Morning-After Hangover: Canes 3, Caps 2

This stupid team. Four days ago, they steal one from the best team in the NHL. The next afternoon, they lay a Dmitry Orlov-sized egg against San Jose. And on Tuesday night, they play well enough to win but fall short in a 3-2 loss to Carolina.

Everyone has seen this stat by now, but the Capitals have scored at least three goals in 30 games; just two of those games ended in regulation losses. On the other end of the ledger, the Caps have scored two or fewer goals in 26 games, and they've won a grand total of three of them.

And this makes sense when you have a starting goalie who's allowing about 2.6 goals per game but is only getting about the same rate of scoring from his own team (by my math).

Ironically, the thing that killed Washington in 2021-22 is the thing that's keeping them in games right now. Darcy Kuemper has been the stalwart, reliable goalie that the Caps lacked a year ago. The problem is that the goal production is way down (3.05 per game in 2022-23, down from 3.35 in 2021-22) and defense is still in consistent at best. Given how bad the Capitals get the puck out of their own zone, it's a miracle that Kuemper's stats are as good as they are.

In a way, losing narrowly to the Canes is a pretty good image for this team: good enough to compete with better teams, thanks to goaltending that usually keeps games close -- but not good enough on the offensive end to match a better team's scoring.