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What Capitals Locker Room Is Saying About Poor Start To Season



Washington Capitals

ARLINGTON, V.A. — The Washington Capitals are by no means in the position they thought they’d be just 10 days into the season. Right now, their 2-3-0 record marks the worst start in the Metropolitan Division. However, there’s no panic. Instead, urgency and encouragement from one another.

Trevor van Riemsdyk smiled when asked if anyone was ready to press the panic button just a few games into the 2022-23 campaign.

“No, no, definitely not,” he answered. “I think there’s — it always seems when you have a few losses early on for whatever reason, that seems like more pressure to get that next one. But I think you just got to approach it with a calm head,” van Riemsdyk said. “Clear mindset, but have a little urgency to your game.”

Still, it is a concern that the team knows it has to address. Anthony Mantha, the team’s current leading scorer with three goals in five games, said that he feels that Washington has learned a lot from this tough stretch to open the year and that a comeback is coming.

“Things are coming along. Obviously, if our team can maybe find a way to finish those games when we have a lead, like in Ottawa, I think it’s just a matter of time before we do,” Mantha said. “Everything’s going to align and we’re going to have pure dominance in the next couple of weeks.”

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That Senators game was something of a lesson learned for the Capitals. The players didn’t meet after that game, as they had a day off on Friday and were eager to move on to the next game. However, there was a collective understanding of accountability when they gave up five unanswered goals and saw the ice tilt after taking a 2-0 lead in a strong first period.

“All the guys know when you have a 2-0 lead, you can’t just let go of it. We kind of learned from it,” Mantha said. “Obviously it’s good that it happens early in the season, so we learned for us to not make it happen again.”

Evgeny Kuznetsov, who is drawing back into the lineup following a one-game suspension, said he’s noticed patterns that have cost the team over this tough run, and that the solution is simple: to come out on top by any means possible.

“We just have to win the game,” Kuznetsov said. “If it’s going to be ugly game and we’re going to get two points or it’s going to be beautiful game and two points, it doesn’t really matter by the end of the day,” Kuznetsov said. “We just need to start collecting the points.

“[Chemistry and success on lines] that’s all included to that. And when you win the game, even from bad games, you can learn more than from good games,” he added. “Sometimes you can play bad, but get two points and you can learn from that bad game a lot. And you can fix a lot of things, you can get together, but when things just go on beautiful, sometimes you don’t realize. You don’t find the mistakes.”

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Although there’s not too much concern regarding the future — given it’s only five games into a new season with players still finding chemistry and the team suffering a myriad of injuries (and now losing Connor Brown long-term), the message is clear from Alex Ovechkin and company: every point matters and things need to start looking up.

“Like I said before the season, every point is going to be important. We fight through, we miss some key players out there, and everybody have to play much bettter than we can… how I said, we fight through.”

“The points now count just as much as the points at the end of the year,” TVR added. “So if you can bank them early, that always helps out.”

Washington (2-3-0) plays host to the Los Angeles Kings (3-0-0) at 7 p.m. ET.