Thanks to a third period marker from Nicklas Backstrom, the Capitals managed to force extra time in this afternoon’s game against the New York Islanders, but it took captain John Tavares just 15 seconds of overtime to make Backstrom and Washington’s efforts moot.
That has to be frustrating, but Washington can’t afford to get frustrated.
“We need to forget this one and understand what we need to do to be successful in the next one,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz told CSN Washington.
“We know the environment; we know the opposition. We’ll probably make a couple of subtle changes and go back at it. We’ll pout about it for an hour and let it go and have positive thoughts going forward.”
Washington is now down 2-1 in the series, so naturally another loss on Tuesday would push the Capitals to the brink. The pressure is on Alex Ovechkin in particular after the Islanders managed to limit him to three shots on goal Sunday. Special teams are another big X-factor given that the squads are a combined 1-for-12 with the man advantage in this series. The power play is particularly important for Washington given that it was one of its main strengths in the regular season.
On the plus side, Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby returned from an illness and stopped 40 of 42 shots.
“He was square to the puck,” Trotz said. “They were putting pucks on him from everywhere. He responded well. He looked sharp.”
Washington is in a difficult position, but it certainly has reasons to believe it can bounce back.