The Washington Capitals‘ offense generated plenty of chances tonight against the Ottawa Senators. The issue was they were completely and frustratingly snake-bitten around the net, lost without the services of their captain, Alexander Ovechkin.
The Senators played a solid game, but probably did not feel too challenged by the Capitals for a large percentage of the game. Though Washington outshot the Senators, they were not able to convert. There were a few times where I felt that the net was partially empty, or a save would be tough to make, but the Capitals seemed to miss the net each and every time.
It was a frustrating game to watch. I am not trying to take any credit away from Craig Anderson, who played a smart and aggressive game in goal for Ottawa, but at the same time, I cannot help but wonder whether Washington has any offense lately outside of Ovechkin. The Capitals are looking completely overwhelmed by other teams lately, and are starting to falter at the wrong time in the season, as other teams in the Metro Division are shooting up the standings to displace them.
I cannot say enough about the lack of fight that I thought the Capitals showed (or didn’t show) throughout this game. It is not enough to simply get shots on goal and try to create fancy chances through passing. They have to be willing to do the dirty work, deflect pucks and take difficult shots in order to generate more offense.
Their creativity on offense, and their speed, has seemingly disappeared. For a team that normally has an identity as a high-flying offense, they did not seem to have any of that tonight. The perception of this team around the league is changing as we speak, and teams know that some solid puck possession and a few bad goals have been beating Washington lately.
The Capitals also ruined a mostly solid return performance by Braden Holtby, who made 24 saves.