There are habits, trends and full blown epidemics. Through the mid-way point of the season the Capitals have allowed 22 goals within the first 2 minutes and 30 seconds after scoring one themselves.
Washington gave up two of those quick response goals Thursday night in its 4-3 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, coughing up its best chances to take control of a game against a divisional opponent.
“To be honest, I don’t know how you explain it. You go on the ice after a goal, your responsibility is to keep that momentum for us and that’s every line, that’s the defensemen,” Brooks Laich said. “We’re aware of it, it’s talked about on the bench. For whatever reason, we are not executing it. I’m sick and tired of talking about it, to be honest. It’s something that’s causing us to lose hockey games, costing us wins.”
Manny Malhotra’s tally gave Carolina a 2-1 lead just 55 seconds after Alex Ovechkin had put the Capitals on the board and tied the game. It came on an odd-man rush after John Erskine moved up on the play but no one else covered for the defenseman.
“That’s mistakes by veteran guys,” Coach Adam Oates said. “They know better.”
Then after Steve Oleksy had given the Capitals a 3-2 lead Carolina followed up with a goal from Jeff Skinner 40 seconds later to tie the game again. It was another rush up ice and this time and as the Capitals collapsed around their own net none of the forwards on the backcheck — Martin Erat and Jason Chimera were closest to the Hurricanes’ winger — picked up Skinner as he came in late on the play.
“It’s frustrating and obviously we have to look at a couple things and see what we have to do to fix this so come towards the end of the season we know what we have to do, we know how to respond when we do score,” Oleksy said. “We can’t let that continue to happen that’s a problem we have to fix.”