WASHINGTON, D.C. — Roughly 20 minutes after Carter Verhaeghe and the Florida Panthers sent the Washington Capitals packing for the summer, T.J. Oshie took the podium at Capital One Arena and was matter-of-fact and to the point as he recapped his team’s performance.
From Oshie’s perspective, the Capitals had the potential to win the series, and the opportunity to close the door on several occasions. However, in Games 4, 5 and 6, Washington blew leads and ultimately dropped key decisions that led to the team’s fourth consecutive first-round exit.
“There’s still some reflection to do,” he said, calling the elimination “frustrating.”
The 35-year-old veteran is one of Washington’s top leaders in the dressing room and is no stranger to what it’s like to win. However, that last series win is a long time removed, as the Capitals have failed to win a playoff series since hoisting the Stanley Cup back in 2018. And looking back at the team’s mindset and mentality, Oshie admitted that the collective buy-in wasn’t always present in the dressing room since then.
“The last couple of years, we’ve been down and teams have kind of had their way with us a little bit,” Oshie said. “I don’t think the all-in aspect was quite there in the last couple years. This year, I think we were extremely close to being 100 percent everyone on board, and we let three games slip away from us.”
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As the team takes the time to look back, Oshie still praised his team’s fight and the effort that they put up against the No. 1 seed in the opening round of the playoffs, especially with Tom Wilson on the shelf. No. 77 led the series with six goals in six games. Still, Oshie stressed how mistakes can prove costly and ultimately, doomed Washington against Florida.
“Super proud of the way the guys have battled all year, and this series is no different,” Oshie said.
“In playoffs, the margin of error is so small. One bad bounce or one misread can change the whole momentum of a game. And all of a sudden, thinking you’re going to their barn up 3-1, [but] it’s 2-2. Up 3-0, lose 5-3. Now come here, up 2-1 — I think it was under 10 minutes maybe — and then all of a sudden we’re down one in the last couple minutes. Things happen fast, and we just didn’t shut the door. There’s really no other way to put it.”
The Capitals will hold their final media availability of the season on Sunday.