The Washington Capitals are in the middle of a critical home stretch during early November. After dropping a 4-3 overtime decision to Dallas to begin the home stand, the Capitals will look to regroup and tighten up their game.
Over the last five games, the Capitals have surrendered 19 goals against. Certainly, this is something the Capitals want to fix in their game. It is not a healthy recipe to surrender close to four goals per game.
What are some things the Capitals can do to fix their game right now? How can the Capitals play better defensively and keep the opposition goals to a minimum amount?
ELIMINATE BAD TURNOVERS IN THE BAD AREAS
— NHL (@NHL) November 3, 2018
In recent games, the Capitals have shot themselves in the foot with costly turnovers. Craig Laughlin routinely makes note of the “danger zone” area of the ice on your TV telecasts. The Capitals must avoid turning the puck over near the offensive zone blue line area as it can lead to odd-man rushes and breakaways toward Braden Holtby’s net. The Capitals gave away the puck too much in their last couple of outings. They surrendered the puck 11 times against Montreal and 14 times against Dallas.
AVOID SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME IN THE DEFENSIVE ZONE
— NHL Daily 365 (@NHLDaily365) November 4, 2018
In addition to turnovers, the Capitals have spent too much time defending in their own zone. It is very important that the Capitals defensemen can shoot the puck up to the forwards in a timely manner. This requires plenty of communication and execution. The forwards must be willing to assist the defensemen along the boards, and everyone must be willing to win the puck battles.
IMPROVE THE FACEOFF EFFECTIVENESS
Winning a simple faceoff draw can dictate play and control of the puck. The Capitals are 48.6% effective inside the dot, which is ranked 25th in the NHL. If the Capitals can control more draws, they can make the opposition have the puck less. This is especially noticeable in the neutral and defensive zones.
— NHL Daily 365 (@NHLDaily365) November 2, 2018
The Capitals have received some spectacular goaltending play and some questionable goaltending play in their first 12 games. The Capitals have relied heavily on their goaltenders in previous seasons, and will need to do so to have continual success. The Capitals need a spectacular season from Braden Holtby to return to the postseason. They also need Pheonix Copley to step in and play some valuable minutes inside the net to give Holtby some much needed relief.
By: George Foussekis