Blues Vs. Capitals: Dale Hunter's Tenure Begins With 2-1 Loss

New coach Dale Hunter's tenure as head coach began with a loss. The Capitals were outplayed by the St. Louis Blues and fell, 2-1, at Verizon Center.

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Blues Vs. Capitals: Reaction To Dale Hunter's First Game As Coach Of Capitals

The Washington Capitals lost to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday in Dale Hunter's first game as coach of his former team. The defense played well enough to win, but the offense just wasn't there. Here is some reaction from Hunter, via CSN Washington.

Here is a transcription of some of his comments:

Well, definitely, it happens with transition. They don't got it down pat yet, but I think they got better as the game went on and they competed real hard. That's the most important thing, and that's what you need to win.

You play in your own end too much, we gotta be good defensively so we can be good offensively. Get the odd man rushes and let them get caught, and cycle the puck. That not just wins in the regular season but really wins in the playoffs too.

It feels good, to come back here is an awesome feeling.

Still, forechecks gotta be better, we've gotta get on top of their D, and our D-Zone coverage has got to be better.

For a little more reaction, we'll check out our Capitals blog Japers' Rink.

There were certainly some good aspects of tonight's game, to be sure, and it was head and shoulders above whatever Saturday night was (...yes, admittedly that's a pretty low bar). One gets the sense that a coach like Dale Hunter isn't going to settle for simply "better than last game" - as well he shouldn't - but it will take time for him to instill his own philosophy and systems on this team, and as evidenced by tonight's performance he hasn't quite had a chance to do that yet.

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Blues Vs. Capitals: Washington Loses 2-1 In Dale Hunter's Debut

One day after coach Bruce Boudreau was fired, the Washington Capitals fell at home, 2-1, to the St. Louis Blues. Nicklas Backstrom opened the scoring in half way through the first period, on only the Caps' second shot of the night. Backstrom beat Jaroslav Halak on a quick chip shot after being set up by an end-to-end play by Alexander Ovechkin. TJ Oshie tied it five and half minutes later, on a rebound that hit the post and dropped right next to Washington goaltender Tomas Vokoun.

The Blues took the one goal lead in the second period after Matt D'Agostini beat Vokoun on a bad rebound off the Caps' netminder. Patrik Berglund put the puck behind Vokoun, who came too far out of the crease and was caught out of position, and D'Agostini came around the net to quickly knock it in for the game winning goal.

Tough guy Matt Hendricks would drop the gloves with Scott Nichol in the third, but that was the only action in the third as Washington would fail to score, resulting in their tenth loss of the season. The team looked inspired and energized at times under new coach Dale Hunter, but the result was more of the same.

For more on the Capitals, visit Japers' Rink.

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Blues Vs. Capitals: Old Habits Return For Caps, Trail Blues 2-1

The more things change, the more things stay the same.

The Washington Capitals gave up a soft goal after a long penalty kill as they trail the St. Louis Blues 2-1 after 40 minutes.

After an inspired penalty kill that saw the Caps shorthanded for over three minutes, Matt D'Agostini gave the Blues the lead on a bad rebound by Tomas Vokoun. Vokoun overplayed the puck and was too far out of the crease when Patrik Berglund tipped the puck behind the net. D'Agostini wrapped around the back of the net and slid the puck in for his sixth goal of the season.

The Caps only have 11 shots, but had the last four of the period and trail the Blues in that regard 20-11.

Tomas Vokoun has 18 saves for Washington, while Jaroslav Halak has 10 for St. Louis.

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Blues Vs. Capitals: Caps, Blues Tied At 1-1 In Dale Hunter's First Period As Coach

The Dale Hunter era in Washington has gotten off to an interesting start.

Nicklas Backstrom's goal midway through the first period gave the Washington Capitals an early lead, but T.J. Oshie's rebound goal brought the St. Louis Blues back to a 1-1 tie after 20 minutes.

With just one shot goal midway through the first period, Backstrom made the second shot count with his eighth goal of the season at 10:15. Alex Ovechkin took a pass from Tomas Vokoun at the left faceoff circle and carried the puck end to end, cutting across to the right side in the offensive zone. Ovechkin then sent a centering pass to Backstrom in the slot and his chip shot bounced through Jaroslav Halak's pads.

Oshie tied the game at 15:48 when Alexander Steen's shot from the high slot hit the post and dropped straight down. With Vokoun out of position, Oshie had an open net to put the rebound in for his seventh goal of the season.

The Blues dominated the flow of play as the Caps got acclimated with their new coach's style, which preaches defensive responsibility and establishing the forecheck. St. Louis outshot Washington 9-5.

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Blues Vs. Capitals Game Time, TV Schedule And More For Dale Hunter's Debut

Following a 3-7-1 stretch that saw the Washington Capitals plummet all the way to eighth place in the Eastern Conference Standings, general manager George McPhee fired Bruce Boudreau on Monday, and named former Caps star Dale Hunter as the team's new head coach. Hunter, who has stayed involved in the game by coaching the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, makes his NHL coaching debut Tuesday night when the Capitals host the surging St. Louis Blues at Verizon Center. Here's the game information, radio and TV schedules, and a few other tidbits to get you ready for what Caps fans hope is the start of a bright, new era in Washington.

 

Washington Capitals (12-9-0) vs. St. Louis Blues (13-8-2)

When: 7:00 pm EST

Where: Verizon Center

TV information:

  • Washington: Comcast Mid-Atlantic
  • Dallas: FOX Sports Midwest

Radio Information:

  • Washington: CAPS Radio 1500
  • St. Louis: KMOX 1120 AM

Seaon Series: First and only meeting this season.

Last Ten:

  • Washington: 3-6-1
  • St. Louis: 7-2-1
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Blues Vs. Capitals: Tomas Vokoun Likely To Start As Caps Get Back To Business Under Dale Hunter

BALLSTON, Va. - The Washington Capitals got back to work Tuesday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex one day after Dale Hunter took over as head coach. Lines weren't much different than they were during Bruce Boudreau's final days:

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Troy Brouwer

Cody Eakin - Marcus Johansson - Alexander Semin

Jason Chimera - Brooks Laich - Joel Ward

Matt Hendricks - Jeff Halpern - Mike Knuble

Tomas Vokoun left the ice first, so he will likely start Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues. Jeff Schultz and Mathieu Perreault took in extra work with Michal Neuvirth, so they are likely to be the scratches.

Hunter said after practice that he has changed a few things in terms of the Caps' game plan, but did not change too much.

"It is a fine line," he said. "I changed a few things, but you can't make drastic changes because you have no time to practice it. But just a few things and other than three of four things, keep it basically the same."

Mike Green skated for about 45 minutes before and during the beginning of Tuesday's morning skate, but left the ice before practice officially began. Green has yet to return from a groin injury he suffered November 11. Hunter said Green was day-to-day.

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Blues Vs. Capitals: Dale Hunter's Tenure As Head Coach Begins Tuesday

New coach Dale Hunter's tenure as head coach begins Tuesday as the Caps will look to fight out of a 5-9-1 slide against the St. Louis Blues.

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