The Washington Capitals fell to the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 on Tuesday. The loss was the team’s fifth consecutive in regulation – a lowly streak not matched in the Ovi Era since January 2014.
The loss allowed the Red Wings to leapfrog the Capitals in the wild card standings and further pushed the Capitals out of playoff contention — they now sit 11th in the East — as the NHL trade deadline rapidly approaches.
After the game, Nic Dowd, who played his first game in nearly a month (January 16), admitted the Capitals are feeling the pressure and bad vibes. They have become a grumpy bunch.
“I mean I think everything’s magnified,” Dowd said. “You know, I think practice is magnified, little things off the ice are magnified. Guys are grumpy, right? We haven’t dealt with a lot of that since I’ve been here because we’ve been winning a lot of hockey games, but yeah. We’re pressing, pressing, pressing, and then, you know, you hate to see it right? You make one mistake or somebody makes a mistake, or they get a bounce and it’s in the back of your net, and, you know, it’s a little deflating at times, right?
“I think we pushed pretty hard tonight, and guys did the right things and played the right way, and, I mean, goddamn, we had so many pucks that were sitting right in the crease and on the goal line and you’re kind of thinking, like, ‘Can we not get a bounce here?’ I think everything’s magnified at this point in the season, where we are in the standings, everything.”
Defenseman Nick Jensen, whose poor pass in front of the net led directly to Pius Suter’s third-period goal, observed that, “I know confidence for some, a lot of guys, might be an issue right now.”
But Jensen countered, “You can’t quit. That’s what frustration tries to do to you. It tries to break you and make you quit.”
Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette was proud of his team for having a better effort than they did for the Stadium Series game, but it wasn’t much of an endorsement. “Anything would have been better than the previous game, that was not good,” Laviolette said.
“The guys had the right intentions,” Laviolette said. “There’s no question that there’s a couple of guys, you can see when they come back to the bench they take their shot or they make their play and it doesn’t happen and you can see their frustration.”
The Capitals practice on Wednesday and their next game is on Thursday against the Anaheim Ducks, who are the worst team in the league with 41 points.
“Something’s got to change,” Jensen concluded.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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