It’s happening again. For the second season in a row, the Washington Capitals are limping out of the gate.
They suffered a 5-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche last night to drop to 1-4-0 this season, but there doesn’t seem to be a consensus as to what the problem is.
Ask the players, and they’ll put into question their own work ethic.
“It’s about wanting to win,” Troy Brouwer told CSN Washington. “That’s all it comes down to. Our talent level’s there. Our effort’s not.”
Brouwer’s statement wasn’t out of sync with what some of his teammates are saying, but Capitals coach Adam Oates has a different theory.
“We had 19 shots in the second period alone,” Oates said. “There were moments we made mistakes, but I didn’t see effort being a problem. I saw mistakes.”
They did outshoot the Avalanche 40-28 on Saturday, but hit a brick wall in their former goaltender, Semyon Varlamov.
Offense has been an unusual problem for Washington over its last few games and Alex Ovechkin is the only Capitals player that can seem to find the back of the net with any degree of consistency. Oates is going to look at shaking up the team’s lines as they get ready for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Mike Babcock’s reign with the Detroit Red Wings ended in another first-round defeat, yet it may be lost in time just how close that series was.
Yes, the Tampa Bay Lightning shut down the Red Wings to win Game 7 at home, but Ben Bishop deserves a ton of the credit. The Red Wings snagged the puck for much of the contest, just not enough to beat the big goalie.
While change is in the air in Detroit, the Bolts are largely the same squad that generated a nice showing in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. We’ll get to see if the Red Wings gain a measure of revenge on NBCSN tonight, with home-ice advantage this time around.
Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.
It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.
“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”
Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.
Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.
Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.
“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”