There is not much to say in terms of positives about the opening period for the Capitals. They only had one real chance to score, when Pavel Vorobyev stripped a defender of the puck and worked himself a one on one. Unfortunately, he failed to beat Travis Fullerton, and the Capitals failed to muster any sort of positive play from a 5v5 perspective. The Capitals penalty kill did very well to deny Dundee a goal during a 5 on 3 powerplay, due to good defensive stick work, and good goaltending by Tyler Beskorowany. However, after the powerplay, things would get out of hand for the Capitals. Once back to even strength, Dundee would score almost immediately, leaving a forward unmarked in the high slot to score easily. Minutes later they would let in a second goal, with a good play by Dundee captain Chris Lawrence to maneuver into the slot and roof a shot high blocker. Mike Cazzola would get called for a penalty late in the period, and the Stars would score their third goal on the man advantage, working the puck around far too easily and beating Beskorowany. The Capitals, after Dundee managed to score, just looked deflated and unable to muster any sort of response.
Score after one: Capitals 0 Dundee 3
At the start of the second period, Dundee’s trend of dominance continued. They were able to essentially waltz into the Capitals’ zone unchallenged, guided by Dundee’s captain, power forward Chris Lawrence. When the Capitals were able to enter Dundee’s zone, or force a turnover, Dundee’s defencemen were right there on cue to intercept poor passes from Capitals forwards, which occurred often enough to notice. The Capitals would put themselves down a man yet again at 15:57, as Mike D’Orazio received a tripping call. This would later become a 5 on 3 for Dundee as Igor Valeyev would also go to the box. The Capitals would kill both of these penalties off. The Capitals were able to build off of this energy, as they would score at the 8:59 mark, with Mike Cazzola feeding a pass to Pavel Vorobyev, who was in the right place at the right time to put the puck into an empty net. The Capitals would then go to the powerplay seconds later, however they failed to score on the advantage, instead giving up a goal to Dundee a minute later, following a neutral zone turnover. The Capitals would find another goal at 1:17 while there was a delayed penalty. After a scramble in front of Dundee’s net, Denis Trakhanov would find the puck and backhand it over Fullerton and into the net.
Score after two: Capitals 2 Dundee 4
The Capitals came into the third period strong, as they were able to force a bit of pressure toward Dundee when they were able to break through the neutral zone. The Capitals would go to the powerplay at 17:10 due to a holding the stick call, which would turn into a 5 on 3 for less than a minute. This would result in a goal for the Capitals, through Igor Valeyev, who received a beautiful pass through the slot, and simply had to pass into an empty net. Momentum at Murrayfield drastically shifted after the goal, as the crowd became more vocal in support of the Capitals, though they were quickly silenced by another Dundee goal on a breakaway. Midway through the period, the Capitals would go back to the powerplay, but would concede a goal just after the penalty expired on a two on zero rush with the penalized Dundee forward jumping out of the box. The rest of the period would simmer out, as the Capitals could not quite come back from their early deficit.
Final Score: Capitals 3 Dundee 6
- Dundee played the trap.
Dundee employed a 1-3-1 forecheck in tonight’s game. For those who are unaware, the 1-3-1 is called “The Trap” because it’s…well, a trap. Often employed by Guy Boucher’s Tampa Bay Lightning teams, this forecheck is meant to stifle entry into the neutral and offensive zones by clogging the middle of the ice, and pressuring the puck movers in the opponents’ third of the ice. To Dundee’s credit, the trap worked, and the Capitals were not able to generate much at all offensively in terms of controlled entry. The Capitals were forced to commit to cross-ice neutral zone passes that were very easily interceptable by Dundee’s backchecking forwards.
2. Age is starting to show on Vorobyev
The veteran forward from Russia, now 35, is clearly the slowest skater on the ice, and he is simply a whole step behind the speedy skaters from Dundee. In tonight’s game, he was employed as the furthest forward on the forecheck, and he struggled to track back and follow Dundee’s defencemen up ice. This is only natural, as most skaters become slower and decline in speed with age, and it may be the case that he is simply fatigued.
3. Capitals’ goals tonight more a product of luck than system
If the game of hockey was a judgment of pure tactics, then the Capitals would have been blown out tonight. Dundee just looked more prepared than the Capitals did, and were complemented by their speed and precision in puck movement. The only reason the Capitals were able to stay competitive in this game was due to puck bounces going in their favour, which is never a good idea to rely upon. Though the Capitals were able to crawl back in this game, they never quite seemed in control.
Image Courtesy of Edinburgh Capitals