The Washington Capitals have a 1-2-0 record to start the season and currently sit dead last in the Metropolitan Division. The team has been out-scored 12 to 4 in those games and have trailed 122:42 of 185 possible minutes.
Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has just one assist to start the year and has gone shotless two games in a row for the very first time in his career. Ovi met with assembled media after practice in Montreal on Friday to talk about his and the team’s slow start.
“It’s up to us … We, players, have to create, especially in the offensive zone and through the neutral zone.”
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) October 20, 2023
“I think [we need to] find a way to scoring goals,” Ovechkin said. “Obviously, right now we struggling a little bit. It’s up to us. We know the system. We players have to create, especially in the offensive zone and through the neutral zone.”
From a more personal standpoint, Ovechkin didn’t seem too concerned about his personal struggles getting the puck on net.
“Everything happen for the first time, you know?” Ovechkin said. “As a player you want to shoot, you want to score, you want to create moments for your teammates and for yourself but, as I said, everything happens once.”
Through the first three games at five-on-five, Ovechkin sits tied for 10th on the team in individual scoring chances and tied for 11th in individual high-danger chances. That comes despite playing the most minutes (41:43) of any forward on the team.
The Great Eight was asked if he was personally happy with the amount of touches he’s seeing in dangerous areas on the ice.
“No, not really,” Ovechkin said. “If I would say how I’m playing, I’m not happy with my game. And, I think you can see overall as a team. Sometimes we play good but most of time it’s kind of battling out there.”
The Capitals as a team rank towards the bottom of the league in all of the important five-on-five process stats. They are 31st in shot attempt percentage (38.9%), 29th in expected goals for percentage (39.6%), 26th in scoring chance for percentage (46.1%), and 29th in high-danger chance for percentage (38.1%).
Spencer Carbery has brought new energy to the team but also a completely brand new system. Ovechkin doesn’t believe the latter should take blame for the team’s poor performance though.
“I think we had a very good Training Camp,” Ovechkin said. “We feel good but when the season starts you can see something missing. That’s why as a leader I have to lead the way.”
To try and spark some offense from his top line, Carbery lined up current team-leading scorer Matthew Phillips with Ovechkin and Dylan Strome at Friday’s skate.
“He shows he’s a very skilled player,” Ovechkin said. “I hope he’s going to work. We’ll see tomorrow.”
The Capitals will take on the Canadiens on the road in Montreal on Saturday night. Puck drop is at 7 pm.
Screenshot via @Capitals/X
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