The Washington Capitals have made the playoffs for five straight campaigns, but that streak is in serious jeopardy of ending this season.
Washington collapsed under the weight of the Penguins’ attack in the second period. During that frame, Pittsburgh fired a staggering 18 shots, capitalized on all three of its power-play opportunities, and five different Penguins’ found the back of the net.
Capitals coach Adam Oates, with the season already slipping away, was quick to pull goaltender Michal Neuvirth in favor of Braden Holtby, but that didn’t slow his team’s downfall. Alex Ovechkin’s efforts were equally ineffective, although he did end up with a goal and an assist in Washington’s 5-2 loss.
“We weren’t ready to play,” Capitals forward Troy Brouwer said simply, according to the Washington Times’ Stephen Whyno.
Capitals captain Ovechkin appeared to be disgusted when it was time for his post-game press conference. He kept his answers brief for the most part and backed Brouwer’s assessment, based on the Washingon Times’ report.
Ovechkin added that the Capitals need to play with more emotion.
“We can play like that, we can start play like, we get a lead and, you know, we stop playing,” Ovechkin said. “Second period, stupid penalties. I don’t know.”
When asked how upset he was that he didn’t start the game, Ovechkin answered, “Angry enough.”
The Capitals are dead last in the NHL with a 2-8-1 record. That represents just under a quarter of the shortened season gone with very little to show for it.