Last season, the Capitals consistently got off to fast starts in games. They tallied more first-period goals (92) than any other club and were first to score in 52 of their regular-season contests.
In the small sample that is the first 10 games of the 2010-11 season, the Capitals have scored first just three times (against Atlanta twice and Ottawa) and recorded four first-period goals.
In Minnesota Thursday night, it wasn't simply Washington's inability to score first that was the biggest problem, but a sluggish start in all three zones. And it's a problem that's happened with more frequency than the team would like.
Coach Bruce Boudreau couldn't put a finger on why the past hallmark of fast starts to games hasn't yet been established this year.
"I haven't changed too much of my philosophies and everything as far as getting them ready for the games, so I don't know what it is," he said. "It's something that we've got to come out better."
Said Jason Chimera: "Maybe we're not ready to play off the bat and you've got to be ready in this league; you've got to dictate the pace, and when we get up it's hard to contain us, that's for sure. We've got to work on our first periods and starts."
Box Seats contributor Kareem El-Alaily breaks down the construction of a Stanley Cup champion.
IN THE MINORS
The Bears back up Sheldon Souray after the veteran defenseman faces criticism for the fight in which he broke his hand. (Tim Leone)
At the bottom of his notebook Leone also mentions that Semyon Varlamov made a visit to Hershey while the Capitals are on the road.