After a 5-2 loss on Friday night that put the Washington Capitals in a 2-0 hole in their first round series against the New York Islanders, Head Coach Todd Reirden will be looking for a better effort from his club on Sunday in a pivotal Game 3. On Saturday, Reirden spoke to the media (via teleconference) on the status of Center Nicklas Backstrom, potential lineup changes, and the importance of bouncing back for a victory.
Reirden was asked at the start of the conference about the status of Backstrom, who has been in the NHL’s concussion protocol after a hit in Game 1 from the Islanders’ Anders Lee. Reirden would not commit to Backstrom playing in Game 3, but stated that he “was hoping” Backstrom, who practiced after the team on Saturday, would be able to play on Sunday.
Reirden was then asked about potential lineup changes to the lineup after a talent-filled roster has received scoring from only Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie in two games. Reirden would not go into any specifics on anything regarding the lineup, but was clear that the team would put its, “best 20 guys on the ice”. The full quote:
Reirden would not confirm or deny if there would be lineup changes, but I would be stunned if there are not. It’s necessary. Here’s Reirden’s full quote: pic.twitter.com/mB3yXw0a75
— JJ Regan (@JJReganNBCS) August 15, 2020
When asked about his players’ mood after two losses in two, disappointing finishes against former Head Coach Barry Trotz’ team, Reirden cut straight to the point:
“I think disappointed. I think not happy to be in this situation that we are in. It’s tough when you’re going into Game 3 down 2-0 to a team. You look at it and try to solve problems that are happening and dont’ know if you can because you’ve played the best hockey you can. That’s certainly not been the case with our team, We can play better than we have played and that’s what we have to expect tomorrow…”.
When pressed about the Capitals needing to create better play in the offensive zone, Reirden emphasized the importance of being able to execute that effectively, saying, “To me, obviously we were able to score a couple of 5-on-5 goals last game, and we were able to make a move in the right direction in a few areas offensively, but it’s still not were it needs to be, and can be”.
On the Capitals dealing with frustration:
“I think [being] mentally focused for the entire game I think is important. It’s a combination of mentally and physically frustration is probably coming from, I would say for us, is we were disappointed in how our mental and physical focus was for 60 minutes. You expect more from the guy next to you and we expected more from our and know there is more from our team”.
Lastly, Reirden touched on the Capitals’ struggling power play, which has gone a combined 2-9 in the series:
“We were able to generate a couple goals out of Game 1 and create some offense. You leave with a bad feeling because of the shorthanded goal that ends up being the winner, but I think we did some better things in that game…For me it’s clean entries, it’s executions, and then it’s being able to deliver pucks to the net front. I think that’s where we really saw the impact Tom Wilson had in Game 1. How our set up’s going to be tomorrow, you know maybe differently, we’re going to be able to keep them on their heels and have them guessing a little bit, because obviously we have some dangerous players out there and on our roster that have had power play success for years and we have to get more power play opportunities than one or two per game…”.
SEE FULL INTERVIEW HERE
By Michael Fleetwood