On Tuesday, Washington Capitals center Nic Dowd spoke to the media following today’s practice at Medstar Capitals Iceplex. He discussed the last couple of off days for the team, how important these next few weeks will be in the home stretch of the season, the Capitals’ second-period success, and the outstanding fourth line.
Dowd said the Capitals were “very aware” of the teams within the East Divison. He mentioned the “dynamic is shifting every night with every game.” “We’re going to cram a whole bunch of games here in the next month, which are going to be really important,” Dowd said, adding the team isn’t focused on the length of the season, but “inside these games” and how critical getting two points at the end of the night are.
The team has had a few days off before they get back to work on Thursday hosting the New Jersey Devils (7 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington+). Dowd said during these off days he makes sure to “take care of the body and try to eat well and get some sleep”.
“It’s not one of those things where’s it’s like ‘Oh, we’re two days off. Let’s have as many beers as we can and eat like crap and not get any sleep’…I’m sure a lot of guys took advantage of the sleep and spent a lot of time with their family. That’s definitely what I did.”
Dowd also mentioned how “turning your mind off on a game day” has been an “interesting dynamic this year.” With a majority of games every other day, Dowd said the off day is usually set for “recovery”, practice, or travel. “I think the biggest thing is just mentally having to turn that on like every other day…it was nice to not have to do that for a couple of days.”
The Capitals have scored the most goals in the second period (+14 rating) over their opponents. They were dominating in the final twenty minutes of play earlier in the season. That success has dwindled in recent weeks as the Capitals have or nearly blown leads. Dowd admitted they have “taken our foot off the gas a bit”.
“Maybe guys need to be challenged…I think without a fan base sometimes it’s a little challenging for all the guys across the league to wrap their heads around a start…I can’t really point to any one thing why we have great second periods.”
Dowd had nothing but good words when it came to the Capitals’ fourth line composed of himself and forwards Carl Hagelin and Garnet Hathaway, saying they “enjoy playing together.” “I think we’ve been fortunate enough to have such good chemistry and be given such responsibility that we’ve made it very tough on Lavi to switch anything up and that’s good on us…he’s given us that opportunity to do that.”
By Della Young