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The Washington Capitals are currently in the middle of a lengthy six-game road trip. So far, the Capitals are 1-2 on the road trip. Their latest loss came last night in Anaheim as the Ducks defeated the Capitals 5-2.
The loss to the Ducks was a disheartening one for the Capitals. The Ducks are near the bottom of the Western Conference standings and are not one of the league’s most offensively gifted teams, which is why this loss is a major sting for the Capitals.
As the season progresses and gets closer to March, the games are becoming more meaningful. Every point up for grabs is needed since the Capitals are still in a tight race in the Metropolitan Division.
With every point needed in the standings, the Capitals must tighten their defensive game. The Capitals have been way too loose in their own zone in recent outings, and have gotten out of position defensively.
PUCK-WATCHING LEADS TO OPPOSITION GOALS
Observing the Capitals most recent outings, the Capitals players are not paying attention to the finer details.
There have been too many times where Capitals players have been caught “puck-watching.” When the players caught have “puck-watched,” it has led to odd-man rushes toward the Capitals net. When these odd-man breakdowns happen, the Capitals are usually caught flat-footed and out of position on the ice.
The second goal the Capitals gave up against the Ducks was a prime example of too much puck-watching by Capitals players.
John Carlson and Michal Kempny were caught near the blueline in the same area watching the puck, and it left two Duck players wide open near the Capitals net area. When players get caught “puck-watching,” it usually leads to losing proper position on the ice.
BAD LINE CHANGES
In addition to some puck-watching and being out of position, the Capitals have been caught on some bad line changes in recent games.
A prime example of this happened against Columbus on February 12. A bad line change led to a Blue Jackets odd-man rush. This odd-man rush turned into the first goal of the game for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Capitals need to be more careful with their shift changes as the games get closer and tighter down the stretch.
SOME EXTRA FILM ROOM STUDY MAY BE NEEDED
It is gut-check time for this veteran Capitals group. This team has been there before, and has faced plenty of adversity over the last couple of seasons.
As the playoffs get closer, more effort is needed from everyone. From coaches down to players, everyone inside the locker room needs to put in extra film study. The defensive breakdowns and bad line changes need to be examined and tweaks must be made so that they do not continue to happen.
By: George Foussekis