The Washington Capitals suffered their seventh loss in nine games Thursday night, falling to the St. Louis Blues 5-4 in a shootout at Enterprise Center. Despite the loss dropping Washington’s record to 7-9-3 this season, the team is still feeling optimistic but realizing they need to “carry that fire” and “not [chase] games so much.”
It was all Blues in the first period, holding a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes. “The last few—our starts have not been good enough,” left-wing Conor Sheary said postgame. “If we are not chasing games so much maybe we can play a full sixty and get to our game more often. I think it is a good sign we are clawing our way back into games. We dominated the shot total the second half of the game.”
Sheary explained more on the “clawing back,” saying, “We started skating, getting pucks behind them…just establish our forecheck. I think our zone time was really good in the second and third…It’s a good point, but we’re obviously frustrated that we’re not getting wins right now.”
Captain Alex Ovechkin noted that if the Capitals “play the same way we played the last two periods, we are going to get results right away.” Washington dominated shot attempts 19-6 in the second period and led 36-18 after 40 minutes. In the final frame, the Capitals limited St. Louis to three shots on goal, the fewest shots they have allowed in a single period this season. They once again controlled possession, leading in shot attempts 25-9 in the third period and 61-27 for the game.
“Sometimes these spells happen where it just doesn’t go our way at certain times, ” defenseman John Carlson said, adding, “Seems like we deserve it sometimes and sometimes we don’t, but regardless of that, we’ve got to play a better game to win.”
Carlson also echoed Sheary’s concerns about how the team starts, calling the issue “not a recipe for success.” “I think we definitely deserved a lot better fate tonight, but we got to carry that fire that we brought into the next game and play a little bit better and get us over that hump.”
Head coach Peter Laviolette said, “We didn’t press enough offensively and I think we gave up that much defensively, but we gotta push more from the start. I don’t think we brought enough pucks to the net, we didn’t bring enough people to the net…I thought after the first [period], we got going.”
“We can’t rely on two periods. We gotta make sure the sixty minutes, three periods, are good enough to be successful…we didn’t generate nearly what we did in the second and third periods.”
The Capitals will look for a better start Saturday night, hosting the defending Stanley Cup Champion Colorado Avalanche at Capital One Arena. NBC Sports Washington will have the coverage beginning at 7 PM ET.
By Della Young