The Boston Bruins pummeled the Washington Capitals 7-3 on Monday, scoring six unanswered goals in a span of 14:35 between the first and second periods. The loss was the Capitals’ fourth straight and their third in four nights.
With all those L’s, the Capitals were not their normal smiley selves at their hour-long practice on Tuesday as the team has fallen to third place in the Metropolitan Division. Division-leading Carolina has played four fewer games than the Caps.
“I think everybody’s probably grumpy,” Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette said after the skate. “People hate losing. The players hate losing. I don’t think anybody’s in a great mood today, but we had work to do.”
According to Laviolette, the team worked on its struggling 29th ranked power play and league-worst 3-on-3 unit (9 OT losses). It also did shootout drills.
“We worked on staying connected on the other side of the ice,” Laviolette added. “I thought we got too far stretched out from each other last night standing around 100 feet apart from each other.”
The spacing issue was a familiar theme when the players tried to explain the beatdown by the Bruins on Monday night.
“I think we started the game well,” Nic Dowd said. “Shears made two really good individual plays to put himself in spots and got us out to an early lead. I think honestly up until the first period until we took our first penalty, I took a double-minor, and I think they made a soft call on Carlson there — I mean that happens 100 times a game where guys get pushed around in front of the net especially to the point where they make it a 5-on-3. It’s 2-2 at that point. Then I think we got stretched out. We’re looking for a little bit more offense and opened it up (too much) to a team that’s really consistent and smart and defense-first type of style.”
“Attention to detail,” Conor Sheary pointed out. “Forwards need to work back to help our defensemen out on breakouts and stuff like that. I feel like, we’re getting stretched out. Those long passes often lead to turnovers and odd-man rushes. I think that’s where they got most of their offense tonight. I feel like they had five 2-on-1’s in that second period and they capitalized on a few of them. I think just staying connected. I think we have to get back to our game plan.”
Dowd was asked to reflect on the four-game losing streak: a 4-3 OT loss to the Devils, a 5-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Wild, and Monday’s 7-3 loss to the B’s.
“We’re losing games in all types of styles rights now,” Dowd remarked. “I’m not going to say it’s one thing or another. We’re up and down. We’re losing in overtime.”
The Capitals will now have four days off before having back-to-back matinee 2pm games this weekend against the Islanders and Canucks.
“It is what it is,” Laviolette said. “Whether we want it or not, we’ve got to make the most of it. Sometimes you play a lot of games in a short period of time. Sometimes there are stretches where you don’t play that much. This is just where we’re at right now. We’ve got to do our best to make the most of it.”
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