Capitals fail to show up, are slayed by Vegas Golden Knights 2-6

The Capitals continued their road trip in Las Vegas Nevada against the Golden Knights. In what was arguably their absolute worst performance of the season, they were destroyed by the Knights. Constant lackadaisical play and repeated mistakes in their own zone cost the Capitals any chance at winning any standings points. The team received the news earlier in the day that captain Alex Ovechkin may not be available and indeed was later ruled out at the game time with a lower-body injury. Anthony Mantha took his place in the lineup.

The game’s first goal took just two minutes and seventeen seconds from the game’s start. Alec Martinez took advantage of a broken play–Chandler Stephenson took a sharp-angle shot that hit the crossbar and ended up on the opposite side of the zone. Martinez picked up the loose puck from there and buried it in the wide-open net as Darcy Kuemper appeared to have lost track of the puck. The play had actually begun from a turnover in the neutral zone from Alex Alexeyev. It would be only the first of repeated examples of the Capitals having no interest or passion in participating much less winning tonight’s contest.

The next goal resulted from a failure by Sonny Milano to receive a pass from Tom Wilson. The result was yet another turnover that led to a 2-on-1 with Jonathan Marchessault slipping the puck to Nicolas Roy for an easy score. In the second period, Vegas was hardly finished as they pumped several more goals into the Capitals’ net. The goals were scored by Michael Amadio, Byron Froese and Paul Cotter. Kuemper was actually replaced seconds before Cotter’s goal by Charlie Lindgren. Very late into the period, Capitals finally showed a sign of life at with a strike from TJ Oshie at 18:20. One of the few Capitals players who put out any semblance of effort, he dished the puck to Erik Gustafsson for a give-and-go play. After taking his customary position in the high slot, he deflected Gustafsson’s pass into the net for his 10th of the season.

Cotter would strike again for the Golden Knights in the third period. Marcus Johansson redirected Trevor van Riemsdyk’s point shot for the Capitals’ second goal of the game at 10:41 as the Capitals began to show some effort, but it was obviously too late to change the flow of the game by that point.

NOTES—In his post-game press conference Peter Laviolette described Ovechkin as “not being able to skate” and thus the reason he was held out of the lineup for tonight. Eight Capitals players had a plus-minus rating of -2 or worse. Oshie, van Riemsdyk and Conor Sheary were the only Capitals players who registered a positive rating. The Capitals’ power play was given three chances in tonight’s game and failed to convert. The Capitals have now only managed one power play goal in their last eight games. Washington’s next game is Tuesday, January 24th against the Colorado Avalanche. The start time is scheduled for 9 PM ET.

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