The Capitals didn’t do much right in their 3-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night in Raleigh; the 30-save showing by Tomas Vokoun may be the only positive note that carries over from the contest.
But what jumped out the most in the latest of what has become a pattern of ugly road games was how many chances Washington allowed while on their own power play.
“Our power play, we gave up five or six scoring chances I think, a couple breakaways and we were very sloppy — bad decisions,” Coach Dale Hunter said. “Our power play gave up more chances than we got. . . . It was self-inflicted. We turned pucks over, made bad decisions on entry where we turned them over, and it cost us.”
Washington’s desire to make the perfect play rather than search for any opportunity to put the puck on net played a key role. The Capitals would telegraph passes through the offensive zone that were easily picked off by the Carolina penalty-killers, which in turn led to short-handed scoring chances.
Then there were some of the poor decisions, one of which led directly to Jussi Jokinen’s short-handed tally 12:43 into the contest. John Carlson was bringing the puck up through the center of Washington’s zone but rather than guarding the puck well he left himself open to be poke-checked by Carolina captain Eric Staal, who swatted the puck away from Carlson and set up Jokinen for a clean breakaway.
That play happened on Washington’s first power play of the game. It was a trend that continued throughout the contest.
“We were getting outworked on the power play. We were pathetic out there,” Troy Brouwer said. “They’re outworking us on our own power play. That’s why they scored a goal. We were just lazy — didn’t get to loose pucks, we didn’t get open for guys. We made ill-advised plays, tough plays that we haven’t been making.
“Tonight we got outworked,” Brouwer continued. “We tried to make cute plays through the seams. I was a culprit of that tonight as well, we’re not pointing fingers at anybody, we’ve just got to collectively work harder and outwork the penalty kill.”
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