BOSTON – After winning their first two games after the Olympic break, the Capitals have now lost three straight. Over the course of those defeats, Washington has fired five or fewer shots on an opposing netminder in five of the nine periods of play (excluding overtime on Sunday). That doesn’t sound like a team making a playoff push.
“In the last few games we haven’t had nearly enough shots on net,” Troy Brouwer said. “We just got to find ways to get more pucks to the net. The last two games we’ve had eight shots through two periods, and that’s not going to win you very many hockey games.”
Here’s the breakdown of the Capitals’ shots on goal the last three games in reverse chronological order:
at Boston 3/6
First period: 4 shots
Second: 4 shots
Third: 8 shots
at Philadelphia 3/5
First period: 3
vs. Philadelphia 3/2
First period: 17
You’ll notice that the anemia set in as the Capitals choked away a two-goal lead to the Flyers on Sunday at Verizon Center and fell 5-4 in overtime. After the loss in Philadelphia on Wednesday night, when Coach Adam Oates was asked about the slow start he said it was “probably a little carry over from the other night” referencing that loss three days earlier.
If the Capitals are so fragile that a disappointing loss like that one results in extended poor play over an entire week even though they’re a point out of a playoff spot it certainly doesn’t bode well for a strong run over these final 18 games. So did that defeat create a carryover lull?
“They’re tough teams to play against and we knew all these games are going to be extremely hard,” Alzner said. “Of course we want to win and we were riding a high, expecting to win I guess [on Sunday] and we didn’t. It shuts you down a little bit but it shouldn’t shut you down for two more games after that. That’s on us. [The Bruins] lose a game and they come back even better, so we’ve got to be able to do it if we want to compete.”