DENVER | It was a third period – or at least 12 minutes and change – to forget for the Washington Capitals.
Sure, it was deflating to give up a goal to the Colorado Avalanche 54 seconds after Alexander Semin tied the score in the second period, but the Caps had a chance to regroup in the third period and didn’t do much.
In fact, Karl Alzner’s shot 2:15 was the last for a long while as a 12:08 drought sapped a lot of time out of the Caps’ comeback effort.
“It looked like they turned it up a notch. Usually a team with a lead likes to sit back a little bit and they kept going and we didn’t really have enough of an answer for it, I don’t think,” Alzner said. “They just stuck with their game plan. Their forecheck was good – tough to stop – and we weren’t just throwing the puck from any angles.
“I don’t think we established a very good cycle in the third period. I think it hurts us in the end.”
It was hard to explain how an offensively deep and talented team struggled to even get sustained pressure against a young and banged-up Avalanche group.
“Yeah,” Jeff Halpern said. “We didn’t get much going.”
The Avalanche were pressing on offense, like Alzner said, but they were taking up plenty of space in the neutral zone, too. That didn’t help.
“They were trapping more,” coach Dale Hunter said. “They backed up. It wasn’t as much forecheck you could get in there.”
Even when the Caps did put another shot on net later in the period and got some sustained pressure, they couldn’t break through.
“I think we missed the net maybe a few too many times,” forward Matt Hendricks said. “I don’t think we’re attacking the net as much as we can. When shots come from the point we need to really get into those tough areas to score goals.”