When the buzzer sounded at PPG Paints Arena on Wednesday night, the Washington Capitals made their way back to the locker room. The Pittsburgh Penguins had beaten them 3-2, putting them on the brink of elimination in the second round.
Inside the locker room, the Capitals gave trite answers to reporters about never giving up on a series and how the team could play better. There was one issue with this company line: the Capitals had played well enough to win. They’ve done it in all four games that have been played against Pittsburgh yet trail in the best-of-seven series 3-1. On Wednesday, Washington outshot Pittsburgh a remarkable 38-18.
The Capitals are now going to be staring the end of their season in the face on Saturday night at Verizon Center. After dropping Game Four by a close margin, the Caps began searching for something to blame. Like every other game in this series, their criticisms were self-directed.
“I would say I didn’t play my game at all tonight,” Alex Ovechkin told reporters. “I think me personally have to play much better.”
“I think I didn’t control the puck well and make stupid decisions,” he added.