to tie the game at one.

Sean Monahan tapped in a feed from Johnny Gaudreau with 10:51 left. He spun around at the left circle to avoid a shot block from Madison Bowey and Monahan was there for the easy tap-in. That made it 2-1 Flames.

The Good: Grubauer robbed Johnny Gaudreau on a 4-on-1 odd man rush.

The Bad: Lars Eller took his fourth penalty in two games. That marked the Caps’ lone penalty of the night.

The Ugly: The Capitals gave up a 4-on-1 rush that the Flames had a good opportunity to score on. Down a goal, the Capitals just had three shots on goal in the final 14:30.  The Capitals got called for too many men on the ice with 2:34 left.

Game Stats:

Shots:                                               Capitals – 30                 Flames – 38

Hits:                                                 Capitals – 17                 Flames – 20

Power Play:                                    Capitals – 0/2                Flames – 0/2

Faceoffs:                                         Capitals – 54%              Flames – 36%

Up Next: The Capitals come home from their road trip and play at Capital One Arena against the New York Islanders. The Islanders are currently 6-4-1 and hold the first wild-card spot in the conference. Thursday’s contest will be a big one with Metro division rivals squaring up for the first time this season. Washington will look to improve upon their 1-3-0 home record during October.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was seeing T.J. Oshie's hat-trick​ during Game 1 of the Caps' second round playoff series against Pittsburgh in 2016. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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