It was a deflating loss for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night in Winnipeg. They were up 3-1 late into the third period, but ended up losing 4-3 in overtime. The Capitals let 2 points slip away from their hands, and it should have never ended up like that.
Fans are wondering why the Capitals are 4-3-3 in their last 10 games. Fans are wondering why the Capitals surrender so many defensive breakdowns. Some are even questioning Braden Holtby’s play for the Capitals this season.
The Capitals have some issues going on, but the issues they have are fixable. Most of their on-ice mistakes stem from mental letdowns. Whether it is a bad cross ice pass in the neutral zone, or not getting pucks in behind the opposition’s net, the Capitals need to clean up some of their letdowns. The Capitals need to find ways to generate more offense, and they need to clean up their turnovers, so teams cannot have easy transition on them.
BACKCHECKING, BOARD BATTLES, AND TURNOVERS
Winning a simple board battle can prevent a goal from happening. Andre Burakovksy learned the hard way against Dustin Byfuglien on Tuesday night. If Burakovsky ties Byfuglien up along the boards, this goal scored by Mark Scheifele may not happen:
The Capitals centers have had difficulty at times with backchecking this year. Evgeny Kuznetsov let Luke Glendening skate right past him last Sunday versus Detroit. He needs to backcheck harder here, instead of floating into the defensive zone. There is nothing wrong here if Kuznetsov can tie Glendening’s stick up so he cannot get a shot off:
The Capitals defensemen have issues getting the puck out of their end and up the ice at times. Here is Matt Niskanen on Sunday after he is picked off in the neutral zone. It leads to an easy transition play and goal the other way:
FIX THE SIMPLE MISTAKES AND MENTAL ERRORS
Most of the Capitals mistakes are mental errors in the game. The film shows the errors the Capitals make. It is up to the coaches to show the players their errors and find ways to correct them. It is up to the players to make sure the same errors do not happen repeatedly. The same errors that happen repeatedly become bad habits. For a Stanley Cup contender like the Capitals are, bad habits are not good to have around.
By: George Foussekis