The surprising slump to start the Washington Capitals season continued on Thursday night when they were unable to get a win on the road against a Toronto Maple Leafs team that had not yet won on its own home ice.
This was the second game this week where the Capitals gave up a third period lead and are now 1-5-1 on the season. Alex Ovechkin finally found the net for just his second goal of the year, but there needs to be more from the team if they want to get back to the top of the East. As it is they drop to last place behind the Florida Panthers who got their second win of the season on Thursday night.
The Capitals new coach Adam Oates calls for patience reminding everyone that Washington’s season is is just seven games old. This may be true, but the with the schedule shortened by the lockout, there may be a bit of added pressure to get the job done earlier. There is not as much time for a team to fall behind early in the year and then have to fight their way back into the playoffs.
Whatever Oates has to do to get the Capitals on track, he will need to do it soon. Thursday’s game would not have even been close had it not been for a superb night in goal for Michal Nuevirth, who had 38 saves and withstood 7-of-8 Toronto power play opportunities. Washington can not lean on that type of performance every night, and when they do get that type of effort, the team needs to reward their goal by putting the puck in the opposite goal.
Oates is right, the season is young, but Washington needs to get on track quickly, or they will see 2013 slip away before they get a chance to get going.
Jeff Everette is a Featured Columnist for RantSports.com, covering the NFL and NBA. Follow Jeff on twitter @jeverettesports, like his page on FaceBook, or add his Google + to your circles for all of his latest articles, thoughts, and rants.