The Washington Times - January 18, 2012, 01:51PM

MONTREAL | No one will confuse Matt Hendricks with Pavel Datsyuk now or at any point in his NHL career. Fancy is not what the Washington Capitals grinder does.

But it spoke volumes on Tuesday night when Hendricks pointed out that as a team the Caps were being too cute in a shutout loss to the lowly New York Islanders.

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“I just think that we had opportunities to shoot the puck – we didn’t shoot the puck. We tried to make cute plays, passes,” Hendricks said. “We weren’t putting pucks in areas where we could go get them.”

Watching from the press box, defenseman John Erskine called it a “pretty ugly game to watch.” But it was ugly not because of a lot of defensive blunders but because the Caps’ top players were unable to generate much of anything.

Alex Ovechkin finished with four shots and Alexander Semin just one. Marcus Johansson did not have a shot on net.

“I think we’ve got a lot of great skilled guys in here,” Hendricks said. “But we need to play a certain way to be successful, and we didn’t do that tonight.

Asked about that from a team perspective, coach Dale Hunter talked about the need to shoot more.

“The play’s there and the plays not. You got to read it,” he said Tuesday night. “If the guy’s laying down there’s not a pass there. You just got to throw it on net and hope for a rebound.”