After a brief vacation in Florida, which included a proposal to girlfriend Caitlyn Duffy, Washington Capitals forward Anthony Mantha is now back in Detroit. In the 19 days since the end of his NHL season, Mantha has also found time to digest his brief time with the Capitals, which included his first postseason experience.
Mantha, who contributed just two assists and no goals and saw his ice time dwindle to a series-low 12:23 in Game 5 against the Bruins, wasn’t pleased with his postseason performance.
“I’m a little disappointed in myself, the way I played. But hopefully I can come back stronger next season and I’ll know what to expect,” said Mantha in an interview with the Detroit News.
“I went some games there at the end of the year when I didn’t score any goals. We had a couple of games that went into overtime in the series. If you score two goals, maybe you win those games.”
Even though he wasn’t pleased with his postseason performance, Mantha said he enjoyed playing in his first career postseason.
“All the excitement that goes with it, the continuous overtimes. You don’t want to make any mistakes. You’re trying to create something offensively. Just playing a couple of games will help out a lot in my future,” said Mantha.
“The fact we didn’t win was the only (negative). It’s fun, exciting, but at the end of the day you’re playing to win every playoff series. It didn’t go our way and so you look back and you’re real disappointed we didn’t get to advance.”
Even though Mantha’s time in the District has been brief, he knows their’s only one objective for the Capitals.
“They’ve been a powerhouse team for the last few years,” Mantha said. “The mindset is to try and go all the way and nothing less than that. It was hard this year as a team (not advancing further).”
On a more positive note, Mantha had nothing but positive things to say about his new teammates in Washington.
“The guys were so welcoming. I was playing the next day after I got traded, so I didn’t have any time to overthink what was going to happen. (After) getting there, it was just awesome. I couldn’t ask for anything better. They put me (on a line) with Back (Nicklas Backstrom) and (T.J.) Oshie. They’re all great players and it was so fun.”
Mantha has been a bit in awe when he’s on the ice with Alex Ovechkin, as he’s stated in previous interviews. He know’s feeding Ovi is a new job requirement.
“Playing with Ovi, I wanted to give him the puck every time, he’s such a great shooter. “You just give it to him and he’s putting it in the back of the net. But sometimes, the play isn’t there and you’re still trying it,” said Mantha.
Mantha has also been impressed with Nicklas Backstrom.
“Playing with Backstrom, it’s the same thing as playing with Z (Henrik Zetterberg) in his last couple years in Detroit. Both of them slow the game down and are such great passers, so you’re trying to get open when you play with them.”
Mantha expects to be in his hometown of Montreal for several weeks, then return to Detroit for the remainder of the summer.
By Jon Sorensen