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Capitals Takeaways

Takeaways: Lack Of Discipline, Mistakes Cost Capitals vs. Senators



Capitals forward T.J. Oshie

To open Thursday’s tilt with the Ottawa Senators, the shorthanded Washington Capitals were doing everything right. But after those first 20 minutes of action, things went downhill.

After leading 2-0 entering the second period, Washington had one too many penalties and missed assignments, and it led to somewhat of a collapse, as the Capitals ultimately gave up five unanswered goals in a 5-2 loss to the Senators.

Here are all the takeaways from the defeat:

Penalties, Mistakes Cost Washington Capitals

Washington had the upper hand in the first period, dominating in shots and controlling the play in the offensive zone. However, things started to unravel as the Capitals took four penalties — with T.J. Oshie taking two in a span of under two minutes — in the second. Ottawa capitalized on those power play chances, scoring on back-to-back man advantages to tie the game.

Those penalties deflated Washington, who seemed to lose their footing after going without 5-on-5 ice time for so long. The Senators completely tilted the ice in their favor, piling on the shots on Darcy Kuemper while also keeping the Capitals out of their own zone. Washington was outplayed, plain and simple. And ultimately, it was poor defensive coverage that led to the eventual loss. Ottawa’s youth also shined and played physical, and the Capitals, without several key pieces, couldn’t keep up.

A missed assignment led to a wide-open Shane Pinto in front, who put the Senators up 3-2. Tyler Motte and Alex DeBrincat later hit the empty net for the 5-2 victory for Ottawa, as Alex Ovechkin and Washington couldn’t find twine on the 6-on-5.

Mantha, Sheary, Johansson Stay Hot, Power-Play Strikes Twice

On the bright side for the Capitals, a few of their pieces have stayed red-hot, and the power play found success as well. On an early 5-on-3 chance, T.J. Oshie struck for his second of the season on a nice pass from Marcus Johansson. Oshie has four points in five games to open the campaign, while Johansson now has four points in as many games. John Carlson also got his second assist of the season.

Shortly after, Anthony Mantha struck on a laser of a one-timer, making it a 2-0 game on a nice feed from Dmitry Orlov. It marked Mantha’s team-leading third goal of the season, and he also led the club with four shots against the Senators. Conor Sheary also stayed hot, picking up his fourth point of the season and extending his point streak to three games.

McMichael, Snively Make Season Debuts

With no Evgeny Kuznetsov and no Connor Brown, Connor McMichael and Joe Snively made their debuts, with McMichael centering the third line and Snively playing on the second-line wing. Snively. Both fought to make a statement and did a few things to make their presence known.

McMichael played just 8:33 minutes but tied for the team lead in blocks (3) and also had a hit and his first NHL fight. That scrap came with a good reason: he was sticking up for teammate John Carlson, who took a huge body check from Parker Kelly. McMichael received a fighting major but did what he could to stand out and try to ignite a spark. And for the 21-year-old, that’s the grit the team wants to see.

Snively skated 15:16 minutes on the second line and helped generate quite a few opportunities while being aggressive on the forecheck and making smart plays. He had two shots on goal and also got time on the power play (1:08).

Kuemper Comes Up Big For Washington Capitals

Despite the defeat, Kuemper came up huge in net for Washington. He stopped 39 of 42 shots against (.929 save percentage) and made some big stops on rebounds and other significant scoring chances in front. The 32-year-old seems to be finding his footing, and poor coverage on the goals against doesn’t fall on him. He kept the Capitals in it until the end.

After four games, Kuemper’s save percentage at even strength is at a .918. He is at a .902 SV% right now with a 2-2-0 record through four starts.

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