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The Washington Capitals lost another frustrating one last night, falling 2-0 to the San Jose Sharks. The game was scoreless for a while, but it was the kind of game where it was only a matter of time until the Capitals lost it. San Jose outshot them 36-25, and eventually, they got a couple soft goals on Michal Neuvirth to get the win.
It also continued the Capitals' shocking display of offensive ineptitude this season. This was the eighth time they have been shut out this season, which equals the number of times they were shut out in coach Bruce Boudreau's first three seasons combined. It's also the most times they've been shut out in a season since 1998/99, when they were shut out 11 times. They've faltered in so many ways this season, whether it's been the power play, the inability to crash the net or just plain bad luck. In this game, though, the problem was simple: puck possession. They couldn't consistently advance the puck from their own zone to the offensive zone, and that's not a recipe for success.
In this way, the team desperately missed defensemen Mike Green last night.
Green did not play because he was still feeling the effects of a slap shot to the face in Sunday's win over the Penguins. Without him, the Capitals were missing the one defensemen on the team that's most able to advance the puck out of their own zone. As our Jack Anderson tweeted last night:
Without Green, the #Caps don't have a puck-moving defensemen to shake up the break outs from the D zone.
This speaks to the invaluable role Green plays on this team. He's criticized for his defensive issues, which he's trying to fix this year, but in the meantime, he's needed to jump-start this offense. Green has missed eight games this year, and the Capitals are 3-5 in those games. Only once (11/26 against the Lightning) did the Capitals score more than three goals in a game with him sidelined. They were shut out twice (last night and on December 12 in the memorable 7-0 loss to the Rangers) and scored just one goal twice (both times against the Bruins in October).
The Capitals' offense has many problems, but not having Green in the lineup certainly adds to them.
Today's must-reads from around the SB Nation network:
- Japers Rink recaps last night's loss.
- Hogs Haven has more on the Santana Moss situation.
- Casual Hoya gets us ready for tonight's showdown with Syracuse.