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.
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.