One shot in the final 8 minutes, down one goal? Last year this would have been unheard of. This year, it’s becoming the staple of most Capitals’ games, and it does not bode well at all.
The Caps surrendered 3 goals on 18 shots last night to a Phoenix team looking for positioning in the tight Western Conference playoff race. Though the Caps did pepper Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov with 31 shots – 11 between Alex Ovechkin and Mathieu Perrault – the Caps just couldn’t get it done. The power play was a dismal 0-5 on the night as well. Michal Neuvirth stopped only 15 of the shots he faced and the Caps just looked absolutely flat on the ice.
Special teams has been a focus during practice, but the Caps still drag along a goose egg over their last 15 chances. It’s not that they’re not shooting; last night’s contest saw 13 shots on their first four chances. “We were moving it around and we looked like a power play,” said coach Bruce Boudreau. “I thought for sure we were going to score a couple of goals on it. Sometimes, it’s not meant to be.”
“We had really good chances but we didn’t score,” Ovechkin said. “When you play well and lose it’s going to look like you didn’t play well. We just have to continue doing what we’re doing on the power play.”
Possibly. But there’s more that needs fixed than just the power play. It’s very telling when the New York Islanders, one of the absolute worst teams in the league right now, has more 20 goal scorers (3) on their active roster than the Caps (1). What was once a promising year with anticipated success in the playoffs is quickly turning into a sour malaise that guarantees nothing but early tee times on the green and a highly agitated fan base.
Goals last night came from Marcus Johansson in the second period and Matt Bradley in the third. Mike Green sat out last night’s game due to an inner ear issue. The Caps have no easy time ahead, with games against the Ducks, Sharks, and Sabres later this week.