Would that the Washington Capitals could just play at home for the remainder of the season…
The Caps went to New Jersey last night with a paltry 4-4-1 road record, compared to their 10-1-1 run at home. And last night, the Caps continued to underwhelm on the road, losing 5-0 to a struggling Devils team and marking coach Bruce Boudreau’s third anniversary as head coach with a less-than-stellar performance.
The Caps lost their third straight game and have been outscored 14-4 over that same stretch; two of those games, the Caps have been kept off the scoreboard.
Braden Holtby, a surprise starter last night, has allowed 8 goals on 28 shots – but the fault lies with more than just the rookie netminder. “Everything has a trickle down effect from the forwards to the defense to the goalie to the coaches,” Boudreau said after the game. “If we fail like this, it’s everybody’s fault. We all have to pick up our socks and find out what’s gone wrong in these last three games. I know it happens, but it hasn’t happened to us and I don’t like it.”
Boudreau stated emphatically during Monday morning’s practice that he was wary of this Jersey team. Plagued with over 100 man-games of injuries so far this season, the Devils have had their second-worst start in recent memory. The one thing Boudreau didn’t want to see was the Devils’ fortunes begin to turn playing the Capitals.
Unfortunately, that became the reality.
The Caps gave up 5 goals on 23 shots last night and it would’ve easily been a 8 or 9 goal game if Holtby hadn’t had some brilliant stops later in the game. The Caps’ leading line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Alexander Semin was completely shut down by the Devils’ Travis Zajac, David Clarkson, and Brian Rolston. Ovechkin had only five shots on goal; the line itself only mustered 11 between them.
“We have to change something,” said Ovechkin, who is hasn’t scored in four straight games and has just 2 goals in the last 11.
Boudreau did split them up later in the game, but by then, the damage was done. “We’ll make it up for it tomorrow,” Boudreau said. Practice today will be an interesting one, no doubt. The Caps face the Hurricanes next in Carolina on Wednesday.