For the Washington Capitals to find their footing this season they must first look to their starts.
Through five games, Washington has been outscored 8-3 in the first period. Only Monday’s opponent, the Edmonton Oilers, have given up more goals in the first 20 minutes (nine).
“There have been times we weren’t as focused as we should be in the first five minutes,” Coach Adam Oates said, adding that a strong start will be a focus in the morning meetings Monday. “You can’t turn the puck over early to make the other team feel good, no way.”
The Capitals have scored first in just two of their games so far and held a lead for a grand total of 36 minutes 1 second this season. But even when they did take a 1-0 lead against Dallas and Carolina, they gave up the lead and momentum in the first and second periods respectively.
Those trends had Alex Ovechkin talking about the Capitals needing to establish — and sustain — confidence early in the game. To do so he wants to see a “better start 100 percent” and find ways to build off of it.
“When you get the lead and you get 1-0 lead and you just feel comfortable, ‘Okay we know we going to score another one,” Ovechkin said. “If we get the lead we have to play the same way that we have to play. It’s situation when you wanted to win the game but didn’t win it. It’s kind of frustrating moment but we’re going to fight through it. It’s only like five games we play. It’s good thing it happens now than in the middle of the year or the end of the year, when we need it.”