PHILADELPHIA – In the span of two games the Capitals have gone from poised to pass the Flyers in the standings to four-points behind their I-95 rivals, who sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division. While Philadelphia has moved up, the Capitals remain stuck a point outside the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Washington didn’t do much to remedy its predicament here Wednesday night in a 6-4 loss. Listless for much of the first 40 minutes, the Capitals recorded as many shots as their opponent scored goals in the opening 31 minutes 52 seconds, resulting in starter Braden Holtby being pulled from the net.
“It’s not acceptable, it’s not the way we want to play. We were sleeping the first two periods. We were not even in this game,” Nicklas Backstrom said. “We’re so lucky that we had a chance to win it or at least tie it up. I don’t know what to say — it’s not good.”
Said Joel Ward: “Real disappointing … I don’t know what to say on the start, just a couple of mistakes that we made obviously and they gained some momentum from it. We know they usually come out hard, we just didn’t match that intensity.”
Coming out flat in the early stages of a season is one thing, but with only 19 games remaining, putting forth that type of insufficient performance can cost teams playoff berths.
With another tough game at Boson on Thursday night, the Capitals have little choice but to move on from these ugly losses against the Flyers as quickly as possible.
“I think we never have a good game after trade deadline. Maybe guys put some pressure on themselves, thinking too much. But today at the start it was not how we’re supposed to start the game,” Alex Ovechkin said. “Everybody was kind of nervous, everybody look around at what happen with the team but you know it’s over and tomorrow is a new day. We just have to forget this game. I’m pretty sure lots of guys going to respond well and whole team going to respond well and as captain I need to lead by example.”