Coach Bruce Boudreau used the word “snowball” in his postgame comments Friday night in reference to the way the Rangers seized control en route to a 6-3 win against the Capitals at Verizon Center.
Washington’s fits of self-destruction, or what Troy Brouwer earlier this season called “imploding,” are an undeniable trend at this stage of the year. Five of the Capitals’ eight losses in regulation this year include stretches during which they’ve allowed three goals in 7 minutes 41 seconds or less — and that’s excluding a loss to Nashville in which they gave up a pair of goals in 3:53.
It seems as though those consistent, lengthy lapses are starting to test the Capitals’ collective wherewithal.
“Us just having the small lapses, I think, is just a little hurtful at times,” Joel Ward said. “The fact that we’ve been giving up those opportunities at crucial times to give them chances has hurt us mentally a little bit and on the scoreboard.”
Boudreau said he senses that the players start to feel sorry for themselves and, in a more telling comment when answering a question about goaltender Michal Neuvirth, the coach said there some Cpaitals are playing without much confidence. Neuvirth “was like a few of our players that there’s a lack of confidence in his game right now,” Boudreau said.
There’s a breakdown of each game in which the Capitals suffered one of these lapses at the bottom of this post. It’s a trend they must find a way to reverse. The message remains to trust in the system and rather than panic or try to work independently once a goal is scored against them, go back to what works rather than cave in around themselves.
“We got scored on in bunches again and we’ve got to find a way to make sure that we’re composed we’re playing sound hockey when we get scored on,” Brouwer said. “We had a couple shifts where we came out and had some good shifts then they score a goal and they’re back in our zone, we lose our momentum.
“We’ve got to find a way to make sure that even if we do get scored on we get pucks deep, that’s not the time to do too much,” Brouwer continued. “That’s the time tot get pucks deep, get on the body and try to create a forecheck.”
Capitals’ self destruction:
●Oct. 29 against Vancouver: Tied 4-4 entering the third period, the Capitals allow three goals in a span of 4:07.
●Nov. 8 against Dallas: Tied 2-2 entering the third period, the Capitals allow three goals in a span of 7:41.
●Nov. 15 against Nashville: With a 1-0 lead late in regulation, the Capitals allow two goals in a span of 3:53.
●Nov. 17 against Winnipeg: Tied 1-1 at the start of the second period, the Capitals allow three goals in a span of 4:16.
●Nov. 19 against Toronto: Tied 1-1 late in the first period, the Capitals allow three goals in a span of 6:13 that stretches into the second period. Then, late in the second they give up two more in a span of 2:14.
●Nov. 25 against New York: Tied 0-0 at the start of the second period, the Capitals give up three goals in a span of 4:18.