Before their back-to-back games this weekend, the Washington Capitals appeared to have turned a corner. Their outings were disciplined, they functioned as cohesive five-man units on the ice and their goaltending made key saves.
For the second time in as many days, though, the Capitals didn’t play like a team reformed. Washington’s 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers at Verizon Center on Sunday afternoon featured nearly every negative trait from its league-worst 2-8-1 start to the season.
Untimely penalties? Check. Missed assignments and frequent turnovers? Check. Soft goals? Check.
“We didn’t come out and play a smart game tonight,” winger Matt Hendricks said. “I think we needed to realize that we played last night, and we made a lot of the same mistakes, I think, as last night: We didn’t put pucks in areas where we could wear their team down. We had turnovers, again, in the neutral zone and such. For us to be successful, we can’t continue to make those mistakes.”
The most costly misstep came when the game was tied at 1 near the midway point of the second period. A pair of delayed penalties was called on Alex Ovechkin as he scrambled about the defensive zone — one for tripping Ryan Callahan and a second for holding Ryan McDonagh.
Rangers goaltender Martin Biron (28 saves) was making his way to the bench for an extra attacker when Brian Boyle fired from the top of the left circle past Braden Holtby to make it 2-1. But because there were two delayed calls, only one was wiped out by the Boyle goal.
Alex Oveckin penalties are costly for Washington in 4-1 loss
Washington Post | Mar 11