Friday night’s game against the New Jersey Devils provided a great opportunity for the Washington Capitals. Washington, a team that went in 0-3, was looking to capture their first win at a time where momentum was desperately needed. Although they were facing Martin Brodeur, head coach Adam Oates headed into New Jersey very confident.
That confidence soon vanished as the Capitals offense put on yet another poor performance. Though the score was close, the game had never really swung in the Caps favor. The first goal did not come until there was 7:15 left in regulation, and it was on a 5 on 3 advantage. Mike Ribero received a pass from Joel Ward and got the Capitals on the board while they were two men up.
The significant part of that play, was that it summed up what the seldom Capital scoring has been like through four games. Washington only has five even strength goals and any offense that is on the ice has been basically non-existent. The lack of creative plays and breakout opportunities just haven’t been there.
The key to the Capitals success going forward will definitely be the presence of players in front of the net. Screening the goalie is something that must be done if the Caps want to strike the back of the netting. Take the first game against the Tampa Bay Lightning for example; when they crashed the net, Joel Ward went on to score two goals, and kept the Capitals in the game.
Starting the season 0-3-1 is never a great recipe for success, but if Coach Oates can get his team with better strategy, brighter times are ahead!