DENVER -- On the day of groundbreaking for the MCI Arena in Washington, the Capitals didn't get much done in Colorado.
Driving star goaltender Jim Carey out of the game early in the second period, the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Capitals, 4-2, last night. A crowd of 15,589 watched at McNichols Sports Arena.
The defeat ended Washington's three-game winning streak that included a 4-3 victory Tuesday night in Dallas.
"For the most part, we didn't play typical Capitals hockey," said forward Keith Jones, the star of the game last Friday when the Caps handled the Avalanche, 3-1, at home. "We just gave up too many odd-man rushes."
The Capitals accomplished little in the opening period, except to show Colorado's fans that Carey is fallible, especially when left alone by his defense. A turnover at center ice allowed Colorado's Joe Sakic to fly in alone on Carey 4:37 into the game.
It was the wrong player to turn loose. Sakic, the Avalanche's leading scoring threat, fired a wrist shot over Carey's catching glove and in off the goal post on the short side. Washington was basically overmatched the rest of the period.
"We gave up six odd-man rushes tonight, and that's almost as many as we've allowed all year," Capitals coach Jim Schoenfeld said. "We paid for it tonight."
Another defensive breakdown led to a Colorado power play and a 2-0 lead.
Owen Nolan quickly converted a wrap-around chance into the top of the net at 9:13. Schoenfeld brought Carey to the bench, though barely long enough for a drink of water. The coach said it was simply a ploy to slow down the Avalanche and cool off the crowd.
The second period opened with one of the few Capitals highlights. With 28 seconds gone and on the power play, Pat Peake tipped in Joe Juneau's pass to make it 2-1. Martin Rucinsky scored 26 seconds later. Fifty-eight seconds later, Adam Deadmarsh brought Carey's evening to a conclusion by making it 4-1.
"I just didn't think it was going his day at that point in time," Schoenfeld said.