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#CapsFlames Postgame Notebook: October In The Books

Caps suffer sub-.500 month for first time since Jan. 2014, Grubauer victim of non-support, more

by Mike Vogel @VogsCaps / Monumental Sports Network

October In The Books - Washington finishes October with a 5-6-1 record, ending a streak of 24 straight months in which the Caps were at least .500 or better in terms of points percentage.

The last time the Caps managed to get fewer than half of the points available to them in a given month was January of 2014, when they went 4-7-4 while Adam Oates was behind the bench.

The One After 9:09 - For the better part of 50 minutes on Sunday night in Calgary, the Capitals played mostly the kind of road game you'd want from a team playing for the second time in as many nights and the third time in four nights. They might have played well enough to earn a point, but some late mistakes left the Caps without a point, on the wrong end of a 2-1 regulation decision. 

Video: WSH Recap: Grubauer shines in 2-1 loss to Flames

The Caps played a mostly quiet game, relying on goaltender Philipp Grubauer to make some big early stops and getting through the first frame scoreless. Washington wasn't able to cash in on a pair of power play opportunities in the game's first 20 minutes, and as it turned out there would be no more extra man chances forthcoming.

Jakub Vrana tied it for the Caps early in the third, taking advantage of a favorable bounce and getting the puck through Calgary goaltender Mike Smith. Another great Grubauer stop on Flames captain Mark Giordano's odd-man rush opportunity kept the Caps even, and got them a couple minutes closer to earning at least a single standings point. 

But it was a deft Giordano poke-check on Caps defenseman Dmitry Orlov that sparked the Flames' game winner. Calgary winger Johnny Gaudreau collected the puck in neutral ice and went off on a two-on-one rush with linemate Sean Monahan. Gaudreau found Monahan at the back door to lift Calgary to a 2-1 lead at 9:09. 

Monahan's goal left the Caps in need of "the one after 9:09," so to speak, but it was not forthcoming. Washington did little to help its own cause; Lars Eller took an offensive zone tripping call just after the Monahan goal, and the Caps were also whistled for having too many men on the ice with 2:34 remaining.

"We have to manage the game a little bit better," says Caps coach Barry Trotz. "In the end, we didn't manage it, we turned the puck over and they came down and scored.

"We did it again right at the end when we were actually getting set to get our final push and pull our goalie out. We turned it over in the neutral zone and [got called for] too many men, and that shortened the game real quick on us."

Video: Barry Trotz Postgame | October 29

Back-To-Backs - The Caps are now 3-0 on the front end and 0-3 on the back end of back-to-back games this season. Washington has outscored the opposition by a combined 14-7 in the front half of those back-to-backs, and it has been outscored by a combined total of 14-4 in the back half. 

Non-Support - Grubauer deserved a better fate for his efforts on Sunday, and four starts into his season, he is still seeking his first victory. The Caps' offensive support of Grubauer has waned as the season has worn on. Washington scored three times in Grubauer's first start, and twice in his second. The Caps have scored exactly one goal in each of his last two starts. 

Grubauer has played a grand total of 265 minutes this season, but has played with the lead for just 34:04 of that time, all of it in his first start or the season on Oct. 9 against the Lightning in Tampa. Beginning that night, Grubauer has now played 213 minutes and 54 seconds consecutively without owning the lead at any point.

Video: Caps Postgame Locker Room | October 29

Down On The Farm - The AHL Hershey Bears forged their first set of consecutive wins on the young season with a 4-3 victory over the Hartford Wolfpack at Giant Center on Sunday afternoon.

Wayne Simpson staked the Bears to a 1-0 lead at 3:34 of the first, getting help from Travis Boyd and Chris Bourque. The goal was Simpson's second of the season.

After the Wolfpack tied it, Bourque got the lead back for the Bears on a Hershey power play at 11:25 of the first, Boyd and Connor Hobbs assisting. Bourque's goal was his third of the season. 

Late in the second, Bears rookie Lucas Johansen netted his first career goal as a pro, tallying on a Hershey power play with help from Colby Williams and Simpson. 

Liam O'Brien's third-period goal - his second of the season - came with help from Dustin Gazley and Williams, and it proved to be the game-winner coming at 11:35 of the third period.

Adam Carlson stopped 33 of the 36 shots he faced in the Hershey nets, improving to 2-1-0 on the season.

Hershey is back in action on Friday when it visits the Rochester Americans at Blue Cross Arena. 

By The Numbers - John Carlson led the Caps with 27:38 in ice time … Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie led the Caps with four shots on net each … Alex Ovechkin led Washington with seven shot attempts … Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik led the Caps with three hits each … Orpik led Washington with two blocked shots … Jay Beagle won 12 of 15 draws (80%).
 

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