No matter how a game unfolds on any given night, Coach Adam Oates emphasizes positives and works to correct mistakes the next day. Thursday’s video sessions focused more on the latter, illustrating the errors and how the Capitals had opportunities to make better decisions, better plays against Pittsburgh but didn’t.
“It wasn’t a very fun video session that’s for sure. Hopefully guys can realize what made us unsuccessful last night,” Troy Brouwer said, adding that the only real comfort found reliving moments of their 4-0 loss to the Penguins is that the problems are correctable, execution-based mistakes. “I thought our execution last night was poor, bad passes, missed assignments things like that just things that we know we need to clean up and things we have the ability to clean up which is good.”
Oates also took the opportunity to remind the Capitals that as ugly as things were Wednesday night, for nearly two periods they only trailed by two goals. That’s not an insurmountable lead by any means. He also wasn’t happy with the way Washington continues to struggle in response to goals, whether giving them up or scoring themselves.
“The first thing I showed them was our execution, decisions with the puck — that when they scored a goal we weren’t ourselves and that’s something we should have conquered by now,” Oates said. “I showed them that up until the too-many-men penalty, a minute left in the second period, it’s a two goal game , we had plenty of opportunities to get one and that’s all we needed to get in the game. Third goal makes it very difficult of course but it’s 39 minutes of the game. We need one.”
>> Oates said he expects Mike Green to be in the lineup against the Montreal Canadiens on Friday, but that he’s not sure what the corresponding move would be to make space on the 23-man active roster. Both Dmitry Orlov and Tyson Strachan can be returned to the AHL’s Hershey Bears without having to clear waivers.
>> The coaching staff hasn’t decided how it plans to split the back-to-back games this weekend between the goaltenders, but it sounds like Braden Holtby may get an opportunity to get right back in net after the loss to the Penguins.
“Still deciding,” Oates said. “Like to give Holts a chance to maybe bounce back tomorrow and get another one, but we’re still deciding because we’re going to split on the weekend.”
>> No changes to the line combinations in Thursday’s practice, which all players, including Green and John Erskine (LTIR), took part in. Oates did say he’s contemplating moving Brooks Laich to left wing on the second line and playing Martin Erat at center of that unit against the Canadiens, though. More to come on that line.