The Washington Capitals have just one win in six games following a 6-5 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday night.
Washington had a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes, but slowly saw the visiting Coyotes chip away at it scoring five unanswered goals to take a 6-3 lead late in the third period.
Coach Barry Trotz has seen enough.
“The behavior has to change,” said Trotz. “We’ve done this multiple times. We took a lot of penalties, we turned a lot of pucks over. It’s the same old story and it’s too old for me.”
The Coyotes converted on 2 of 6 power play opportunities and out-shot the Capitals 24-21 through 40 minutes.
Following the game, the Capitals held a 20-minute, players’ only meeting at the Verizon Center before the doors were opened to the media.
“That behavior has to change or we have to change people. Plain and simple,” continued Trotz. “To me it’s absolutely unacceptable. They have to fix it. It’s my job to fix the behavior. If they’re not going to fix it internally, then I’ll make sure I fix it.”
Alex Ovechkin led the way offensively for the Capitals with a goal and three assists. He is now tied with Peter Bondra for first place on the Capitals’ franchise points list (825).
“I think we had a great [first] period,” Ovechkin said. “After that we just stopped playing like we’re supposed to play. It’s all our fault. It’s not about the system. We made bad decisions with the puck, we made bad penalties and it cost us.”
Ovechkin also picked up two minor penalties in the loss.
“We have to work harder,” said Troy Brouwer, who had a goal in the loss. “We’ve got to work smarter. It’s not one or two guys; it’s collectively every guy in here that needs to be better. It’s not something that is going to change tonight or change tomorrow. We’ve got to work at it and be on guys to make sure they are giving their best every night and that’s the only way we’ll get better.”
Arizona entered Sunday’s game with just one win their previous six games, an overtime win over Florida.
Antoine Vermette opened the scoring with his second of the season in the first period. After Tom Wilson, John Carlson and Ovechkin had given Washington a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes, the Capitals proceeded to take five second period penalties.
Michael Stone and Shane Doan had second period goals to tie the game 3-3 after two periods.
Sam Gagner picked up his first as a member of the Coyotes, Doan scored his second of the night and rookie Tobias Rieder scored third period goals to give Arizona a commanding 6-3 lead with less than five minutes remaining in the third.
Joel Ward and Brouwer scored in the final two minutes, but the Caps could not get the equalizer.
“The commitment level has to be a little better than it is now in a lot of different areas,” said defenseman Brooks Orpik. “We have guys making mistakes that experienced guys shouldn’t make.
“Right now one guy makes a mistake and everybody else kind of watches it happen.”
Devan Dubnyk made 32 saves to improve to 2-0-1 on the season while Justin Peters made 24 saves in the loss.