In their first game of 2014, at home against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Washington Capitals came out swinging, but were down a goal before the first period ended. After a flurry of goals during the second period, and a scoreless third, Jeff Skinner completed his hat trick in overtime, and the Canes won 4-3.
On December 29, the Washington Capitals lobbed 50 shots at Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller (to his team’s 17), but only had one goal to show for it, and lost in the shootout. The next day, December 30, they were narrowly outshot by the Ottawa Senators, but lost 3-1 in regulation. Thursday night’s game was one where the Caps actually had goals to show for their efforts, but not a win.
It was the Capitals’ third straight loss, five in their last six games, and six of their last eight games. Through 41 games, the Capitals have only 10 wins in regulation.
“We had 40 shots. We did a lot of good things; we outshot them 10-0 at the start of the game,” said Adam Oates.
“Then we get a too-many-men penalty and then they get a 5-on-3 and score. We only had one power-play in the game which I was surprised at, but we did a lot of good things in the game.”
In the second period, five goals were scored within 3:45, three of those belonging to the Capitals. But they did what they’ve done 21 other times this season: allowed quick response goals against almost immediately after one of their own.
Brooks Laich called it “sort of embarrassing.”
“We know how to respond when we do score. We can’t let that continue to happen. That’s a problem that we have to fix,” said Steve Oleksy, who scored a goal in Thursday’s game, his first in 10 games.
“I think everyone in this dressing room, everyone that is a part of this team and this organization all know that we have to play better hockey,” Oleksy continued.
“We are not playing our best hockey, but we are finding a way to get some points in the mix. Obviously, we have had some games that we probably should have had two points, but you are still getting some valuable points. At the end of the day, we know that we have a lot more to give, and we are going to figure it out and we are going to turn it around here.”