The Washington Times - October 30, 2011, 03:03PM

VANCOUVER | Unprompted, Bruce Boudreau was particularly displeased with one element of the Capitals’ 7-4 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.

Asked about how the big-picture view of the team after the defeat, the Caps’ coach pointed out one particular area of concern.

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“It’s one out of 82 and we didn’t play well. The thing that has to get better is our penalty killing, which was very good last year is really not very good right now,” he said. “And we have to correct that. It’s put us in the hole – both games that we’ve lost it’s put us in a hole.

“The games that we’ve won, we’ve still allowed PK goals. We’ve got to shore that up. We shore that up and I think a lot of other things will take care of itself.”

In the past two games (since someonewrote about the success of aggressive forwards on the penalty kill) the Caps have allowed four opposing power-play goals on 13 chances. It’s a small sample size but an anemic 69.2 percent success rate.

Against the Oilers, the Caps were whistled for seven consecutive minor penalties, and they followed that performance with a less-than-disciplined effort Saturday night.

“The same story as last game – we got ourselves into penalty trouble and we were playing catchup the whole game,” winger Troy Brouwer said.

One problem may be the energy it takes to kill penalties, taxing the likes of Brooks Laich, Karl Alzner and Tomas Vokoun. In the past two games, the Caps were shorthanded for 18:09.

Vokoun, who allowed all four power-play goals in Edmonton and Vancouver, lamented the Caps taking so many penalties.

“My job is stop the puck and I’m not worried about other people’s responsibility,” he said. “Obviously we don’t want to take as many penalties as we are, especially some of them are in offensive zone.”

Alexander Semin (hooking) and Alex Ovechkin (interference) were both guilty of that Saturday at the Canucks.

Boudreau thought the call on Ovechkin was a bad one, citing “incidental contact,” but overall he wasn’t happy with the lack of discipline.

“The three penalties in the first period all could’ve been prevented – lazy penalties,” he said. “Hooking – you make a mistake and you compound it by taking a penalty.”

And compound that by struggling on the penalty kill.