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The Washington Capitals just got back from what many might call a “crappy” road trip through Nashville and Colorado. They were outscored 12-5 in those two games. Not good. But more important than the score was the effort. At times, the Capitals looked great, but other times, just terrible.
Their opening period against Nashville was horrendous. They played a great two periods after that, but the early hole was too much, which was the same with Colorado. The Capitals allowed a goal in the first 20 seconds and last 20 seconds of the first period, which some call, daggers.
In their win at home versus the Edmonton Oilers, they didn’t play well, but goaltender Braden Holtby stole the game for them. Something is off.
What makes this even more frustrating is less than a week before that, the Capitals played an inspired game versus the Pittsburgh Penguins and won. If they played all of their games like that one, they will win most.
So where does this leave the Capitals? They are just about a .500 team (10-9-1), which isn’t bad, considering they are still only four points from first place in their division, but also only four points from being in last. It’s also important to note the Capitals are at the quarter mark of the season, so there’s absolutely no reason to freak out. It’s all about the last 25 games of the season, not the first 20. But that still doesn’t mean these next 10 games aren’t huge.
Nine out of the next ten games are at home, with only one back-to-back set. It’s a nice schedule, but it’s also a tough one. Every single opponent in the next 10 games is in a playoff spot except two (Chicago and New York) but each are only one point out. There are no easy matchups. These games will say a whole lot about the Capitals as a team. If they don’t use their poor play as of late as a wake up call and they fall flat in these next 10 games, then one would expect some big changes.
What kind of changes? Considering the Capitals have a good enough roster to be better than they are, it could mean a coaching change. Maybe General Manager Brian MacLellan makes a trade or two to shake things up. It’s probably not worth speculating too much, but it would be very hard to see everything staying the same if the Capitals don’t change their tune over these next stretch of games.
Or this could just be a fluke. The Capitals aren’t fully healthy yet and their young players are still learning. The Capitals could win seven of their next ten games and no one would even remember how their first 20 games went.
But one thing is for sure, these next ten games are crucial to the Capitals’ identity and will shape them one way or the other.
By Luke Adomanis