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Capitals Dig In After Disinterested Effort: ‘Gotta Look In The Mirror & Say We Gotta Be Better’

The Washington Capitals were disappointed with their lackluster effort against the San Jose Sharks refused to make excuses as they continue the final playoff push.



WASHINGTON — The Washington Capitals refuse to make excuses.

Just 22 hours after a convincing, critical win over the top-ranked Boston Bruins, Washington returned home for a Sunday matinee against the San Jose Sharks. Instead of carrying over momentum from Boston and building off that victory, the Capitals fell flat, looking fatigued and — at times — disinterested in a 4-1 loss to San Jose.

"I think you're more tired on the second game of a back-to-back but you know, every team goes through it," goaltender Charlie Lindgren said. "So I don't think there's any room for excuses, including myself. And you know, I think we all got to look in the mirror and we all probably got to say we got to be a little bit better."

Evgeny Kuznetsov agreed, saying that the quick turnaround and the process of still shaking off rust following a lengthy All-Star Break shouldn't stop the team from being held accountable, especially after Washington got home before nine and had "a lot of time to rest."

"I don't want to blame on that… there are some games like that when things not going well," Kuznetsov said. "Sometimes, we're able to turn the things around, and today just wasn't there. We're going to learn from that for sure."

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After Evgeny Svechnikov put the Sharks up 1-0 just 2:54 minutes into the game, Washington appeared deflated. It was a low-shooting affair, and one where the team couldn't click offensively, get pucks on net or finish chances. Washington's power play also struggled once again and went 0-for-3.

"It's a hard question," Conor Sheary said regarding the lack of chemistry and results. "I think tonight obviously exposed us in a lot of ways, but I think in general, we probably need to get a bit more action at the net, more people at the net, more pucks at the net. Create second-chance opportunities… tonight, we seemed to be forcing east-west a little bit too much and creating turnovers that led to them transitioning and getting to our zone."

Lindgren himself took a lot of the blame, saying that he wanted that first goal back that set the tone going forward, and again reiterated that the team is to blame for the loss, not outside circumstances.

"There can't really be any room for excuses. I just think every time we get a chance to play in the National Hockey League and then play a game, I think we got to put our best foot forward… it was a game that I think we needed to win and we didn't win," Lindgren said.

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That being said, the Capitals aren't trying to get caught up or dwell on the loss with the stakes high in this final stretch. They are clinging on to the first Wild Card spot, and the margin for error is small going forward with Eastern Conference rivals close behind in the standings. For Washington, the game plan is simple: turn the page, get results and play with urgency going forward.

"We have a lot of divisional games coming up, which will help us. If we can win a lot of those and climb the standings that way, that'll be great because as you win, you push other teams down," Sheary said. "We just gotta look ahead at this point and try to get two points in the next game."

"We're going get the proper rest, and next game, I'm pretty sure we're going to get the proper rest. And next game, I'm pretty sure we're going to come out hot and we're going to be much better because I know this team can respond after bad games."

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