The Washington Capitals (40-20-5-85, first in Southeast) played a second straight game full of defensive indifference, sloppy passing and shoddy goaltending in falling to the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 before 17,903 at Verizon Center last night. The non-capacity crowd halts the Caps' home sellout streak at 11 games.

The Capitals have lost four of their last six at home, all in convincing style.

Indicative of just how bad a night it was for the Capitals, Carolina's first three goals were a penalty shot and two short-handed markers. Patrick Eaves, who had scored three goals in 57 previous games, had a pair for Carolina, including one of the shorties.

The only highlight of the evening for Caps fans was Alexander Semin's 26th goal of the season and 100th of his career, scored from his knees in the left wing faceoff circle at the end of the second period, after the score was already 5-0.

Courtesy of Caps365

The Caps got another goal from Sergei Fedorov toward the end of the third period, but even that goal was marred. After scoring, several teammates came over to congratulate Fedorov and the pile took a tumble to the ice. Coach Bruce Boudreau was not happy at the possibility of perceived overexuberance.

"That was pretty embarrassing," Washington's coach said. "I'm sure if I was on the Carolina bench, I'd be going: 'Look at these idiots.' "

Boudreau's comments after the game were not limited to just the goal celebration.

"There are a lot of individuals making a lot of mistakes," Boudreau said. "And short of sitting them out -- I don't know if we're at the stage yet -- it's bringing them in, showing them, talking to them in front of the [other] players. When you try to do it individually, good things don't happen. Teams win games. Teams win championships. Individuals don't."

Forward Brooks Laich, who is sounding more and more like captain material every day, agreed with his coach.

"They just outworked us," he said. "I don't care what you say about talent and everything, this game is about heart. The team that works the hardest is usually the team that's going to win. Tonight, they wanted it more and that's not easy to sit here and say."

Rookie goalie Michal Neuvirth was shaky as well, allowing five goals on 30 shots, and appeared overmatched at times.

Washington outshot Carolina 41-30.


Today is the NHL trade deadline, and while GM George McPhee has gone on records saying the team would probably not do anything "big", he said as much last season before pulling deadline deals for Fedorov and goalie Cristobal Huet.

Much of the season, Michael Nylander's name has been mentioned in trade rumors, and the fact that the veteran pivot has been a healthy scratch for four straight games adds fuel to the speculation.

Additionally, defenseman Tom Poti was pulled from the lineup last night at the last minute, raising questions about his future. The team said Poti was suffering from a tweak of the groin injury that shelved him earlier in the season, but last night was the first that the injury had been mentioned.

The Caps should be in the market for a stay-at-home defenseman, a veteran backup goaltender, and maybe a gritty forward.