It was not a pretty New Year’s Eve for the Washington Capitals. The Capitals squared off against the pesky Nashville Predators on Monday afternoon, and fell short to the Predators 6-3. The Capitals had a good start to the game, but gave up 5 unanswered goals between the 2nd and 3rd periods.
The Capitals went 9-4 in December, so by no means are they struggling to get wins. The Capitals have been banged up, so getting these wins with a few call-ups is good to see. Entering 2019, the Capitals will need to improve and catch a few breaks to get back on track.
What do the Capitals need to get back on track in 2019? Where can the Capitals improve to get back on track in 2019?
GET THE BLUELINE HEALTHY
Matt Niskanen has been one of the Capitals most sturdy defenders over the last number of years. Niskanen was injured in the game against Carolina on December 27, and missed the games against Ottawa and Nashville. Veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik finally returned to the Capitals from injury against Nashville.
The Capitals have received quality contributions from some of their younger defenders like Madison Bowey, Jonas Siegenthaler, and Tyler Lewington, but the Capitals need a healthy blueline as the playoff race inches closer. Blue line depth is tested late in the regular season as games become tighter and tougher to win.
GET THE TOP GUNS BACK SCORING
Alex Ovechkin quietly has not registered a goal in six games. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom both have not registered a goal in the last twelve games.
The Capitals top three offensive stars are all in a bit of a slump right now, and that needs to change with a tough three-game road trip coming up. The Capitals need their top stars to score and need them to carry the load offensively if they want to fend off Columbus and Pittsburgh, who are right behind them in the Metropolitan Division standings.
WIN SOME FACEOFFS
The Capitals only won 41% of their faceoffs against the Predators on New Year’s Eve. For the 2018-19 regular season, the Capitals are struggling a bit in the faceoff dot. The Capitals are in the bottom-five in faceoffs, as they have only won 47.6% of their draws as a collective group.
The Capitals need a resurgence inside the faceoff circle. The Capitals need to win more of their draws to control the puck more. If the Capitals can control the puck more, they may be able to generate more goal scoring and more chances around the net.
By: George Foussekis