We should all rejoice that the Washington Capitals stole a point against the Detroit Red Wings Sunday evening, because the team’s second period was horribad (a combination of both horrible and bad).
Here’s a small list.
During the second period, the Caps were:
The shot-attempt chart through two periods was ugly.
Almost every Capital player was deeply underwater in shot attempts.
it’s probably worth noting that the Red Wings are a very bad hockey team this season, and they’re mopping the floor with the ceps pic.twitter.com/RGKcDh5Ma5
— RMNB (@russianmachine) February 11, 2018
As Peter articulated in his recap, “it would be charitable to consider this professional hockey.”
The letdown period makes even less sense when you compare each team in the standings. Not to be bombastic or oversimplify, but the Caps are kinda good and the Red Wings are pretty bad.
Detroit scored three goals in the final three minutes and seven seconds of the second period. The Capitals left Braden Holtby on a metaphorical deserted island to fend for himself.
The Red Wings first got on the board on a 3-on-2 odd-man break. Evgeny Kuznetsov did not get mark Luke Glendening, leaving Braden Holtby helpless on the rebound.
Nine seconds later: oh nooooOOOooooOOOO. Matt Niskanen had his stick lifted by Henrik Zetterberg and turned the puck over. Zetterberg found Mantha wide open in front of the net for another goal. The normally responsible Niskanen also turned the puck over on the Red Wings first goal of the game by Justin Abdelkader.
With 11 seconds left in the stanza, the Caps gave up one final goal to go down 4-1. Veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik turned the puck over in the offensive zone, leaving Christian Djoos and himself to defend another 3-on-2 odd-man break. Djoos and Orpik were passive on defense, allowing Tatar a wide open shot from the slot.
According to Barry Trotz, the players sussed things out during the second intermission and a peeved Braden Holtby spoke up.
“Actually, I give a lot of credit to Braden,” Trotz said. “Braden was upset and rightfully so. We left him out to dry. I think he was the difference from it getting any worse.
“I thought Holts played a real strong game for us and he gave up five goals,” Trotz continued. “That’s on the group. That’s on the staff, everybody. We have to put as much pride in keeping pucks out of our net as scoring right now.”
The Caps fourth line — consisting of Jay Beagle, Devante Smith-Pelly, and Brett Connolly — was arguably the team’s best trio in the final period, leading the comeback.
“A lot was said [in the locker room]. It’s not good enough,” Jay Beagle said. We’ve been leaving our goalie out to dry a lot lately. They’ve been holding us in [games] and getting us wins. [The bad D] is starting to show now. We have to tighten down more in our D-zone and watch the odd-man rushes. It’s been something that we’ve been looking at. Third period’s how we have to play.”
The Caps would tie in the final minute of the third period after goals by Connolly, Dmitry Orlov, and Nicklas Backstrom.
“[The] second period, we didn’t really match their push,” Jay Beagle said. “We definitely came out in the third and were playing angry. We played our game there and that’s what we want to see all sixty.
Backstrom was even more blunt.
“Honestly, second period, we couldn’t even got out of our own zone,” he said. “Execution, playing quick, stuff like that. Not good enough.
“We gotta change our starts,” Backstrom continued. “We’ve got to be able to put together 60 minutes night in, night out. We can’t just play good 20, play bad for 60, stuff like that. We’ve got to look for consistency here. That’s how we’re going to make us successful in the future. That’s something we’ve got to be better at.”
The Capitals were happy to get a point for losing in overtime, but the stinky 20 minutes of play left a bad taste in their mouth.
“[I was] angry about the second period,” Trotz concluded. “They were winning the races. They were quicker. They were playing better. They were more determined, desperate. I thought we had some poor play. We couldn’t get anything sustained. I thought we were lax in some of our coverages in terms of coming back. We were almost there. Almost is not good enough. This league tests you way too much to take any periods off.”
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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