The Washington Capitals have hit a wall heading into the All-Star Break. The reigning Cup champions have dropped the last 7 games in a row, with each loss coming in a frustrating fashion.
First was a 1-2 OT loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on January 12th, not a big deal just shake it off for next game.
On January 14th came a 1-4 loss to the St. Louis Blues, still tough but it could be worse. The next day on the 15th was a painful 2-7 loss to the Nashville Predators who are 2nd in the Central Division so the defeat is painful but at least it was a good team.
On January 22nd came the most heart wrenching loss of all, the Caps held the lead against the San Jose Sharks for most of the 3rd period until the Evander Kane scored a goal with 1 second left and pushed the game into overtime where the Sharks came out victorious, 6-7.
The last loss came at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs on January 23rd at 3-6, sending the Caps into the All-Star Break and Bye Week at a 7 game losing skid.
In that time, the Caps allowed 36 goals and scored a meager 18 goals for themselves. The team wracked up 73 Penalty minutes and allowed 6 power play goals from the opposing team, meanwhile of the 15 power play opportunities they had, the team only scored on 4 of them.
Moving forward, the defense is going to have to figure out what’s not working. Their tight defense has fallen apart in front of goaltender Braden Holtby, who is having some issues of his own. Jeremy Roenick, now an analyst for NBCSports, had a few words to say about the Capital’s defense following their loss to the Sharks:
“When you’re on a five-game losing streak, you’re supposed to tighten it up. Throw the puck into the corners. Start getting into your forecheck. Start grinding the puck. Start playing stronger defense.” (x)
Despite the recent tank in games, the Caps are still in with 60 points and a record of 27-17-6.
The only problem is that coming back from the All-Star Break, it’s going to be very hard for the team to break this streak without their best player. If you have been living under a rock, Caps captain Alex Ovechkin is suspended for one game due to the fact that he is choosing to miss the All-Star game. Ovi had to pick between skipping the last game before break (January 23rd against the Maple Leafs) or the one right after (February 1st against Calgary), and as you can see Ovi picked to miss the Calgary game.
Ovechkin has 57 points (G:37 A:20) in 50 games with a +9 rating. Leading his team in goals and points, the captain was quick to stop any questions on the skid with a swift “It’s done.” Seems like the Russian machine won’t let this streak hit 8, even if he’s not on the ice.
Featured Image: NHL.com