NASHVILLE, Tenn. | It wasn’t that the Capitals lost Wednesday night. It’s still the preseason, after all.
But the way they lost – with defensive foul-ups and offensive stagnation – was enough to make Bruce Boudreau noticeably agitated.
“There’s some good teaching material in there. They’re getting their goals from right in front of the net. It’s losing your man and not having your head on a swivel and leaving the zone too early,” the coach said. “It was a combination. It wasn’t the kids that were out there when all these goals were scored, either.”
Look at the goals the Predators scored on Wednesday night in their 4-1 win, and it wasn’t a good night for Mike Green and Jeff Schultz in particular, and a little bit of John Carlson.
Green and Schultz were out there for two goals and got crossed up.
“The two times that we were on the ice for the goals, both times we were switched up on each other’s sides,” said Green, who held court after the loss. “I remember we used to never do that, and we never had a problem.”
For Carlson and Karl Alzner, it was a matter of communication.
“Obviously some of the goals that they scored we were in the wrong position, we weren’t getting back deep enough and not talking enough, I guess,” Alzner said in a one-on-one interview. “It was the same thing the last time we played these guys: two turnovers and two goals. It’s all stuff that we did wrong tonight, and they capitalized on their chances.”
The lack of offensive production also caused some Boudreau scorn afterward.
“We had four shots, I think, in the second period,” he said. “When you’re looking for the perfect shot and maybe guys that are used to scoring that haven’t scored in preseason are looking for the perfect play. But that’s not the way you get goals: You get goals by going to the net and shooting pucks and eventually one goes in off your head or off your knee or something or you score a goal.
“Where did they get all of their goals from? In the blue. Every one of them, in the blue, going to the net.”
That’s something the Caps didn’t do. And Boudreau wasn’t afraid to point the finger at his veterans, like Green and Schultz.
“It wasn’t the kids that cost us the game,” Boudreau said. “It’s preseason, but it’s the guys that have been around for a few years that you look down at the scoresheet and they’re minus-2, minus-3 with the most minutes.”
And the possibility that the Caps are rusty? Boudreau isn’t buying that idea.
“Well, I hope it’s not rust,” he said. “These guys have been practicing hard every day now since camp began, or played games. Our guys are playing games. It’s time we started to get our act in gear and start playing better.”