The up and down season for the Washington Capitals just seems to continue. The Capitals enter tonight’s 7 PM game at the Carolina Hurricanes with a 3-game losing streak, following a 3-game victory run. The play clearly has lacked consistency, but at least you can count on the length of the streak...
Various versions of the Capitals’ team seem to have presented itself over the shortened, yet tumultuous season. One minute the team is dominating the opposing goalie, with various lines providing scoring opportunities. The next, you’re 4 goals deep in the second period with no hope in sight and your captain looks as if he’s already thrown in the towel.
Amid the 3-game win streak there was the dramatic 4-3 come from behind overtime win to the visiting Boston Bruins on March 5, 4 goals on 8 shots in less than 9 minutes during the 7-1 pounding of Florida on March 7, and a 3-0 shutout of the Winnipeg Jets on March 2.
So what happened since then?
Penalties, injuries, and just bad hockey (insert ESPN’s Hockey Guru Barry Melrose voice here).
Such was the case in the Capitals’ 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders, with two four-minute penalties alone in the third period that made fighting back for the lead quite tricky. Then there was the hat trick, Capital’s captain Alex Ovechkin rather forget, in the team’s 4-1 loss to the visiting New York Rangers. The three penalties by Ovechkin all translated into goals for the Rangers, and costly ones at that.
While many, including Capitals’ coach Adam Oates questioned if some of the penalties were justified, the fact is those were the highlights of Ovechkin’s game, rather than any positive contributions to the game. Of which, there were none.
And then we have Tuesday’s loss to Carolina. I’m actually thankful that I was trying to fight off being sick and unable to watch the game, because it was just depressing. Former Capitals’ defensemen, now Hurricane Joe Corvo put it best post game to the media.
“I think if you watched them play tonight, it seems like they’re missing maybe some confident… They’re struggling a little bit.” The Capitals’ Nicklas Backstrom said the game was “just embarrassing,” adding, “Our effort is not good enough. Especially if you’re going to hunt that playoff spot, you can’t play like this.”
On the brighter side, there’s only up from here for the Capitals right? Let’s hope they like their streaks in threes…at least the losing part.