Down In a 0-2 Hole, How Can the Washington Capitals Crawl Back Into the Series Versus Columbus?

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The 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs are underway, and the opening round has not been kind to the Capitals, so far.  The Capitals suffered overtime defeats in the two opening games of the series in Washington D.C.

While the Capitals are in a bit of a hole, the series is far from over.  The Capitals have some regrouping to do, and if they can win at least one game in Columbus, the series will return to Washington.

Since the Capitals dropped Games 1 and 2 in overtime, the Capitals need to make some adjustments to their game as they head to Columbus.  What can the Capitals do to improve so they can send the series back to Washington?

FIX THE PENALTY KILL

The Capitals penalty kill was not very good in the first two games.  The Blue Jackets went 4/8 in both games.  The Blue Jackets finished the 2017-18 regular season with the 25th ranked powerplay in the NHL.

The Capitals need to be more efficient in their defensive zone clears.  There have been a few instances in the series where the Capitals forwards and defensemen have failed to clear the puck early in the Blue Jacket powerplay shift.  It has led to longer shifts in the defensive zone, and the Blue Jackets have found holes to the net for easy tap-in goals.

LIMIT THE PENALTIES

The Capitals have taken 9 minor penalties in the first two games.  Four of those minors have taken place in the third period, including 3 in the 3rd period of Game 1.

The Capitals need to play with more discipline.  Most the Capitals minor penalties in the playoffs have involved stick infractions.  The Capitals need to watch their sticks closely, and need to be wary of any kind of retaliation penalty that will come from the men in stripes.

KEEP THE FOCUS EARLY AND LATE IN PERIODS

It has become very predictable when the Capitals give up goals.  The Capitals love to surrender goals late in periods, and sometimes in quick bunches.   In Game 2, the Capitals surrendered two goals to the Jackets with less than 2 minutes to go in the frame.  In the series, the Capitals have surrendered 5 goals to the Jackets either in the first 5 minutes of a period or in the last 5 minutes of a period.

Coming out of the locker room, or getting ready to go into the locker room, the Capitals tend to lack focus and execution in these time frames of a game.  Goals given up early or late in periods are back breakers for a team’s momentum in a game.

BOTTOM-SIX PRODUCTION

The Capitals have 2 goals from their bottom six-forward group.  If the Capitals want to prolong the series, they will need some goals from players that may not normally score.  The teams that go far in the playoffs have four deep lines that can contribute offensively, so the Capitals need more production if they want to crawl back into the series with Columbus.

By: George Foussekis

About George Foussekis

I am a sports fanatic. I love hockey and football, and I enjoy writing about my two favorite sports. I am a proud Old Dominion University alum.
This entry was posted in Game Re-Caps, Games, News, NHL, Penalty Kill, Players, Playoffs, Washington Capitals and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Down In a 0-2 Hole, How Can the Washington Capitals Crawl Back Into the Series Versus Columbus?

  1. “…The teams that go far in the playoffs have four deep lines that can contribute offensively,…”

    Of course that’s the case. Remember when we got our first (record setting) President’s trophy during the 2015-2016 season? That year, Jay Beagle was asked by one of the reporters during a media pool post game press conference how come the Caps were scoring so prolifically at the time. Jay answered that it was largely because Barry Trotz was rolling all four of his lines. He also said that this approach kept everyone fresh, in rhythm and, just as important, fully engaged. It also gave the opposition less time to breathe or adjust.

    Barry’s gotten away from that…FAR AWAY…..for three years now…He may have four lines on paper, but a quick glance at the stat sheet after the game will show that the younger, faster playersthat this team’s future depends on rarely get more than 5 to ten minutes. Again, I know that not everyone can get shifted 20 minutes a game. But this is year four of the Trotz regime. And at least three of his youngsters merit a closer look–and by that I mean extended PT during the regular season when they can play through their mistakes, and develop their games–not to mention chemistry with each other. Barry Trotz should have been able to figure most of that out by now.

    We don’t need another President’s trophy. We’d far prefer Lord Stanley’s Cup. And in the long run it will be our younger forwards–along with airtight goal tending–that will get us there…

    End,

    Clifford
    Santa Monica

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Why The Caps “Aren’t Going Away” | NoVa Caps

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