Although it is not old news that the Washington Capitals have never had a completely successful start of an NHL season, is there more to be said about the now 2-5-0 Caps who are struggling to get by in the newly created Metropolitan Division?
For the past six years, the Washington Capitals have topped the charts with some of the most talented players from around the globe, but for whatever reason, the team has not been able to match their success with what the individuals are capable of. Whether it is the “game 7 curse,” the mass attention to detail, or just being an overall young team, the Capitals have not been able to play to their full potential.
Here is some of my top reasons to why the Capitals have got off to such a rocky start.
Number One: If key players are converting, why is it not bringing home the “W?”
To no surprise, the most common error the Capitals make during regular season or postseason is often key players and not performing like they are expected to. Similar to the case of Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Ovechkin in last season’s playoffs, but this time the tables are turned. With Ovechkin leading the NHL for goals and Backstrom with 7 assists so far, why do the Caps still boast a losing record? The problem? Key players are performing well, but not at the right times. For example, It does no good for your top goal scorer to score when you are down by four in the third period. In order for the Caps to start heading in the right direction you have to get the goals when they are needed.
Number Two: First period woes.
The passes that aren’t connecting, failed attempts to gain control in the offensive zone, or the general appearance of disorganization, the Capitals are not good in the first period. Putting aside the fact that there is more than just one period in a game it begins to come even more difficult for a team to play “catch -up” when talking about score along with momentum. The Capitals have already allowed 9 goals in the first period alone this season thus far, which is tied with the Buffalo Sabres for the second worst in the NHL. Coach Adam Oates even said it himself, “we’ve got to figure out a way to just be focused earlier,” but it may take a little bit more than just focusing to win.
Number Three: Defense.
This has been one of the major struggles the Capitals have faced for the past seven or so seasons, defense that doesn’t defend. Sounds quite odd to say but it’s true. Although Washington has most definitely struggled to produce offensively through the first seven games this season, the lack of goals can be rooted back to one of the largest problems the Caps have, poor defensive-zone plays. “We want to have possession, we want to be an offensive team, we have a lot of firepower, but we’re focusing a little bit too much on the offense, I think, sometimes, and we forget about getting out of our zone first,” Karl Alzner said. “What’s the old cliché? Defense wins championships? Right now, we’re trying to win with just offense.” There is simply no reason why Washington shouldn’t be attempting to move the puck up the ice in any way they can, even if it’s not a perfect play.
This is in no way, shape, or form meaning that the Capitals will miss the playoffs or will struggle like this all year long. They are only seven games into an eighty-two game season and there is more than enough time for them to make a complete one-eighty in the right direction. And if you can’t remember, the Caps have had several losing streaks throughout the years. One of the most memorable ones being the 0-6-2 run in December of 2010 which the Caps went on to place first in their Conference. You get the idea, the Capitals are not out of a playoff shot yet but…
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