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Ovechkin’s Message To Capitals After 0-2 Start: ‘We Have To Get Better’



Washington Capitals

Going into the season, the Washington Capitals didn’t envision starting the season off 0-2-0, especially after a plethora of offseason additions. However, for the first time in nearly a decade, the team has dropped its first two games of the season, and Alex Ovechkin wants to stop the bleeding now.

The Capitals captain had strong words for his club following a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, which saw many of the teams’ struggles from their season opener carry over.

“That’s a start we don’t want to have, two losses in a row,” Ovechkin said postgame. “It’s wake-up call. And we have to get better and play well in the next one.”

Ovechkin has been held off the scoresheet to open the season, and Washington has appeared “disjointed” in several areas out of the gate. But the most glaring issue is on the power play. The Capitals are 0-for-9 on the man advantage to start the regular season, and with multiple power-play opportunities on Thursday against Ilya Samsonov and Toronto, Washington had more than its fair share of chances to even the score or even take the lead. But that didn’t happen, as the team couldn’t convert on a total of five chances against the Leafs.

“Execution,” Ovechkin said when asked what wasn’t working. “First power play we didn’t hit the right spot. In the second period, missed a wide-open net and just execution. Maybe afraid to get a simple play and get that extra shot to find that dirty goal. We just have to fight through it.”

READ MORE ON WHN: Takeaways From Washington Capitals’ Lackluster Loss To Toronto Maple Leafs

Beyond special teams, the team is struggling with puck possession and sustained pressure in the offensive zone. The top forward line of Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Connor Brown, meanwhile, is still finding its footing but appears out of sync. Not only that, but the defensive pairings, which only saw one change from last year with Erik Gustafsson replacing Justin Schultz and allowing Trevor van Riemsdyk to switch back to his natural right side, are falling into bad habits. Rush coverage has been weak, there have been missed assignments and as a result, Darcy Kuemper and Charlie Lindgren are left to face high-danger chance after high-danger chance.

“We have to work through it,” Ovechkin said, adding, “We have some chances, but we have to talk, we have to watch the video and figure out what we have to do out there.”

The Capitals are back in action on Saturday as they play host to the Montreal Canadiens. It will be a major test for Washington as it looks to put all of the right pieces together and find the first win of the season and turn around a lackluster start.

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