Are the third period Caps going to be the ones playing in
the playoffs? It is great for them to come from behind and win games by 1 goal
as they try to motivate themselves to finish the regular season, but coming
from behind is harder in the playoffs.
The Caps lead their division by 18-points in the standings
with 14 games left and they play like it. They give up the first goal with
stunning regularity, leading games after the first period just twice in their
last 22 games. Then, they play well enough in the third period or during the overtime
period or the shootout to come back and win the game most of the time.
The comeback did not work out so well against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night when the
Caps lost by three goals. The concern is that the slow starts become an
ingrained habit that is not so easy to shake once the playoffs start.
are giving the Caps everything they have got, as is natural when they are
playing against the top team in the league. But, effort level of the opponent
goes up in the playoffs, not down, so the Caps need to weather the barrages
better. The intensity level will continue to increase.
The relentless schedule of games, made worse by two make up
games due to the Washington D.C. blizzard the weekend of January 22, 2016, has
not helped. The Caps have had 5-6 games in hand on most teams in the league
until the 7 games in 12 days spurt that ended in San Jose.
The nagging injuries, including Alex Ovechkin’s are also worrying, particularly, as he goes into a
5-game goal scoring slump. John Carlson
is skating and is expected to be back on the ice towards the end of March, but
he has been out more than in this season. New players have jointed the Caps in former
Toronto Maple Leafs Daniel Winnik and former Buffalo Sabre Mike Weber. Injuries
and new line mates messes up the chemistry and takes time to mesh.
Coach Barry Trotz mixes
up the line when things get stale and the Caps play too cute so the expectation
is that will continue versus the Carolina
Hurricanes tomorrow. That game will give the Caps, new lines or not, another
opportunity to score first, for a change, and come back from an overall mini performance
slump. One month left…
Let’s go Caps!
Labels: Alex Ovechkin, barry trotz, NHL, San Jose Sharks, Washington Capitals