The Washington Capitals’ loss in Montreal on Thursday felt like a failed attempt to defray the Canadiens’ comeback attempt, but that wasn’t it. The Canadiens controlled play for most of the hour and successfully exploited the Capitals’ defensive problems throughout. The Habs had already earned the win with their effort; they just had to wait for Braden Holtby’s goaltending to falter. And falter it did in the final minute of regulation, ending the Caps’ fruitless effort to win two games in a row and reigniting concern about Washington’s spotty defense in the 2018-19 season.
From our comments, you might think that Caps’ defensive problems are new and caused by the coaching change:
I’m not impressed with [new coach Todd] Reirden now and wasn’t excited about him taking over. He has the exact same defense corps as last season and it looks/feels worse.
I will support the team win or lose but we are looking way too bad considering our personnel for me to not consider the coaching to be an issue.
Without [former coach Barry] Trotz they look like the team they were before Trotz. I thought letting one of the better coaches in the NHL leave, after he won you a Cup, no less, was stupid at the time – looking even worse now.
This is wrong. If anything, the Caps’ team defense is probably a bit better than it was last season, but considering how last season ended it’s very easy to forget that fact.