The Washington Capitals saw encouraging signs again Tuesday night. They held the Toronto Maple Leafs to 21 shots on goal, they scored two power-play goals and didn’t give up any. But the Capitals also made careless mistakes, got caught running around in their own zone, let the details get away from them and lost – again.
“It’s incredibly frustrating. We’re not getting any results right now,” Karl Alzner said. “It seems every game we have one or two human-error goals, not ones that we should let in or allow them to even have a chance. And every time we do, it seems to be killing us. I’m very frustrated. I still feel like we play good hockey, just never good enough to win, though, and it’s about time we get over that hump.”
While the Capitals have tried to continue emphasizing the positives, looking for progress in this rough 2-7-1 stretch after their 3-2 loss to Toronto at Verizon Center, the players were, to a man, voicing their exasperation.
“Another one,” Joey Crabb said. “I don’t think this was our cleanest game, but we definitely had some good things and then you look at a couple of their goals and just — it’s frustrating to let those in. It’s what we say over and over, that we’ve got to clean up, those little details and that’s the difference, but we keep making those little mistakes.”
Said Matt Hendricks: “We’re not coming into these games wishing, hoping for 50-50 here, maybe we’ll win, maybe we won’t. We’re trying to win hockey games. It’s not happening.”
Tom Poti, who had a miscommunication with Michal Neuvirth over who should play the puck in the first period that led to Toronto’s first goal, admitted that the miscue was a prime example of each error costing the Capitals.
“That seems to be the way everything is kind of going right now. We make one little mistake and it’s in the back of our net,” Poti said. “You know, we’re coming from behind. But we got to work hard and try to change our luck.”
Coach Adam Oates was asked what type of message he can deliver to the players as mistakes continue to compound and cost them the chance at victories.
“You run out of cliches to say to the guys, obviously. We’ll talk tomorrow and we’ll figure out a plan on how to approach it because we’ve got to rebound for Thursday again,” said Oates, who admitted it’s tough to keep up everyone’s morale, not just the players.
“It’s tough to keep [the coaches’] confidence up,” Oates said. “It’s part of the job and we’ve got to figure out ways to get the guys to understand that you’re doing a lot of good things, and hopefully it’ll turn our way.”