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Despite Comebacks, Capitals Still Not Thrilled With Standard Of Play

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Washington Capitals

WASHINGTON – While the last couple of home games have been action-packed and full of excitement with wild goal-filled third periods, the Washington Capitals aren’t fans of that style of hockey.

Although they were happy with the four-goal third led them to a 4-3 comeback win over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, they know that there is still room for improvement and that the victory marked a step in the right direction.

“We have to be better. I think we have to play full 60 minutes, or at least try it,” Dmitry Orlov, whose three assists powered the veteran group to the win, said, adding, “In the third we were kind of good and make some plays when we need to, and when not, we just get deep. I think our forecheck is our thing, and if we’re going to keep using it, then I think we got more chances to win. It’s easier to play in offensive zone than on defense.”

Orlov also added that he wants to continue to see players supporting one another and keeping up the pressure each shift, and that style of play should go beyond the final 20 minutes and happen regardless of the scoreboard.

“A lot of experience and sometimes, it’s work that pay off. When you play hard, you play for each other… I think it gives us confidence in the future,” Orlov said.

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Nic Dowd agreed, and also noted that the team can take a lot of positives from the performance against the Kings.

“Well, there’s no hiding we’re a veteran team. But I think, you know, we got a lot of leadership in this locker room. Not just the captains obviously those guys have been doing it a long time and it starts with them. Like I said, we have a veteran squad, but obviously I think we’d like to start out better,” Dowd said. “L.A. is a very quick-starting team. Actually, I think we played well the whole game our penalty game was good. I thought our power play was really good. Darc played really well. So happy we got rewarded at the end.”

Taking that into account, Darcy Kuemper said he has seen the Capitals take on a new mentality over the last few games and that it is helping them put a slow start to 2022-23 in the rearview. And while there are ways to go, Saturday was a good starting point.

“I think we were pretty good throughout. Obviously the second period, they got two goals. Not ideal, but it wasn’t like we were playing bad,” Kuemper said, adding, “I thought overall, I liked us start to finish. The ability to not get the outcome we want in the second and then come out and pour it on in the third is huge.

“It’s a little bit of maturity. Just having that even-keel mindset where if things aren’t going your way, that you’re still in it… especially with how games are going nowadays, you’re still definitely in it. And just coming out and knowing that if you play the right way, that you got a chance and go out and execute.”

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Ultimately, head coach Peter Laviolette said that Washington talked about needing change, and Saturday was a good sign going forward as the Capitals look to get over .500.

“You start 0-2, you don’t dream about all summer going 0-2. And we got to put it behind us and focus on the last five games of the month here,” Laviolette said. “Today is the first step.”

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