Wednesday, February 8 2023

Kuemper, Fehervary exit with injuries in Caps’ loss to Flames originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Capitals saw both goaltender Darcy Kuemper and defenseman Martin Fehervary exit with upper-body injuries in the second period Saturday as the Calgary Flames handed them a 5-2 loss in Alberta.

With Washington slowly adding players back off Injured Reserve over the last few weeks, the Kuemper and Fehervary situations loomed large over the disappointing result. The Capitals hung around late into the third, but center Adam Ruzicka and winger Andrew Mangiapane scored back-to-back goals 55 seconds apart to put the game out of reach.

Winger Conor Sheary scored his second power-play goal in as many games and defenseman John Carlson added a late tally on a night when the Capitals went nearly two full periods between goals. After Kuemper allowed two goals in his 36 minutes of action, Charlie Lindgren replaced him in net and stopped seven of nine shots to finish the game.

The defeat dropped the Capitals to 10-12-4 on the season, costing them the chance to gain ground on the New York Rangers directly ahead of them in the Metropolitan Division standings.

Here are three takeaways from the Capitals’ loss to the Flames.

Caps lose Kuemper, Fehervary to injury

The injury problems began for Washington about midway through the second period, when winger Milan Lucic hit Fehervary along the boards. Fehervary’s left arm got caught in an awkward position and appeared to take the brunt end of the hit.

Fehervary immediately departed for the bench following the hit and never returned. Though John Carlson returned off IR last month, the Capitals’ blue line has already been without Dmitry Orlov due to a lower-body injury for their last 12 games.

Later in the period, Kuemper was forced to leave the ice when Flames center Tyler Toffoli caught him in the mask with an elbow. Kuemper took exception to the contact and retaliated by knocking Toffoli to the ice with his stick.

The goaltender then met with a referee by the Capitals’ bench before heading to the locker room. Kuemper was making his 20th start of the season, the most of any goalie in the NHL.

Flames do damage against both goalies

Calgary has historically had all kinds of trouble against Kuemper — including a shutout by the goaltender just eight days prior — but the Flames were able to score two goals against him by finding open space in the Capitals’ defensive zone.

Center Blake Coleman got Calgary on the board late in the first period when a battle for the puck went in the Flames’ favor. Capitals defenseman Erik Gustafsson and center Evgeny Kuznetsov lost track of the puck and Ruzicka found Coleman wide open in the right circle.

Washington would tie the game just over a minute later, but the Flames quickly retook the lead in the opening minutes of the second. Following a turnover by Alex Ovechkin on the other end, Mangiapane scored on a tough angle from the right circle on a shot that beat Kuemper short side.

The Flames then did just as much damage against Lindgren in a 55-second span late in the third period. Ruzicka generated a clean breakaway with 6:41 to play, getting behind everybody and beating Lindgren to his glove side.

Mangiapane then opened up a 4-1 lead with a goal off the rush for his second of the night.

After the Capitals tried to make it interesting with a goal by defenseman John Carlson in the final minute, center Elias Lindholm iced it with an empty netter.

Caps offense fades again

The Capitals jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the Seattle Kraken in the first period Thursday before being shut out over the final 40 minutes in an eventual 3-2 overtime loss. They then entered the first intermission Saturday tied 1-1 but couldn’t find the back of the net until the game was already out of reach.

Sheary, who has emerged as the Capitals’ second-leading goal scorer behind Ovechkin, showed excellent patience waiting for a lane to open up before firing a shot from the right circle to beat Flames goaltender Daniel Vladar for the power-play score.

The Flames grabbed the momentum from there and dictated the pace for the rest of the game. Washington was outshot 14-5 in the second period and a 9-8 advantage in the third did little to flip the result. Neither did the late score by Carlson, who scored his third goal in four games on a pass by center Lars Eller across the crease to complete a vertical play.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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