Washington may regret this one for a long time.
They had it in their grasp. The Capitals had fought for a two-goal lead against the Philadelphia Flyers all afternoon and finally obtained it thanks to yet another bomb from Dimitry Orlov in the second period. All they had to do was lock things down and they'd extend their lead over Philly in the Atlantic.
#Caps Holtby "Just more frustrated with the way we played the last ten minutes. It was embarrassing."— Sky Kerstein (@SkyKerstein) March 2, 2014
Don't worry, Braden Holtby. The Phoenix Coyotes share your pain. The Coyotes, like the Capitals, blew an early lead and failed to mount a comeback against the opposing netminder. Only the opposing netminder was Ryan Miller, and the blown lead was a missed opportunity to climb back into the Western Conference playoff picture.
There's a long way to go, but these two losses could loom large come May.
All the NHL Scores
Flyers 5, Capitals 4 (OT)
Senators 4, Canucks 2
Blues 4, Coyotes 2
Ducks 5, Hurricanes 3
On Sunday we asked you five burning questions about the day's games. These are your cool, soothing answers.
1. It's Miller Time in St. Louis. How does the Blues' new netminder fare in his first start?
St. Louis got off to a shaky start, conceding two goals in the first period while playing the same flat hockey they played all last week. But Miller shut the door after that, stopping the next 23 shots he faced. While Miller did his job, the Blues' offense finally broke out of their slump, scoring four unanswered goals to sink the Coyotes.
2. Who shows up for the big Metropolitan showdown?
Not anyone responsible for keeping the puck out of the net. As one might've expected, the Capitals and Flyers quickly engaged in a goal-scoring shootout in D.C. Braden Holtby was sensational early on, but he and the Capitals collapsed late as the Flyers erased a two-goal deficit to win in overtime. The loss dropped Washington out of the playoff hunt for the time being.
3. Will Eddie Lack shut up the critics?
Um, no. Lack and his teammates allowed four goals in a Heritage Classic drubbing by the Ottawa Senators. If anything, his performance made his detractors cry out even louder in Roberto Luongo's defense. For what it's worth, John Tortorella stood by his decision after the game:
More Torts: "Eddie was playing lights out in the games he’s played. He has been very good all year long. He deserved to play this game."— Adam Kimelman (@NHLAdamK) March 3, 2014
4. How will trade deadline darlings play on Sunday?
Pretty well, actually. If this was Ryan Kesler's last game at home in Vancouver then he went out in style with four shots on goal in a noticeable performance. Martin St. Louis was far less noticeable in Tampa Bay's loss to Colorado.
5. Can the Hurricanes snap out of their funk?
Falling behind 5-0 to the best team in the league doesn't usually end well. Carolina's early struggles doomed them in a 5-3 loss in Anaheim, their fifth straight loss.
The one play or moment from Sunday that is going to be making headlines over the next couple of days.
A turbulent week in Vancouver got even worse when Daniel Sedin left the Heritage Classic with a lower body injury. This is concerning on a couple of levels. The Canucks have struggled offensively even with the Sedins in the lineup, so any long-term injury to one of their top scorers might change their entire outlook when the trade deadline comes around. Can they afford to part with Ryan Kesler if they want to make a run at the playoffs? Or does Mike Gillis just cut bait and start selling assets? Keep an eye on this situation this week.
Stat of the Night
For those of you who thought the Blues became shoo-ins when they acquired Ryan Miller, consider the fact that it took 2:22:44 for them to score a goal after the Olympic Break ended. This is as balanced a team as there is in the league, but it isn't without weaknesses.