WASHINGTON — It was a better start and a decent effort for the Washington Capitals, but in the end, it was all-too-familiar result and a similar narrative against the Colorado Avalanche.
Despite dominating in shots and getting some good looks, Darcy Kuemper and Washington just couldn’t catch a break, and some unfortunate bounces, special teams woes and more turned Saturday into “one of those nights” in a 4-0 loss to the Avalanche.
“[Things] definitely unravelled,” head coach Peter Laviolette said.
It marks the Capitals’ fourth straight loss and fifth in sixth in seven games.
Here are all the takeaways from the defeat:
Washington Capitals Start Right, But Penalties Costly
Over the last three games, Washington has gotten off to some bad starts. However, that changed to open Saturday.
The Capitals got off to a strong start, generating plenty of pressure and keeping the play in the opposite end. Alex Ovechkin and friends got some good looks and a couple of quality chances, but Alexandar Georgiev came up big while the Avalanche also caught a few breaks.
While Washington has a strong first PK in the game, two more penalties late in the frame changed the tone. Garnet Hathaway and Lars Eller, who now has penalties in four straight games, took costly tripping calls that would lead to a Colorado 5-on-3. The Avalanche, who have the best PP in the league, capitalized with Cale Makar opening the scoring on a two-man advantage.
Washington Capitals Can’t Find Twine Or Catch Break, Lines Switch Up Again
Overall, it wasn’t necessarily a bad effort for the Capitals. They got plenty of good looks and quality chances but just couldn’t solve Georgiev despite 32 shots on goal. And after a strong start, things did start to drop off a bit after the first 20.
Over the course of the game, Ovechkin was double-shifted. The Great 8 played with Dylan Strome and Conor Sheary to start and then got time with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Conor Sheary. He also played in Nicolas Aube-Kubel‘s spot at times, getting time with Lars Eller and Anthony Mantha hoping to get something going.
Washington also couldn’t catch many breaks and stepped off the gas when the going got tough. There were posts, weird bounces and not a lot of rebounds, and ultimately, they faced another 3-0 deficit to come back from in the third a shot went off Andrew Cogliano’s skate and trickled past Kuemper in the third. It was another unfortunate break that led to a score not necessarily representative of the play. The Avalanche would add one more goal with 3:48 minutes remaining.
“I mean like just a few things obviously all over the ice. I don’t think it just comes down to bounces… Obviously not gonna win a game when you score no goals. So gotta find a way to create something, whether that’s power play or 5-on-5 whatever it may be,” Strome said. “So got to find a way to create a little bit more offensively.”
It wasn’t the best night for the blue line, who experienced miscommunications and disconnect in front. Also, Kuemper didn’t have his strongest game in his first appearance against his former club, as he made 25 saves on 29 shots in the loss to his former club while also
Washington Capitals Power Play Struggle Continues
After taking some costly calls early, the Capitals got the chance to make things happen on a couple of second-period power-play opportunities. Despite getting a PPG and ending a lengthy drought last game, the Capitals couldn’t ignite anything on the man advantage, even after a highlight-reel Nathan MacKinnon goal put them down 2-0 and in need of a goal.
Washington went 0-for-2 on the power play with just one shot on goal. There wasn’t a lot of energy or momentum, nothing was connecting and Colorado didn’t really have a hard time shutting things down. Ultimately, the team is now 1-for-26 on the power play over its last six games.